Moscow – Andrey Guryev, PhosAgro CEO, President of the Russian Association of Fertilizer Producers and member of the RUIE Board of Directors, took part in a conference to launch the Russian national dialogue in preparation for the UN Food Systems Summit.
The event was attended by representatives of the Russian Federation Council, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Russian permanent mission to the FAO and other international Rome-based agencies, Rospotrebnadzor and the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Oleg Kobiakov, Director of the FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, said that the UN Food Systems Summit will be held as part of the regular session of the UN General Assembly in September 2021.
"Today, according to the UN, 680 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. Over the past 5 years, this figure has increased by 10 million annually. The coronavirus pandemic threatens to add up to 132 million more people. In general, the number of people worldwide who do not receive adequate nutrition – suffering from hunger, vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies, excess weight and obesity, has reached 2 billion, or more than a quarter of the world's population," Alexander Yakovenko, a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Leadership Group and Rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recalled in his speech.
In this regard, according to Mr Yakovenko, the goal of the UN Summit will be "to intensify joint efforts and accelerate work to eradicate hunger, create sustainable food systems and ensure the careful use of our planet's natural resources." Mr Yakovenko noted that Russia's experience is of interest as a country that has achieved a historic victory over hunger and made a significant contribution to ensuring global food security.
Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia stressed that the upcoming Summit is expected to be as inclusive as possible.
Victor Vasiliev, Russia's permanent representative to the FAO and international organizations in Rome, and Russia's representative on the Summit's Advisory Committee, noted that Russia is a pioneer in preparing for the Summit.
Mr Guryev emphasised in his speech that "sustainable agriculture is one of the main fundamental priorities that will help to preserve food security in all parts of the world and solve environmental problems."
"I am convinced that the principles of sustainable development and similarly important projects conducted by the FAO will be impossible both today and in the future without Russia's participation. Our country is able to occupy a large niche with its green products and its products which form part of the UN and FAO's new environmental agricultural agenda," said Mr Guryev.
He recalled that PhosAgro's products have exceptional environmental characteristics: unlike many competitors, the Company's fertilizers do not contain dangerous concentrations of cadmium and other toxic substances which are harmful to human health.
"As one of the world's leading producers of mineral fertilizers, we feel responsible for food security. By providing consumers in more than 100 countries with effective plant nutrition systems, we are challenging the world's hunger problem. At the same time, the Russian market and the interests of domestic farmers remain a priority for us," Mr Guryev said.
According to Mr Guryev, eco-friendly technologies play an increasingly important role in the agro-industrial complex, allowing the Company to maintain and strengthen the competitiveness of its products in world markets.
"In today's conditions, business should not only set itself traditional tasks related to making a profit, but also focus on sustainable development. Therefore, in our Strategy until 2025, commitment to the UN principles and SDGs is identified as a key priority. We consistently evaluate each of our actions in terms of their impact on the environment, and last year we spent more than RUB 9 billion on environmental protection measures," said Mr Guryev.
The Company's progress in the field of sustainable development was noted at the UN level – in September, the UN confirmed PhosAgro's status as a leader in the Global Compact, a platform for socially responsible business. Only 41 companies in the world have this status.
Mr Guryev also spoke about the Company's participation in the creation of a "Green standard" for Russian agricultural products with improved environmental characteristics, which was initiated by President Vladimir Putin. Mr Guryev suggested that a replication of the Russian experience in creating a "Green standard" should be included in the FAO agenda.
In conclusion, Mr Yakovenko noted the importance of a detailed discussion of the proposals that the Russian side will have to make for the Summit. According to him, PhosAgro's active position confirms that the Company should be fully involved in these discussions.