LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday that the UK is setting up a new science initiative to help develop flood-tolerant rice, disease-resistant wheat and other crops that are more resilient to climate change. Sunak was joined by ministers, diplomats and philanthropists from about 20 countries at a one-day Global Food Security Summit in London, where he urged world leaders to harness artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technology to end malnutrition around the globe.
Sunak told delegates that a “fundamental shift” is needed to confront a food-security crisis that is being worsened by climate change. He focused on the role of science and said the UK would set up a “virtual science hub” linking international researchers working on more resilient crops. The UK hub will be part of a global research partnership known as CGIAR.
“Climate change, conflict and population rise mean ever greater challenges to food supplies,” Sunak said. “So we need a fundamental shift in the way we approach food security, with a focus on long-term solutions to stop food crises before they start. And we need to harness the full power of science and technology to ensure supplies are resilient to threats like conflict, drought and floods.”
The event was co-hosted by Somalia and the United Arab Emirates alongside the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The conference venue was picketed by activists from Medical Aid for Palestinians calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war to get urgently needed food and humanitarian aid into Gaza.
“It is good that they are talking about addressing food and security in the world. But if they’re going to do that seriously, they cannot ignore the situation in Gaza, where 2.2 million people are at risk of starvation,” said the group’s chief executive, Melanie Ward.
“Because of the siege that’s been imposed on Gaza, the amount of aid that’s gotten in the last month is only enough for about two normal days in Gaza. So less than 10% of the food needed to keep people in Gaza alive is actually getting in.”
Like the United States, the UK has not called for a cease-fire, but Sunak urged Israel to agree to “urgent and substantive humanitarian pauses” to get in food, fuel and medicine.
“The situation on the ground is truly tragic and getting worse,” he said.



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