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Director General Müller at the Munich Security Conference: global security only through sustainable development

19 February 2024


Munich, 16 February, 2024 - At the opening of the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC), UNIDO Director General Gerd Müller spoke at the MSC interactive Roundtable on “Nutritional Intelligence: Food Insecurity as a Predictive Indicator”. There he outlined UNIDO‘s perspective and efforts on the critical role of food security in national, regional and global stability and how the Organization‘s industrial development expertise contributes to creating a world without hunger. DG Müller highlighted studies which show that investments of $50 billion annually in agriculture and food systems over the next ten years could achieve this, noting that UNIDO will present these studies in detail at the upcoming UN Summit of the Future in September. The Roundtable brought together 30 high-level participants, including Cindy McCain, Executive Director, World Food Programme, Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo, Bill Anderson, CEO Bayer AG, Joe Ucuzoglu, Global CEO Deloitte, Cary Fowler, U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Global Food Security, and Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

Gerd Müller met with Bill Anderson, Chairman of the Bayer AG, and they agreed to intensify cooperation. Bayer AG is a multinational company focusing on pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals, seeds and biotechnology products. Müller invited Anderson to play a central role at the upcoming “World Without Hunger” conference to be held in Addis Ababa this autumn, which is being organized by UNIDO, Ethiopia, and the African Union, to present Bayer’s projects in West Africa, and to partner in building smart agriculture systems with African governments. He also invited Bayer to participate in the upcoming CAREDA (Centre of Excellence for Agro-Technology, Renewable Energy and Digitalization in Africa) project. Moreover, Müller and Anderson discussed initiatives on the local production of medicines and contraceptives for women. During a visit to Costa Rica in September 2023, Müller toured Bayer’s production facility which is part of a global initiative to provide contraceptives for 100 million women, the success of which serves as a blueprint to expand such initiatives in Africa. The growing cooperation between UNIDO and Bayer will be coordinated by UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Berlin.

In further bilateral meetings with Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Dussey, and H.E. Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, Grand Chancellor from the Order of Malta, DG Müller discussed UNIDO's priority to create modern and sustainable food systems and a closer exchange on scientific studies and best practices in the field.

During the many discussions and dialogues at the MSC, DG Müller supported the initiative for all industrialized countries to finally meet the internationally agreed upon target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance. Müller: “Global security can only be achieved through sustainable development all over the world. Beyond just defence capability and crisis prevention, security is founded on overcoming hunger, poverty and on the creation of good jobs for proper livelihoods. That is why I am calling on everyone here at the MSC to ensure that industrialized countries reliably and permanently keep their promises to the Global South and invest in food security, rural development, education and the creation of good jobs”

DG Müller highlighted that “international development cooperation is not charity, but rather a crucial investment in sustainable economic development. Industry plays a key role in this. That is why UNIDO is committed to fair supply chains with living wages, modern agriculture and more local value creation. This is how we create new and decent jobs that provide young people prospects for the future in their homelands.”

In addition, UNIDO's ITPO Berlin took part in the strategic exchange on critical supply chains, including "Strengthening Strategic Mineral Supply Chains".

Robert Dussey, Cindy McCain, and DG Müller (from left to right).
Stephan Exo Kreischer, The ONE Campaign, and DG Müller from left to right).
DG Müller and Bill Anderson (from left to right).
DG Müller and Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo (from left to right).