H.E. Mr. Albert Pintat, Chief of the Government
25 September 2008
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ALBERT PINTAT, Chief of Government of Andorra, said that with the world facing global warming, along with financial, energy and food crises, questions needed to be asked. What had humanity done wrong? What was not working? Food prices had gone up by 50 per cent in the last year and, according to United Nations experts, the price of commodities had gone up by 30 per cent since January. The current crises were closely related with the production patterns. Perhaps production should be increased in the places where people were suffering, and be sent from countries with more resources. The World Bank’s decision to double loans to agriculture was correct. It would provide $800 million in 2009.
To correct market distortions, he said, the agricultural markets should be liberalized in line with the institution of measures to support small local owners. Liberalization, in fact, would have to be reinvented. It would not be a common pattern for all countries, but would have to be applied according to the specific circumstances of each country with attention paid to pros and cons. The subject of agricultural subsidies had also not been resolved, nor had the issue of true free trade that would help the countries needing it most.
Liberalization, he continued, would involve an expansion of productivity, and the development of both human resources and infrastructures. It would involve the provision of access to technology and knowledge, along with respect for the environment. In other words, liberalization would contribute to sustainable development as indicated in the 2008 Doha outcome document.
He said the current crises had revealed the vulnerability of the present global system. The hard reality was that the approach should now be based on agreements reached at the June high-level Conference on World Food Security. Andorra had been working on cooperative projects with vulnerable countries in that regard since 2005. Training programmes had been set up in Haiti, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Mozambique through the financial initiatives of FAO and Andorran non-governmental organizations. Production and agricultural trade support projects had been set up with Burkina Faso, Colombia and Morocco. Options for future projects were being explored in the areas of maintaining biological balance, implementing sustainable forestry practices and adapting new technologies to promote ecological balance and slow the effects of climate change.