H.E. Mr. Bony Yayi, President
23 September 2008
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BONI YAYI, President of Benin, said the United Nations was right to focus on energy, food and international cooperation. The issue of climate change was a global problem and foreshadowed gloomy prospects for mankind. The current energy and food crises were the worst the world had experienced in recent history, and the Secretary-General had shown great leadership in sounding the alarm.
He said that the Rome conference organized by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) this past June had established a global strategy to address the situation and help vulnerable developing States. The responses to the emergency of the food crisis should not cause the international community to lose sight of the schedule in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. A sustained growth rate should be established for prosperity and human development. He said the United Nations should use all its power to help the hungry of the world. The time had come to give concrete meaning to the right to food.
Continuing, he said priority should be given to strengthening social services in the most vulnerable countries, and States should be encouraged to optimize agricultural yields in the short term. For the medium and long term, the international community should rethink investment in agriculture to ensure food security. His country was seriously affected by the food crisis, and a national programme had been launched in 2006 to modernize agriculture with the use of machines, but water issues were still a problem.
Suggesting various measures to respond to the food crisis, such as the promotion of irrigation agriculture, he said that in some cases the deterioration of the soil was a direct result of climate change and had caused a reduction of crops. The resources of the World Bank and other such institutions should be used to help increase the framework of food production and diversify food production efforts in the most vulnerable countries. The difficulties of food production had also been affected by oil prices.
All Member States should promote ownership and effective enjoyment of human rights in their States, he said. The risk of not achieving the Millennium Development Goals was greatest in Africa. All efforts by the United Nations system to improve the chances of vulnerable African States were welcome, as was the increased democratization and reform of the organs of the United Nations. He looked forward to reform of the Security Council; when the representation of States would be more equitable and that body’s decisions would be more transparent.