H. E. Mr. João Bernardo Vieira, President
25 September 2008
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JOÃO BERNARDO VIEIRA, President of Guinea-Bissau, said today’s international situation demanded serious reflection about the causes of the crises many countries faced. Added to the main crisis areas in energy, food and international finances, the disastrous consequences of climate change called for better coordinated efforts to identify innovative, courageous and adequate solutions that would lead to a just, and equitable, world order.
Highlighting the negative and destabilizing effects of increased oil prices on poor countries such as his, he said the lack of energy seriously undermined all socio-economic activities the country was attempting to undertake. “How can we invest and improve our infrastructure in such vital areas like health, education and agriculture if we are compelled to continuously spend a large part of our already limited resources to buy fuel?” he asked. Added to that, the tremendous increases in food prices on the global market were also a matter of serious concern, especially to the people of Africa, where hunger and malnutrition could affect many.
Against that backdrop, calls for making agriculture a priority should not be considered “mere slogans”. Indeed, food shortages could pose a serious threat to the peace and security of some countries, he said. The situation called for serious discussions at the international level on how to improve capacity to respond effectively to the food crisis including putting in practice scientific advances and using technology more suitable to specific climatic conditions. The social economic realities of peoples of the respective regions should also be considered.
Expressing his concerns with the state of the world economy, he noted that the international financial system, already affected by serious distortions, could not be based only on the search for speculative profits and unlawful behaviour, as that had the potential for enormous consequences for many countries. Indeed, thousands of families were falling victim to the dysfunctional financial markets. Regrettably, the consequences of such malpractices were not limited to just a few countries, he observed, calling on the international community to “react to all these challenges”.