OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Mr President of the Summit,
Thank you, Mr President, for this opportunity to address the participants of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
FAO's mandate for agriculture, fisheries, forests, food security and the rural sector prioritizes actions that are conducive to sustainable development at national, regional and global level. The Organization was actively involved in the UNCED preparatory process that led to the adoption of Agenda 21, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the Forest Principles at the Earth Summit of 1992, in Rio.
On that occasion, FAO was appointed task manager for implementation of chapters 10 (Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources), 11 (Combating Deforestation), 13 (Sustainable Mountain Development) and 14 (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development). It is also a partner for implementation of chapters 12 (Combating Desertification and Drought), 15 (Biological Diversity), 17 (Oceans and Seas), 18 (Freshwater) and 19 (Toxic Chemicals).
to an UNCED recommendation on the strengthening of institutional arrangements,
FAO established its Sustainable Development Department in 1995 and decided
to mainstream sustainability into environmental activities involving natural
resources and socio-economic issues. It now places strong emphasis on the
promotion and integration of concepts, approaches, strategies and methods
that will ensure sustainability in the sectoral activities of its technical
units, and in the development policy advice that it gives to its member
I should also like to mention FAO's work in drafting the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which is a major contribution to implementation of chapter 17 (Oceans and Seas).
Many of those present today also attended the World Food Summit: five years later. I find this most heartening, as the goals of the World Summit on Sustainable Development reflect those of the World Food Summit: five years later and aim to eliminate poverty, the major challenge facing humanity and the sine qua non of sustainable development, especially for the developing countries.
At the Rome Summit, the international community addressed the root cause of the chronic extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition that continue to afflict some 800 million people, most of whom live in rural areas.
of the World Food Summit: five years later invites all parties
The Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development reaffirms the development objective of the Millennium Declaration. It stresses that sustainable agriculture and rural development is central to any integrated strategy of increased food production aimed at enhancing food security and food safety in a sustainable manner.
How are these interdependent objectives to be achieved? Or, rather: what firm commitments are we prepared to make to ensure success?
First we need the political will:
It is in fact up to the governments to ensure food security at national level, acting in concert with civil society and the private sector and receiving support from the international community. The number of undernourished people needs to fall by more than 22 million each year if the objective of the World Food Summit is to be achieved by 2015. At the same time, the development partners need to improve the indicators that monitor and measure progress towards this objective.
Governments, international organizations and financing institutions need to use their resources effectively, to improve their performance and to step up their cooperation, working as one to overcome hunger and to consolidate the primary role of sustainable agriculture and rural development in food security. Particularly relevant in this regard are the three agencies specialized in food and agriculture that are headquartered in Rome - FAO, WFP and IFAD.
The fight against hunger and poverty will come to nothing unless we make sure that women, especially rural women, are placed at the heart of the process. Such was the conclusion reached at one of the leading side events of the World Food Summit: five years later - the side event entitled Rural women: crucial partners in the fight against hunger and poverty.
FAO has drawn up a draft Anti-Hunger Programme that focuses on five priority areas: 1) agricultural productivity in poor rural communities; 2) development and conservation of natural resources; 3) expansion of rural infrastructure and market access; 4) generation and dissemination of knowledge; and 5) access to food for the most needy.
This Programme requires an additional public investment of some US$24 billion. I am pleased to note that four priority actions of the Anti-Hunger Programme correspond to the Agriculture component of the UN Secretary-General's WEHAB initiative. Investment for these four priority areas, amounting to US$18.5 billion, would translate into rapid and substantial reductions in hunger and extreme poverty. It is important to note that the additional investment required should be equitably shared between governments of developing countries and donors. Realization of the World Food Summit's objective would boost the global economy by an estimated US$120 billion each year.
Finally, Mr President, with its partners, FAO has launched two initiatives that evolved during the course of preparing for this Summit: the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SADR) Initiative and the International Partnership for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions. Both are umbrella alliances of partners that are free to enter into specific subpartnerships. Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations have shown a keen interest in these initiatives and manifested strong support. I venture to hope that, over the next five years, the processes started here will prompt concrete and measurable improvements in the implementation of Agenda 21 and in the realization of the objectives of the Millennium Declaration.
Thank you for your kind attention.