|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Restoring World’s Dry Lands Strengthens Food Security, Addresses Climate Change,
Helps Poor Gain Control over Destiny, Says Deputy Secretary-General
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the General Assembly side event “Global Dry Land Alliance: Partnering for Food Security”, organized by the Government of Qatar, in New York, 24 September:
I am pleased to join you for this high-level event and to represent the Secretary-General who sends his regards and best wishes.
I commend the Government of Qatar for its commitment to food security and for taking the initiative to organize this gathering.
Universal access to sufficient and nutritious food in a sustainable environment is one of our major global challenges and a priority for the Secretary-General and myself.
In 2008, when food prices escalated, the Secretary-General established a high-level task force on the crisis composed of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes as well as the international financial institutions, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization.
The task force pursues a comprehensive “twin-track” approach to food and nutrition security that focuses on immediate as well as longer-term structural needs.
The world’s dry lands are a central part of the food security picture. More than 2 billion people live there, and poverty is disproportionally concentrated there.
Our goal is to increase food production in these areas despite very challenging — and worsening — environmental and climate constraints.
Newly adapted techniques and technologies offer some solutions. I urge countries with similar climatic conditions to develop these jointly. Partnerships with research centres and private companies will be of utmost importance.
Technological innovations are most effective if embedded in the context of comprehensive national food security strategies that address agricultural production as well as access to markets, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability, and social protection.
Smallholder farmers and pastoralists are important contributors to food security and require specific attention.
Dry land populations themselves have valuable experience in fostering food and nutrition security at the household level. This knowledge should be drawn on as we move ahead.
Because of the particular challenges in ensuring stable food supplies in some areas of the world, strong regional and international cooperation is indispensable. Well-functioning regional and international food commodity markets are a must.
Food-importing countries seek to invest in agricultural production abroad. This can benefit all if it is done in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way.
I welcome the establishment and implementation of investment practices that respect the rights and improve the livelihoods of local communities.
Over the past two years, we have seen increased political commitment emerge behind a new movement for food and nutrition security.
We can see this in the broad support for the Comprehensive Framework for Action put forward by the Secretary-General’s task force. We see it also in the agreement at the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila on a comprehensive food security initiative, as well as in many global, regional and national partnerships that have been developed, including the 1,000 Day Movement for Nutrition.
Human, environmental and social vulnerability come together with unusual force and symmetry in the world’s dry lands. When we protect and restore these areas, we generate progress on many fronts at once.
Not only do we strengthen food security, we also address climate change. We help the poor gain control over their destiny. And we accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
I thank Qatar for its engagement on these issues and I look forward to working with all partners, with Member States in the lead, to ensure food security for all.
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