“While the world has sufficient capacity and resources to ensure adequate food and good nutrition for the global population, over 800 million people are still suffering from chronic hunger”, Viet Nam’s representative told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it met to discuss agriculture development, food security, and nutrition.
Similarly, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See noted the paradox of millions dying of hunger while “an enormous quantity of food is wasted every day”. The “throwaway culture” of affluent societies also contributed to the paradox, with “deliberate large-scale destruction of food products” to benefit businesses rather than to support food security.
In view of that situation, delegates agreed on the importance of agricultural development, food security and nutrition, with Guyana’s representative highlighting their role in achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Food insecurity was a major challenge, said Egypt’s representative, reaffirming each individual’s right to adequate and balanced food. In line with that right, Qatar’s representative called for women, rural communities and smallholders to be boosted, the issue of waste addressed, and sustainable agricultural practices put in place.
Agricultural growth and rural development were crucial for reducing hunger and malnutrition, and for creating jobs, said Algeria’s representative. To enhance agricultural productivity, there must be investment in infrastructure such as roads, irrigation, communication systems and agriculture-related services, noted the representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Speaking on the same issue, Bolivia’s representative said that action was needed at all levels to revitalize developing countries’ agricultural sectors, and indigenous groups, rural communities, small-scale farmers and fishermen needed empowerment and assistance through the provision of finance, and access to technology and technical know-how.
Furthermore, he called for the elimination of all forms of agricultural subsidies not in compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Namibia’s representative was also concerned about “trade and macroeconomic policies that continue to be biased against the export of agricultural products from the developing world”.
On climate change, he noted that it threatened food production systems, particularly in developing countries, with drought, desertification, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity requiring sustainable land management and work to reclaim land.
Several other delegates agreed that agricultural practices must be adapted to climate change and its impact, with the representative of the United States highlighting the need for climate-smart agriculture. Malaysia’s representative shared his Government’s initiatives in that area, including the promotion of crop varieties resistant to drought, altered fertilizer management, and improved pest, disease and weed management.
Adequate and balanced nutrition was another issue frequently discussed by delegates, with Brazil’s representative noting that 840 million people worldwide were still undernourished. According to Sri Lanka’s representative, the lack of proper nutrition was the underlying cause in an estimated 45 per cent of deaths among children under five, worldwide.
To address those issues, his country had launched programmes aimed at improving the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women, infants and children. “The return on investment in nutrition is very high”, said Ireland’s representative, as it had a “powerful lasting effect on a country’s stability and economic prosperity”.
Several delegates highlighted the importance of improving productivity of smallholder farmers. According to Israel’s representative, they would be the source of the 60 per cent rise in food production needed to feed the world population of 2050. However, the lack of access to credit, technical support, and land tenure prevented them from boosting productivity, yields and incomes.
Sustainable fisheries were also mentioned often. Tonga’s representative stressed that without them, in many Pacific countries there would be no food security. Accordingly, a healthy marine ecosystem, sustainable fisheries, and sustainable aquaculture for food security and nutrition were a stand-alone goal for those Pacific isle States.
The meeting was opened by Nikhil Seth, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who introduced the Secretary-General’s report on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition.
Also making statements were representatives of the European Union, Thailand, Kuwait, Indonesia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso, China, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Mozambique, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Belarus, Togo, Ethiopia, the Sudan, Iran, Mongolia, Fiji, Nicaragua and Kenya.
A representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) also spoke on behalf of the Rome-based agencies.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Wednesay, 29 October, to discuss the agenda item 24: Operational activities for development.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to consider the issue of “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”. The Committee had before it four documents relating to the issue (documents A/69/279, A/69/91-E/2014/84, A/69/392 and A/C.2/69/2).
Introduction of Report
NIKHIL SETH, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/69/279). He described the progress made and the remaining challenges in eradicating hunger and malnutrition, and providing access to food. He also noted the progress made in sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, and ensuring that all food systems were sustainable, in accordance with the Zero Hunger Challenge and international agreements, such as the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. He also highlighted the importance of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture in the post-2015 development agenda.
JULIO LÁZARO MOLLINEDO CLAROS (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed concern about developing countries’ vulnerabilities to climate change and food insecurity, with 805 million people undernourished and The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 report showing the need for policies, legal frameworks, and resources for reducing hunger. A ‘people-centred’ approach to agricultural development was needed as hunger violated human dignity. Action was needed at all levels to revitalize developing countries’ agricultural sectors, with indigenous groups, rural communities, small-scale farmers and fishermen needing empowerment and assistance through the provision of finance and access to technology and technical know-how. The knowledge of small-scale and family farmers on seed use, agrobiodiversity and biodiversity should be put to use.
International cooperation should focus on strengthening capacity and safeguarding nutrition through the promotion of productive cultural and environmental practices, he said. Greater efforts were needed to address agriculture as part of the international development agenda, with sustained funding and investment needed to enhance world food production. He welcomed adoption of the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. He noted the negative effects of subsidies and other market distortions driven by developed countries on the agricultural sector of developing countries. He called for the elimination of all forms of agricultural subsidies not in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and said that such concerns should be addressed in the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that its member States had placed a high priority on agricultural development, given its importance in the achievement of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Activities in those areas were critical for creating employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, especially for women and young people. Accordingly, CARICOM coordinated its efforts to promote food security and nutrition through the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy, which required a holistic and concerted action on food processing and distribution, health and nutrition, trade infrastructure, social welfare, education, and communication. In addition, action was needed to deliver food security and nutrition for all, including future generations.
Like other developing countries, CARICOM member States worked to promote environmental practices and build greater resilience while dealing with multiple challenges, he said. In that regard, CARICOM welcomed all partners working to help the region succeed in achieving sustainable development. Concluding, the Community welcomed a dedicated sustainable development goal on food security, improved nutrition, and sustainable agriculture, and supported its integration in the post-2015 development agenda.
KHIANE PHANSOURIVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said despite achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, there remained 805 million people across the globe who suffered from hunger and malnutrition. Accordingly, agricultural development should be given priority at the national, regional, and international level to ensure food security, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural development. Food security challenges must be addressed in a sustainable manner in order to improve agricultural productivity. In that regard, investment in infrastructure such as roads, irrigation, communication systems, and agriculture-related services played a vital role.
Turning to the international community, he said the United Nations system was vital in addressing the challenges of agriculture development, food security, and nutrition. For its part, the Association had established the Integrated Food Security Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security to address development in a comprehensive and holistic manner. ASEAN welcomed the adoption of resolution A/68/444 during the sixty-eighth session of the Assembly, declaring 2015 as the International Year of Soils.
MAHE’ULI’ULI SANDHURST TUPOUNIUA (Tonga), speaking on behalf of the group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, said the importance of agriculture development, food security and nutrition could not be overemphasized. Malnutrition, pervasiveness of non-communicable diseases, and challenges in the right to adequate food and nutrition for all needed to be addressed. In many Pacific countries, there could be no food security without the benefit of sustainable fisheries, which were critical to the survival of agriculture. Accordingly, a healthy marine ecosystem, sustainable fisheries, and sustainable aquaculture for food security and nutrition were a stand-alone goal for those Pacific isle States.
On climate change, Pacific Small Island Developing States believed that issue posed the gravest threat to the sustainable livelihoods, well-being, viability, security, and sovereignty of countries, he said. Climate change would make natural disasters more frequent and intense, and fertile land and water more scarce and difficult to access. Hence, those Pacific isle States recognized the importance of national Government ownership, complemented by public-private partnership as key for sustainable efforts aimed at enhancing food production, improving food access, and implementing community-based adaptation programmes. Development partners needed to continue to work hand in hand in the post-2015 development agenda.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that 33 countries urgently needed finances due to their exorbitant food prices, and the world had seen a drop in agriculture investment and a lack of interest in food markets. There was concern about the rise in food prices as well as the imbalance in crop harvests due to global warming and desertification. Food insecurity was a major challenge, he said, reaffirming the right of each individual to adequate and balanced food. Given the importance of that issue to sustainable development, poverty eradication, health and education, it must be imbedded in the post-2015 development agenda.
He called on States to support small-scale farmers in developing countries, and to facilitate their market access. All Arab countries had arid and dry lands, which had become an increasing problem due to drought and desertification. Those States suffered water shortages, and were interested in working with the United Nations and other countries to tackle those problems. Further, subsidy-related issues and challenges of small-scale farmers in developing countries must be reviewed, and the international community should invest more in agriculture.
AMERICO BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI, representative of the European Union Delegation, said that, despite progress having been made in the last year, hundreds of millions of people remained hungry. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014 report and the latest report from the Committee on World Food Security were reminders of the challenges ahead. Accordingly, the Union remained committed to global efforts to tackle hunger and malnutrition, and to translate its commitment into action.
On sustainable agriculture and food systems, he stressed the importance of smallholder, family farms, noting that an estimated 500 million such farms supported two billion people. Along with agricultural production and food security, the Union continued to invest in adequate and balanced nutrition — in particular for pregnant women and children under the age of two. Undernutrition in all its forms needed to be tackled, both in humanitarian crises and in longer-term programmes, so that lives could be saved. Concluding, he encouraged all Member States to undertake concrete actions to enhance food and nutrition security worldwide.
FERNANDO SARDENBERG ZELNER GONÇALVES (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that “840 million people worldwide are still undernourished, 99 million of whom are children under the age of five”. Significant investment in research, rural infrastructure, and agricultural extension was needed to raise productivity, and new plant varieties must be developed to resist the effects of climate change. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation had positive experiences in developing plant and animal varieties that could adapt to the different climates in the country. As a result, Brazil was able to improve its agricultural production, with negligible increases in planted area. His country had graduated out of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) World Hunger Map as a direct result of increased spending on food security and social programmes. That had led to a reduction in the percentage of Brazilians living in extreme poverty from 14 per cent to 3.5 per cent between 2001 and 2012.
IRIT LILIANNE (Israel) stressed the need to improve productivity levels, especially for smallholder farmers, who would be the source of the 60 per cent rise in food production needed to feed the world population of 2050. Smallholders lacked access to credit, technical support, and land tenure, which prevented them from boosting productivity, yields, and incomes. Women were particularly vulnerable, with their considerable labour contributions remaining “largely invisible” because men generally handled crop sales. That hindered women’s access to income, credit, land tenure, and leadership positions. Poor production methods caused land and water source degradation, and deterioration of related ecosystems; smallholders needed empowerment to sustainably manage natural resources. They should also become “agricultural entrepreneurs”, working to increase incomes and invest “in the qualitative expansion of their enterprises”. Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation had transferred knowledge, technology, and approaches on agriculture across Africa, to boost development.
PATTAMAWADEE AUEAREECHIT (Thailand), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, described her country’s Food Management Strategic Framework for 2012-2016, which prioritized food security, quality, safety, education and systems management. Two implementation approaches were used, an agricultural zoning policy for large-scale farmers, and a “New Agricultural Theory” for smallholders, outlining proper land and water management. The country faced the “double burden” of malnutrition and under- and over-nutrition in children. Education was emphasized through the School Lunch Programme and the Healthy Kids Healthy Food project. She noted that healthy, fertile soils were an “essential component of agricultural productivity, food security, and sustainable agriculture.” All forms of agricultural subsidies should be eliminated along with other market-distorting measures. Noting the existence of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve and ASEAN Food Security Information System, she said her country would host the FAO and World Food Programme (WFP) regional office for Asia-Pacific.
TIM MAWE (Ireland), associating himself with the European Union, said that ending global hunger was at the heart of his country’s foreign policy, which had in 2013 met the target of directing 20 per cent of the Irish Aid budget to hunger-related activities. It had also pledged to double its spending on nutrition by 2020. “The return on investment in nutrition is very high”, he said, as “good nutrition has a powerful lasting effect on a country’s stability and economic prosperity”. Ireland contributed to reducing global hunger by boosting agricultural productivity of poor, smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa; targeting undernutrition in infants, children and mothers; and by promoting governance and leadership to reduce global hunger at the national and international level.
PALITHA T. B. KOHONA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the lack of proper nutrition was the underlying cause in an estimated 45 per cent of deaths among children under five worldwide. His country was among the first to comprehensively manage water resources, and its large reservoirs in the dry zone supported a self-sufficient food production base. The agricultural sector played an important role in the country, employing 29.7 per cent of the labour force. Government fertilizer subsidies had substantially contributed to increased outputs. Furthermore, a pension scheme, crop insurance mechanisms and compensation for crop destruction had ensured farmers’ security. His country also had programmes aimed at improving the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women, infants and children, as well as a programme directed at popularizing the consumption of home-grown vegetables, milk and eggs.
NASREDDINE RIMOUCHE (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said the demand for food was growing and that emergency food aid was necessary in many countries. In that context, it was essential to ensure that countries could provide their own food security. Agricultural growth and rural development were crucial for reducing hunger and malnutrition, and for creating jobs. Water was becoming increasingly scarce, and was a major factor of food insecurity. The answer was not only to modernize infrastructure, but also to better develop natural resources in those areas. In Africa, the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition continued to rise. Few countries had enough resources of their own to meet their social and long-term development needs. Algeria followed the policy of food security on the basis of self-sufficiency, and focused on modernizing production, diversifying the agricultural output, improving living conditions and income for people in rural areas, and promoting the use of technological innovation.
AHMED OSAMA AL JASSER (Kuwait), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Arab Group, expressed concern about the estimate contained in the Secretary-General’s report that 60 per cent of food worldwide was wasted. If used, that food would meet the needs of the more than 800 million people suffering from hunger. Support for developing and least developed countries came through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Development, which contributed $18 billion to 91 projects, in more than 100 States. Of that, $2 billion was directed at support for agricultural development and the fight against hunger. Kuwait had hosted the third round of the Arab-African Summit, prioritizing agriculture as a means to eradicate hunger and achieve development goals. A special law had been enacted to protect the environment in an effort to boost food security, and international efforts on that front should be scaled-up. He looked forward to adoption of a legally binding agreement at Paris.
PURNOMO AHMAD CHANDRA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and ASEAN, said that the achievement of food security and hunger eradication required “new and revolutionized ways”. That included new partnerships across sectors between and within countries, strengthening scientific food and nutrition research, and transferring of new technologies. Yet, “the real culprit is the lack of political commitment to genuinely resolve the problem on a global scale”, he said. Given the increasingly limited arable lands and the conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes, his Government had reemphasized the need to mainstream marine life and fisheries in supporting global efforts to achieve sustainable food security, while trying to improve the living conditions of smallholder “fisherfolks” surrounding its archipelago.
ZAKIA EL MIDAOUI (Morocco), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the Arab Group and the African Group, pointed to food crises, especially in the Sahel, which, along with the Horn of Africa, had suffered droughts and the worst food crises in recent history. Water resources were protected to help climate change adaptation and rural development, and the Green Morocco Plan led to progress on basic food stuffs and reduction of the net food bill. As family farmers comprised 40 per cent of the population, policies were enacted to benefit them. Women’s cooperatives were supported, and the International Congress for Empowering Women in 2012 had seen partnerships signed to empower rural women and build capacity. The population needed to be better nourished, and efforts to eliminate poverty were being redoubled. Fisheries contributed to the country’s nutritional needs and a session of the Conference on Fisheries had recently been held, reiterating the commitment to sharing experiences on governance. Small-scale fisheries were being developed, while fishing techniques were being modernized.
AHMAD MOHAMED AL-THANI (Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Arab Group, said that international efforts to tackle malnutrition and poverty were important, alongside work on unstable markets and climate change. His country’s strategy included immediate and long-term measures to tackle those issues. The approach to food security was multidimensional, improving foods, access and hygiene and looking at the nexus between food security, energy and climate change. In line with the right to sufficient food, women, rural communities and smallholders had to be boosted, and the issue of waste addressed. Calling for successful conclusion of the Doha Round and improvement of market access for developing countries, he stressed the importance of official development assistance (ODA) and reforms to the global economic and financial system. Sustainable agricultural practices were needed to protect the lives of people in developing countries. Noting the link between food insecurity and climate change, he pointed to his country’s Vision 2030 and the Global Partnership for Arid Lands, which was created to combat desertification.
WILFRIED I. EMVULA (Namibia), associated himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, noted his country’s vulnerability to food shortages and its dependence on agriculture. The Fourth National Development Plan supported agriculture, with strategic measures to support production and processing. Agro-technology centres, an agro-financing scheme, crop insurance, and technology acquisition schemes were established as well as projects aimed to boost production and food security. He was concerned about “trade and macroeconomic policies that continue to be biased against the export of agricultural products from the developing world” and called for conclusion of the Doha Round. The international community should promote and facilitate access to technology, know-how and financial assistance, while climate change threatened food production systems, particularly in developing countries. Drought, desertification, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity were threats requiring sustainable land management and work to reclaim land.
MAJED AL HURAIMEL (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the Arab Group, emphasized the need to eradicate hunger in the world, and to ensure sufficient food and nutrition for some 9 billion people by 2050. That required close international cooperation by adopting a comprehensive, multi-levelled, global strategy. His country promoted family farming and recognized its role in providing food. In that context, world efforts must focus on increasing agricultural productivity to scale up the production of small-family farmers to be competitive with industrial farming. Food security was a growing challenge given the growing population, and was further accentuated by water scarcity and limited land suitable for agriculture. His country had shifted towards aquatic water and organic farming, and conducted research to improve the yield of agriculture.
MAMADOU COULIBALY (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said that food security was affected by climate change and the current global economic situation. His country suffered from climate issues, as well as physical, technical and socioeconomic constraints, which limited its ability to develop agriculture and ensure food security. In 2008, there were 13 million family farmers in Burkina Faso, and their contribution to food security and gross domestic product (GDP) was vital. By 2025, his country aimed to have a modern, competitive and sustainable agriculture. To offset the shortage of financial resources, Burkina Faso had embarked on structural reform, leading to an increased openness to foreign direct investment (FDI), deregulation of prices, except on fuel, and the review of its investment rules.
JILL DERDERIAN (United States) said that, as the world’s largest donor of international food assistance, her country supported a stand-alone goal on food security and nutrition, as well as on the oceans. To fight against hunger and malnutrition, the United States provided $2 billion a year in emergency assistance, and supported innovative partnership initiatives such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Country ownership was critical to successful agriculture development, and she endorsed the principles of responsible investments in agriculture and food systems. Nutrition must be central to all food security efforts, as it was critical to saving lives and improving people’s lifelong cognitive abilities. As climate change had an impact on agriculture and food security, a commitment to climate-smart agriculture was essential. She also called for the plight of the oceans and ocean sustainability to be addressed.
KUANCHENG TANG (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, pointed to “good momentum” in global agricultural development, though a “major breakthrough” was still needed on food productivity as one in ten people were still hungry worldwide. Agricultural production needed to increase to ensure an adequate food supply, and all countries should enhance infrastructure, science, technology, agricultural inputs, and other areas to increase self-sufficiency. A favourable trade environment was needed as well as the conclusion of the Doha Round and suspension of all forms of protectionism. Food and agricultural safety and nutrition should be incorporated into the post-2015 development agenda and developed countries should provide funding, technology, and markets. Feeding the population was essential to his country’s national planning and self-sufficiency was central to that. The Millennium Goal on poverty alleviation was achieved ahead of schedule and food security was good. Production had increased in the preceding 10 years to 600 million tonnes, and food security should be maintained into the future.
MR. IBRAHIM (Malaysia), aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, and said initiatives to promote agricultural productivity and food security were in line with the country’s new economic model’s main pillars, namely, food security, wealth creation, and inclusiveness. The National Agro-Food Policy 2011-2020 aimed to ensure an adequate national food supply and to make the industry competitive and sustainable by increasing the incomes of local farmers and food producers. Climate change was a major issue and the Government had promoted crop varieties that were resistant to drought; altered fertilizer management; and improved pest, disease, and weed management. Food security should be at the centre of the global development agenda, and developed countries should strengthen commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, said it was a paradox that “while the world has sufficient capacity and resources to ensure adequate food and good nutrition for the global population, over 800 million people are still suffering from chronic hunger”. The country had become a major food exporter, providing one fifth of the world’s rice exports, was self-sufficient, and contributed to global and regional food security. In achieving those goals, a strong political commitment to agriculture and rural development had been necessary, as had investment and the provision of social security schemes and poverty-reduction programmes. Early warning systems and information-sharing mechanisms were required, as was financing for disaster-preparedness and climate-change mitigation. A national plan for sustainable development of the agricultural sector was in place to maintain the country’s success into the future.
DIANGUINA DIT YAYA DOUCOURÉ (Mali), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said agricultural development, food security, and nutrition were a priority for his Government. Despite the potential of land, forestry, and fisheries in his country, the sector was essentially family-owned, facing weaknesses in water management, insufficient financing and supervision systems, and a low level of training for producers. Mali aimed to modernize its agriculture compatibly with land and resource preservation, and had set up several bodies to ensure the implementation of its agricultural policy and investment programme. It devoted at least 10 per cent of its national budget to agriculture, and that number would be increased to 15 per cent by 2015. Significant efforts had been made to promote growth in agricultural production, and measures had been adopted to provide more security for land tenancy and offer subsidies to new entrants. Nutrition was a concern in the country, which was focusing not just on adequate nutrition, but also on access to micronutrients, safe water, and quality health services, as well as on good breast-feeding practices.
SHATRUDHWAN PRASAD SHARMA POKHAREL (Nepal) aligning with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Least Developed Countries, underlined the Rome Principles for sustainable global food security, and welcomed the Open Working Group’s inclusion of a goal on agriculture. The link between agricultural development, poverty eradication, and protection of the environment warranted serious institutional effort for sustainable food production systems, and demanded concerted efforts at all levels. His country aimed to increase productivity and entrepreneurship in agriculture, to develop environment-friendly technology, and to protect, promote, and use agro-biodiversity. Challenges such as high prices and limited food and labour supply, together with the impact of climate change, limited the contribution of agriculture in his country’s GDP to less than one third. Land was losing fertility, crop yields were decreasing, and food insecurity was growing. He supported the Zero Hunger Challenge and called for increased assistance from the international community.
ADA MOUSSA (Niger), associating with the Group of 77 and China, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, explained the pressures on the agriculture sector on his country’s economy. Regular droughts caused food crises; external assistance and imports were needed to cover the food need gap, negatively affecting the country’s balance of payments. A national disaster-management system and food crisis unit aimed to build momentum towards establishing food security. Further, a programme had been set up for Niger to feed its people through improved agricultural productive capacities. A High Commissioner had been appointed tasked with pushing the process forward, and allocations for development and training small-scale producers had increased. The country’s main assets were a dynamic youth population, arable lands, water, and the political will of the authorities, who were committed to goals on agriculture agreed in 2003 by the African Union in Maputo.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the African Group, and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that sustainable development could only thrive if agricultural development, food security and nutrition were an integral part of national development strategies. Cognizant of the importance of sustainable agriculture for development and poverty eradication, Mozambique had placed people at the centre of its poverty eradication strategy, owing to the fact that 88 per cent of its people lived in rural areas, and relied on agriculture. Accordingly, the Government had adopted policies and measures aimed at creating an environment conducive to supporting food production, market access, institutional capacity, and the rural infrastructure. As a result, the country had experienced positive results with growth in agricultural production and productivity, contributing for the attainment of national and international social goals.
GODWIN O. AGAMAH (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said that Africa remained the world’s most food-insecure continent, with low levels of agricultural productivity, low rural incomes, and high rates of malnutrition. Furthermore, there were more stunted children in Africa today than there were 20 years ago. Efforts of addressing food security challenges and the eradication of poverty should be nationally articulated and designed. Accordingly, his Government had given priority to food security and nutrition, and had developed an Agricultural Transformation Agenda, focused on the key agricultural value chains to create more than 3.5 million jobs. Further, it had outlined medium- and long-term strategies to ensure food security, which included soft loans given to university graduates interested in farming, support for rural agricultural development programme, and irrigation schemes.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (Côte d’Ivoire), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said that people continued to suffer from chronic hunger, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. His country’s policy was based on a national agriculture investment programme, which aimed to reduce food insecurity, improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, reduce poverty, encourage agro-industrial links, and create jobs. Côte d’Ivoire had undertaken reforms creating an environment attractive to private investment, and improving land ownership. Several public-private partnerships had been established in areas involving rice, and in 2013 it had set up a fund which had distributed several thousand kits to help small-scale farmers. The country’s national initiatives should be supported, and there must be international cooperation in relation to technology transfer and capacity building.
VADIM PISAREVICH (Belarus) said that, although there were sufficient resources available to ensure adequate food for everyone, people were still suffering from hunger. The uneven globalization increased inequality, and improved prosperity in some parts of the world had not led to better food security in others. Furthermore, crises in parts of the world had worsened the situation. Finally, climate change systemically undermined global food security. Agricultural development, food security, and nutrition were dependent on other factors, hence the need for an integrated approach. Those issues should be included in the post-2015 agenda as a separate goal with a number of indicators. Concerning his country’s national experience, Belarus was actively developing its agricultural production.
KOUMÉALO ANATE BALLI (Togo), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the African Group, and the Group of Least Developed Countries, shared her country’s policy on promoting agriculture and improving food security. Agriculture employed almost 70 per cent of its active population, and it was hoped that it would become the driver of economic development in the country. Togo’s national programme offered support for agricultural development, for the agricultural sector, and for agricultural productivity in West Africa. Furthermore, the country had a project on agriculture development zones, aimed at making land available for the most marginalized parts of society, such as women and young people. Her Government had also launched a project promoting the right to food and good governance in food and nutrition security.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) spoke on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associated himself with the Group of 77 and China. He noted that, while only 20 per cent of the aggregate GDP of least developed countries was generated by agriculture, 70 per cent of their population relied on the sector. Several challenges, including poor infrastructure and technology and the adverse impact of climate change, hampered development, with food wastage and loss also being major issues. To counter that, agricultural productivity needed to increase at least three-fold, while support for least developed countries’ agricultural sectors needed to be increased. Subsidies should be eliminated by all WTO members, and development partners should support efforts by least developed countries to establish or strengthen safety nets and risk-mitigation tools. High-yield and climate-resilient crop varieties were also needed through technology transfer.
Despite a link between poverty and food access, efforts to reduce poverty were more successful than efforts to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition, he said. To address the challenges faced by least developed countries on nutrition, he called for support of the Zero Hunger Initiative and for realization of the Istanbul Programme of Action’s goal to eradicate hunger by 2020. Substantial increases in rural infrastructure were needed, as were improvements to food access. The international community should establish good stockholding or a food bank for least developed countries to enable them to respond to emergencies and to limit food price volatility. Such price fluctuations could also be combated by an improved, international, institutional and policy framework.
K. M. ALI (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, noted Rio+20’s affirmation of the need for sustainable development in agricultural production to eliminate hunger and to better use resources. People had the right to freedom from hunger but establishing food security was a big challenge. Climate change, land degradation and drought were damaging food production; the waste of food exacerbated the situation. Focus was needed on family agriculture and on access to markets, and protectionist policies should be eliminated. Sudan had good agricultural resources and the sector was the country’s economic backbone, accounting for 34 per cent of its GDP, employing 57 per cent of the population. Food security and agricultural development was threatened by drought, weak rural infrastructure and the high cost of production. He noted that blockades and sanctions had impeded prospects and he hoped for peace in order to move ahead on achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
ALI HAJILARI (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the priority his country placed on agricultural development, food security and nutrition. All were essential to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Some of the most important challenges were the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals on poverty and malnutrition eradication, the lack of sufficient investment in agriculture, the lack of market access for developing countries’ agricultural products, excessive food price volatility, subsidies and trade distortion, and the imposition of measures with extra-territorial impact against developing countries. Enhanced cooperation was needed, focusing on capacity building, technology transfer, financial assistance and elimination of unilateral coercive measures. Cooperation within the United Nations system also needed to improve to better address ongoing challenges.
OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG (Mongolia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that agricultural development and food security remained high on her Government’s agenda. The agricultural sector contributed about 16 per cent of the total GDP, employed 32 per cent of the labour force, and represented approximately 14 per cent of export revenues. As a result of the third campaign to restore crop production, her country had become self-sufficient in the production of wheat and potatoes, and 55 per cent self-sufficient in vegetable production. Of agricultural machinery, 80 per cent had been renewed and a good foundation for further rehabilitation had been established. However, insufficient financial resources and technical expertise hampered sustainable agricultural production, in addition to a growing season of only three months, high altitudes, extreme weather fluctuations, long winters and low precipitation.
GENE BAI (Fiji), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, called for the mobilization of financial resources and enhanced collaboration by relevant international bodies to assist small island developing States and other developing countries. With over 300 islands and a population dispersed around remote, outer-lying islands, the majority of his country’s population depended on the oceans as a primary source of nutrition and protein. Thus, the adverse impact of climate change had compromised their source of livelihood and food security. Fairer trading systems were needed, including leniency on trade embargoes and barriers. The SAMOA Pathway should be fully implemented, he concluded.
JASSER JIMÉNEZ (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said access to food and nutrition was a fundamental human right, as it was vital to the survival of human beings. Addressing food security and malnutrition was an urgent global challenge and increased production levels had to be pursued in a fair, transparent, and sustainable way. His country pursued equitable economic growth, job and income creation, and the ecological development of agriculture. The National Food Sovereignty and Security Programme was based on protection against hunger, and aimed at ensuring the poorest members of society had healthy, safe, secure, and nutritious food and protection against the effects of climate change. The number of Nicaraguans suffering from hunger and under-nutrition had been halved, and the WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had recognized the country’s successes. He outlined his country’s efforts to improve agriculture, together with recommendations for international efforts in the field.
ANDREW KIHURANI (Kenya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, said the multiplier effects of agriculture made the sector an engine of economic growth and development. In that regard, he welcomed the inclusion of the goals of ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and sustainable agriculture in the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. However, it was regrettable that developing countries remained vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change. Addressing food insecurity remained one of the cardinal areas of focus for Kenya and an unfinished business concern of the Millennium Goals. Even as the terminal date of that agenda approached, the continent spent an estimated $35 billion annually on food imports. That should not continue to happen, considering that up to 60 per cent of the world’s unused arable land was in sub-Saharan Africa. Highlighting his Government’s policies and programmes to develop agriculture, he supported calls for regulated markets to eliminate speculative tendencies that exacerbated food insecurity.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, noted the paradox of millions dying of hunger while, at the same time, “an enormous quantity of food is wasted every day”. Chronic hunger had dropped indicating success of efforts to tackle it, but a “shocking” number remained hungry. Eradication was therefore “a moral imperative”. Conservation technologies were needed by smallholders, Government support for commercialization of products had to increase, and infrastructure for distribution was needed. The “throwaway culture” of affluent societies also contributed to the paradox, with “deliberate large-scale destruction of food products” to benefit businesses rather than to support food security. The United Nations family had to embrace efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and he welcomed its emphasis in the post-2015 agenda.
THOMAS YANGA, Director of the Interagency Partnerships Division, World Food Programme, also speaking for the FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that a food system that could better withstand natural disasters and climate-change related shocks was needed. He enumerated key measures to address those global challenges including: dealing with long-term issues of how food was produced, traded and consumed in the face of population growth, increasing demand and climate change; strengthening policies and programmes to enhance the resilience of populations to shocks; increased investment to enhance agricultural productivity, especially for smallholders, and better access to land, financial services, technology and markets; and ensuring access to nutritious food by the poorest people.