Mr. Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Mr. Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification,
Mr. Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to greet this timely and important meeting.
As we speak, millions of people across the Sahel are enduring their third drought in under a decade.
More than 10 million people face hunger due to poor harvests and high global food prices.
This humanitarian crisis is also a threat to stability – and a warning for all.
As extreme weather events associated with climate change increase, the resilience of societies and systems will be tested in every region.
The food, fuel and financial crises have shown how events in one country can reverberate globally.
Nations need urgently to develop strategies for resilience – especially for the poor, who are always hit first and worst.
Every aspect of natural resource management needs to take into account the impacts of a changing climate.
But no single nation can insulate itself from global shocks.
The only way to respond is through co-operation – between countries and among civil society, government and business.
Our discussions must go beyond disaster response.
As we work to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Development Goals and define a post-2015 development framework, prevention must be our priority.
I wish you a productive meeting.