Sumario: 28 October 2010, New York - Statement by the European Union at the 65th United Nations General Assembly Second Committee Agenda item 26: Agriculture and Food Security
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
Two years after the global food and economic crises, the challenge of achieving sustainable agriculture development and ensuring food security for the world's population remains high on the international agenda. Last month's MDG High Level Plenary Meeting called for renewed efforts to end world hunger and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is simply unacceptable that close to one billion people remain hungry or undernourished in the world today.
Our collective efforts must build on the strong and coordinated international response to the recent global food crisis. The EU is doing its part with the 1 billion Euro Food Facility launched in December 2008 to address immediate needs. This was complemented earlier this year with a new food security strategy covering the EU's development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
The EU believes that increasing resilience and preventing crises are crucial to our collective efforts to improve global food security. We know that water, land availability and agricultural productivity are key constraints. In this connection we support demand-led agricultural research, which benefits small-scale farmers, as well as agricultural education, especially for women, and appropriate agricultural technology transfer and use.
In its new food security strategy the EU is committed to focusing its support on small-holder farmers, particularly women, and vulnerable groups in countries most off-track the MDGs. We are also committed to improving the coherence between longer-term assistance and humanitarian food support through more effective linking of relief, rehabilitation and development, as well as better off-farm opportunities.
The recent global food crisis has also highlighted that the complex issue of high price volatility has grown in importance and can considerably affect food security at the local, regional and international level. There is a need to examine policy options that address extreme volatility and the risks and impacts associated with it.
Increased financing of agricultural development and food security is indispensible. The EU welcomes the commitment made by African leaders in the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa to raise the share of agriculture and rural development in their budget expenditures to at least 10 per cent. This will act as an important signal to increase long term investment in developing countries.
The EU also believes that foreign as well as domestic private investments in the agriculture sectors of developing countries offer significant potential to complement public resources. However, without clear policies, regulations and commitment, these investments can also jeopardize land rights, small-scale agricultural production and enhance negative environmental and social impacts.
The EU therefore welcomes the FAO's on-going inclusive process to develop the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and Other Natural Resources, and looks forward to an early and successful outcome, preferably in 2011. In addition, the EU supports the on-going elaboration of Principles for Responsible Agro-investment that Respect Rights, Livelihoods and Resources - initiated by the World Bank, FAO, IFAD and UNCTAD.
Open trade flows and efficient markets constitute important tools for integrating developing countries in the global economy, creating economic growth and improving food security. The EU will continue its efforts to seek the conclusion of an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive agreement in the Doha Development Round. Thanks to its far-reaching agricultural policy reforms, and as part of an overall package deal, the EU has indicated its readiness to accept a steep reduction in the ceiling on its trade-distorting subsidies, the elimination of its export subsidies and a significant reduction of its border protection in the context of a Doha deal.
Climate change is affecting all of us and we have a shared responsibility to act. We may be affected in different ways and have different resources at our disposal, but protecting the future food supply in the face of a growing world population requires us all to reinforce the resilience of agricultural systems, particularly better adaptation to limit the negative effects of climate change on agriculture.
However, agricultural development and land management that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable also has important mitigation potential. In particular, incentives for rewarding the provision of environmental services could be explored further in order to fully exploit the synergies between improved livelihoods, food security, environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
In this regard, we look forward to the outcome of the conference hosted by The Netherlands on 31 October which aims to develop a road map with concrete actions for linking agriculture investments and policies with the transition to climate-smart growth.
The EU also supports the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as a valuable tool to face the challenges of food security and climate change, and its importance towards the achievement of sustainable agriculture.
Effective governance and coordination for global food security - at national, regional and international levels - remain key priorities for the EU.
Last month's high level meeting on the MDGs explicitly supported the five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security and the Committee on World Food Security as a key component of strengthened international coordination and governance for food security through the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.
The EU also welcomes the outcome of the 36th Committee on World Food Security (CFS) session in Rome. We now have a platform inclusive of all partners, agencies and civil society to debate policy convergence and international coordination in the area of food security.
Finally, the EU believes that the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) is a valuable coalition of countries and international bodies in the fight against hunger. In this respect, newly launched financial mechanisms, such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) and the African Agriculture Fund (AAF) are providing important additional channels for donor resources in support of improved food security.
Increasing resilience and preventing crises are crucial to our collective efforts to improve global food security. We believe that we have the institutional instruments to meet the current challenges. The EU is committed to fully support the efforts of the international community.