HE Mrs. Artauli RMP Tobing
Director General/Head of Policy Analysis and Development Agency
Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
Before the 62nd General Assembly
On the Global Food and Energy Crisis
18 July 2008
Allow me to firstly congratulate you for your initiative in convening this meeting. I should also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for the briefing on the global food and energy crisis, and the presentation on the High Level Task Force’s revised Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA).
I would also like to associate myself fully with the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the G77 and China.
The global crisis we are facing today is arguably the worst food and energy situation the world has faced since the early 1970’s. The crisis has already dire socio-economic and political consequences for many countries, and threatens global economic stability. Against this backdrop, we call the international community to take concerted and sustained actions to address the food crisis.
It is therefore our conviction that the General Assembly should provide the international community with leadership and guidance, as well as shepherding our global efforts in addressing this crisis.
We recognize the primary responsibility for development falls within national boundaries. However, with the food crisis and slowing global economy it has become virtually impossible for developing countries to achieve their development targets and commitments including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Although the situation looks difficult, we are confident it is manageable. Several international efforts have helped to address the crisis such as the Secretary-General’s initiative on a High-level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, FAO’s High Level Conference on food security, and the recent G-8 summit.
They all reached a common conclusion, and that is the world needs to boost food production. The efforts could be similar to the Green Revolution that was so successful in the 1960’s. But this time around, it needs massive investment and an active global partnership.
Furthermore a revitalization of the agricultural sector presents us, including developing countries with new opportunities. With today’s knowledge and technologies, agricultural revitalization can go a step further. We can both address poverty and create sustainable crop production while also doing environmentally friendly agricultural intensification.
To this end, the role of developed countries is important. They in particular need to increase the flow of investment, share their experience and transfer technology for food production, to support developing countries’ agricultural sector. Also important is for developed countries to use their aid and trade policy to boost agriculture production in the developing countries.
On the part of developing countries, the agricultural sector needs to be better mainstreamed into the national development agenda. The recent Rome Declaration on Food Security and the challenge of Climate Change and Bioenergy, and High Level Task Force’s Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA) provide an array of plans and policy options that can help revitalize the agriculture sector at national levels.
The role of private sector needs to be emphasized in helping reverse the trend of declining investments and cooperation in agriculture. Governments, the private sector and the research community must actively inter-link and engage.
In this context, a framework for an active global partnership on food security could be established. A framework for global partnership that is ambitious, comprehensive, and inclusive.
We welcome the revised CFA introduced by the Secretary-General. We view that the elaboration of the section on how to achieve the CFA outcome is important. Furthermore the additional emphasis on partnerships at the country, regional, and global level is also important in ensuring the effective implementation CFA.
However we observed that the CFA remains silent on the cost needed to implement proposed plans or policies on the CFA menu. We take the point that the CFA “is not an investment program”. Nevertheless, an indication or projection of the cost in implementation would provide valuable insight.
The international community has yet to develop a global follow up or a monitoring system to evaluate the implementations and effectiveness of the various plans and policy options suggested to addressing the crisis. We view that it would be highly valuable to establish such a global follow up or a monitoring system. Establishing targets and a time frame in which we can expect to see results should be part of the system.
It must be emphasized that while we need to immediately address the short- term needs of the crisis, it is important that the long-term focus is on improving global food security.
In this context, we feel the General Assembly can play a leading role. The General Assembly should be able to monitor and evaluate the global progress and effectiveness of the various efforts to addressing the global food crisis and improving the global food security. It is for this reason that Indonesia, together with Chile and Egypt, has proposed the issue of food security and development to be the theme of the 63rd General Assembly. This could perhaps open the way for the General Assembly to take more concrete actions on food security.
It is important for us to highlight that the global food crisis did not happen overnight. The upward trend in the price of agricultures commodities began since 2006. Analysis and predictions of an imminent global food security crisis has also long been made. The fact that the international community did not take more serious notice of these signals highlights the urgency of establishing a global system to better monitor food security.
To be better prepared, we view that it is important for the UN to enhance its capacity to detect and advert reoccurrence of future crisis. The UN needs to develop a better system to monitor and report on the status of global food supply, demand, and prices, and that can act as an early warning system for global food insecurity. This can be done by building on the FAO and WFP agriculture commodities supply and demand monitoring system. However it must be integrated under one UN system, which can be reviewed regularly and receive the necessary political attention from all members.
In addition, it may also be useful to have a system that can quickly stabilize supply shortages of staple food commodities in the short term. This can be particularly useful in times of disasters and other food security emergencies. We, in ASEAN, have an existing mechanism in place such as the ASEAN Food Security Reserve (AFSR), the East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve (EAERR) comprising ASEAN plus China, Japan and Korea, and the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS). It may be useful to derive similar mechanisms in other regions or at the global level.
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