H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
before the ECOSOC Special Meeting
on Global Food Crisis
New York, 21 May 2008
We would like, first of all, to commend you for taking the initiative to convene this special meeting on the growing food crisis. The convening of this meeting is timely since it provides a further opportunity to urgently address this challenge.
Indonesia is as deeply concerned as other nations around the world about the seriousness of the current global food crisis.
We are fully aware that there is no single cause for this crisis.
It is a multifaceted challenge caused by interlinked factors, ranging from increased demand, whether due to rapidly developing economies or certain aspects of bio-fuels to, on the supply side, declining rates of productivity growth including those related to climate change. Nor are we oblivious of rising energy prices, with their attendant impact not only of costs to farmers, but also indeed, of access to such necessities as fertilizers. The international trading system, including agricultural subsidies in developed economies, has also had adverse impact.
Because the causes of the crisis are interlinked and multiple and the impact equally multifaceted, the solution requires a multidimensional, multi-pronged and sustained approach. It must be coherent, comprehensive and coordinated.
Solutions to the various challenges do exist.
While by no means a permanent solution, in the short term, the first imperative is to feed the hungry and the poor who have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. We therefore urge support for WFP activities.
In the long term, however, the solution must be a genuine sustainable global platform for food security. Recent disruptions linked to the food crisis highlight the need to identify a way forward that clearly recognizes the importance of agriculture and rural development, not only for sustainable development but also for global stability. We should therefore revisit our agricultural policies at both the national and international levels aimed at increasing production. In addition, climate change stands out because, by itself, it poses a major threat to agriculture. In the short and long terms, addressing climate change in a comprehensive manner, including through both adaptation and mitigation actions, will contribute to the global food security. In addition, the Doha Development Round also must be concluded as soon as possible removing those aspects that inhibit food production.
Beyond, an early warning system on food security is essential.
While existing institutional arrangements have been helpful in detecting the scale and gravity of the current food crisis, they lacked the capacity to anticipate its occurrence. To prevent the reoccurrence of such a crisis, there should be a global mechanism in operation to serve as an early warning system on food security.
Given the global scale and the urgency of the crisis, it is the United Nations that must be in the forefront of efforts to successfully resolve the crisis.
On that basis,Indonesia welcomes the decision by the Secretary-General in establishing a high-powered Task Force, comprising heads of leading policy agencies to address the issue. In carrying out its mandate to coordinate policy across more than 20 UN agencies, the task force must not operate in a vacuum. In this regard, we welcome the Secretary-General’s intention to consult with Member States in formulating the framework plan for action, thus enabling their views to be incorporated in to the framework plan.
Within this context, FAO’s forthcoming High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy will be an important step forward. The Rome FAO Meeting should be seen only as a beginning of an enhanced engagement by the UN. Post Rome, certain possibilities could be identified, including a high level thematic debate or a special session of the 62nd General Assembly on food security. We welcome very much the statement by the President of the General Assembly yesterday, in support of a Special Session of the General Assembly. We should also explore the possibility of a high level meeting at the onset of the 63rd General Assembly in September, focusing on food security. The UN General Assembly should also seriously consider taking the food crisis as the main theme for the upcoming 63rd session.
In short, a UN “roadmap” and “plan of action” for tackling the food crisis is certainly needed. Put more simply and importantly, UN action is needed.
The present food crisis requires displays of bold initiatives in favour of those most severely affected. Our deliberations have identified a number of such initiatives. We must urgently consider them and take concrete actions.
Let us therefore transform the present crisis into a golden opportunity. Let us treat agriculture as a sector worthy of substantial investments. Let us also strengthen solidarity and cohesion among all nations to take the hard steps to deal decisively with the crisis.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org