H.E. Mrs. Adiyatwidi Adiwoso Asmady
Ambassador/Chargé d’affaires of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
Before the High Level Segment of the Sixteenth Session
of the Commission on Sustainable Development
New York, 15 May 2008
It is an honor to address this 16th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development on the way forward for the international community. Let me begin by stressing Indonesia's firm commitment to the achievement of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the 2005 World Summit outcome. In making projections for the future, my delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The global economy is experiencing extreme stress today. Problems resulting from the sub-prime crisis, unprecedented high energy prices, the food crisis and climate change are undercutting global efforts to achieve sustainable development. The most serious source of stress at present is the food crisis. It has caused recent disruptions in many countries and is threatening to reverse progress made in achieving the MDGs. Food security must therefore be vigorously pursued not only for sustainable development but also for global stability.
Towards that end, we must revisit our agricultural policies at both the national and international levels. This is an important step forward to prevent further decline in global food security. While this decline concerns all global citizens, the poor are being disproportionately affected by this crisis. As a result, their needs must be met urgently. Inaction will cause them even greater suffering.
At the national level, agriculture and rural development policies should be further integrated into national development agendas. There must be increased investment in rural infrastructure and market institutions to facilitate easy access to agricultural inputs. Lack of such inputs will impose constraints on a strong production response. In addition, we should consider increasing budget allocations for agricultural research and development.
In pursuing solutions to the crisis, we recommend the revival of the green revolution that helped to transform the economies of many developing countries in the 1970’s. The scientific knowledge and technology to do so are readily available.
Of course, the basis for increased food production and security is land. As such, land must be used properly by human beings at all times. Suitable agricultural lands should be used exclusively for that purpose because food security has a spillover effect into many areas of development. On the other hand, without food security achievement of the MDGs, most especially poverty-reduction in rural areas, will prove elusive. As centers of agricultural production, rural areas must not be neglected or agricultural production will be weakened. This will inevitably undermine world food security and hinder global development.
At the international level, developed countries must facilitate flexible responses to drastic price changes. One important combined response must be elimination of trade barriers and the promotion of programs to mobilize resources for agricultural development. The fact is the global trading system has been a disincentive to farmers in the developing world. The Doha Development Round must prioritize and address this condition. A more open trade regime in agriculture would therefore benefit developing countries and create a powerful incentive to develop the agriculture sector. This will eventually contribute to increasing global food supplies. The establishment of a global early warning system on food security should also be established as a means of preventing future food crises.
Given the global scale of the present crisis, it is appropriate that the United Nations should take a lead role in mobilizing and securing the political will, policy measures and financial resources to deal with it. In this regard, Indonesia welcomes the establishment of the high-powered Task Force as a leading policy authority to make preliminary recommendations on the food crisis. However, we are of the view that this task force must not operate in a vacuum but should accommodate the views of member states. These views should be well reflected in the recommendation policies to be adopted by the task force.
In closing, we believe that a global response to this crisis is urgently needed. Long term responses must be carefully planned and executed. However pressing needs must be addressed immediately. All donors and international financial institutions should increase their assistance by rechanneling part of their ongoing aid to countries that are negatively affected by the crisis.
In addition, in order to address this issue in a coherent, comprehensive, integrated and sustained manner, the UN General Assembly should make food security the main theme for the upcoming 63rd session.
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