Ambassador Desra Percaya
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva
on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
on Agenda Item 26: “Agriculture Development
and Food Security”
at the Second Committee of the 65th Session
of the UN General Assembly
New York, 28 October 2010
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the ten members of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary General for his report on Agriculture development and food security. ASEAN associates itself with the statement made by Yemen on behalf of the G77 and China.
The global food crisis may seem to be a distant past. However, for those who are most at risk of food insecurity, its impact continues to impinge silently yet fatally on their lives.
While world prices of food commodities have declined since the global food crisis, domestic food prices and price volatility has however remained high. For millions of poor people basic food staples has been pushed further beyond their reach.
This has increasedfood insecurity among the poor. Ithas also highlighted the continuing weakness of the global food and agriculture economy. Many governments and theinternational community’s ability to respond to the need of the poor, and effectively address food security are being jeopardised by the inadequacy and inefficiency of the current system and institutions.
Our discussion today is therefore of particular importance. It is taking place just over a month after leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the MDGs and to eradicating poverty in the United Nations high-level meeting on the MDGs.
The impact of food insecurity on MDG 1 is obvious. However, we must not underestimate the impact of the food insecurity on the other MDGs, such as education, child mortality, maternal health, and livelihood.
In this context, what is urgently needed is the unequivocal commitment to take concrete actions in addressing the fundamental problems on agriculture development and food security.
The last food crisis attracted political attention at the highest level of governments around the world. Yet, there was not a sense of urgency among us, the global community, to act on the root causes of food security.
ASEAN continues to support the work of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the reforms it is undertaking; World Food Program, the High-level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, as well as other international organizations in the area of agriculture development and food security. We emphasize the importance to continue to increase harmonization,and policy convergence among multiple stakeholders at the international level that could provide useful organizational architecture for regional and national efforts.
ASEAN views the basic problem of food security as how to increase the supply and access of food, quickly and in a sustainable way. This requires a comprehensive approach that strengthens and revitalizes the agricultural sector, in particular in developing countries. It also requires firm political commitment, adopting long term political socio-economic solutions involving all stakeholders.
In this context ASEAN would like to highlight a number of areas we consider priority areas.
First, as we already know, it is vital to accelerate investment in agricultural research and development and infrastructure. Investment in agriculture should primarily be directed at upgrading the productive capacity of developing countries.
This requires us to mobilize all available global resources, both financial and technical. The financial resources neededfor building necessary agricultural infrastructures are immense.
Developed countries should be willing to take a leading role, while developing countries, for their part, should play an effective complementary one.
Second, food security is more than just increasing food supply. It involves better access of the population to the available food supply. It is therefore important to develop a better information system on food production, consumption, price movements and reserves, to establish a well-managed early warning system and quick responses to address natural disasters and conflicts.
Third, ASEAN believes that the global trade environment is a critical factor for sustaining global food production. We need international trade rules that are supportive to agricultural development in developing countries. It is therefore regrettable that the Doha Round remains stalled. We should work harder for its reinstatement.
Food security is of high importance for ASEAN. As part of the Asia Pacific region where many still face hunger, ASEAN continues to intensify efforts to address the interconnected challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition, poor healthcare, adverse and unfair agriculture market conditions, weak infrastructure and environmental degradation.
ASEAN members have implemented numerous joint projects in food, agriculture and forestry sectors. We are also working to strengthen ASEAN cooperation to ensure food security through sustainable food production, better post-harvest practices, supportive marketing and trading arrangements in the region.
ASEAN Leaders at the 16th ASEAN Summit in April 2010 emphasized the importance of concerted efforts to addressing food security. We have adopted the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework (AIFS) and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS).
Within this framework, ASEAN and other ASEAN plus three members have also formalised the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) as a permanent scheme for meeting emergency requirements and achieving humanitarian purposes.
Finally Madam Chair, let me reiterate ASEAN’s readiness to work closely with you, other member states and the UN system to realize our common goals and aspirations towards a food security for all.
I thank you
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