I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Iceland+, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
Feeding nine billion people by 2050 remains an enormous challenge. Sustainably addressing the food and nutrition needs of the increasing global population must remain at the top of our agenda. We can not accept that 870 million people, 12.5% of the world’s population, remain hungry or undernourished today. The situation is particularly worrisome in Africa, where the number of undernourished continues to increase. Neither can we stand by while some 2 billion people, or 30% of the world’s population, suffer from ‘hidden hunger’, and knowing that under-nutrition kills more than 2.5 million children every year, almost 7,000 children a day. The 2012 State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) report jointly published by FAO, WFP and IFAD reminds us in detail of the challenge ahead.
Mr President, a year ago, we confirmed here our commitment to actively contribute to the global effort to tackle global hunger and under-nutrition and have since then translated our commitment into action.
We have, through the updated EU development policy, the “Agenda for Change”, and the EU policy on food security, stressed the multiplier role of the agricultural sector and the contribution that the private sector can make to economic growth and agricultural and rural development, a view which has been echoed in the G8 New Alliance. To accelerate hunger reduction, economic growth needs to be accompanied by purposeful and decisive public action that creates a conducive environment including equitable access to resources and services by the poor, empowerment of women, and design and implementation of adequate social protection systems.
Through the recently adopted framework for resilience, we have stressed the need to tackle the root causes of vulnerability and food insecurity and to focus on the long term. We have contributed to the launch of two initiatives, AGIR and SHARE, to strengthen resilience in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa respectively. The “Alliance globale pour l’initiative résilience” (AGIR) Partnership provides a resilience roadmap building on and reinforcing existing regional strategies, whereas ‘Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience’ (SHARE) tackles the vicious cycle of humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa and strengthens the population’s resistance to future crises.
The evolution of food prices since 2008 has highlighted the complexity of excessive price volatility, which can have devastating effects, in particular for the poor and most vulnerable. Building on G20 outcomes, we must continue to act to address excessive price volatility and shocks. We have to this end strongly supported the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and we commend the work to establish the Platform for Agriculture Risk Management (PARM). We are also favourable to the idea of establishing emergency humanitarian food reserves stocks, as a useful element is promoting resilience, in particular at regional level. ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) and WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union) have for example been working on this issue and we are supporting their efforts.
We need to promote sustainable agriculture and sustainable food systems. We have supported developing countries in boosting their agricultural production and productivity, also by investing in research. This importance of research and development was stressed last month by the first meeting of the G20 Agriculture Chief Scientists in Mexico. Increasing agricultural productivity to meet the needs of the world’s population is constrained by the scarcity and mismanagement of natural resources. Sustainable productivity therefore needs to be further fostered, notably through demand-led agricultural research and innovation. Agricultural development and land management that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable also has important mitigation potential. The importance of this thematic area was reflected in the Rio+20 outcome document.
Another important area is agricultural finance. In order for families, households and enterprises depending on agricultural production to grow, sustainable long term financing mechanisms are indispensable. Various initiatives support the improvement of agricultural financing, particularly in Africa (for example the Partnership for Making Finance Work for Africa –MFW4A), and should be further strengthened.
Special attention should be paid to small-holder farmers, particularly women, and in this context we welcome the 2014 International Year of Family Farming. Accordingly, the ‘EU Policy Framework to Assist Developing Countries in Addressing Food Security Challenges’ focuses specifically on supporting small-holder farmers, particularly women, to become more resilient, adopt ecologically efficient agriculture practices, and to assist vulnerable groups in countries most off-track on the MDGs. Support to small-holder farmers will be most effective if the entire food production cycle is considered, in other words if we use a value chain approach. The parallel adoption of an EU policy on humanitarian food assistance has also enhanced the coherence of our actions between emergency and longer-term support, and strengthened our efforts to tackle food-insecurity during humanitarian crises.
Alongside the needed increase in agricultural production and food security, we must continue to invest in adequate and balanced nutrition to avoid severe and irreversible consequences, in particular for pregnant women and for children under the age of two. We must be clear that nutrition is an integral part of sustainable agriculture and a key objective integrated into our agricultural support. It is essential that nutrition specific objectives are incorporated into the design of our sustainable agricultural policies and programmes, thus contributing to the required multi-sectoral approach to nutrition. In this regard, we are strong supporters of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) and welcome the momentum created and progress made by SUN.
Good governance for food and nutrition security at country level that includes policies, as well as an appropriate legal framework and commitment to enforce it, are of paramount importance to safeguard equitable and secure access to land, and to support appropriate business models that foster broad-based growth, environmental sustainability and livelihoods resilience. We encourage all countries to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security based on the Committee on world Food Security’s (CFS) efforts. We also strongly support the ongoing consultation process to develop principles for responsible investment in agriculture that respect rights, livelihoods and resources which was launched by the CFS at its 39th session, as well as the realization of the right to adequate food.
Open and rules-based trade as well as efficient markets are also key. The EU remains committed to the Doha Development Agenda. The EU also promotes trade with developing countries through its GSP scheme, including duty-free quota-free access for all LDC products except arms, as well as through comprehensive bilateral and regional agreements that go beyond unilateral preferences.
Effective global governance and coordination are essential for achieving global food and nutrition security. Working together, we can make a genuine difference and ensure tangible results for the most vulnerable. We therefore also look forward to working with the UNSG on the Zero Hunger Challenge.
In support of proposals made for transitioning towards a paperless committee, complete copies of this statement will be made available on the websites of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN and the 2nd committee, respectively.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.