Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

World peace and stability a basic condition for global food security, says China

China, 10 Jun 2002 -- Rome – All countries must respect the UN Charter and the “basic norms governing international relations” to safeguard world peace and regional stability which is necessary for eliminating global hunger, a top Chinese leader told world leaders meeting here at a UN food security summit.

At the same time, national governments must give the utmost priority to ensuring food security to their people, which is essential for national stability and world peace, Jiabao Wen, Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China told the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl). The 10 to 13 June WFS: fyl has been convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to speed up progress toward the goal set by the November 1996 World Food Summit (WFS).

China is among a handful of countries in the world that have been successful in keeping to the WFS pledge to reduce the number of hungry people by half by the year 2015. FAO has organized WFS: fyl at its headquarters to mobilise the political will and resources needed to accelerate national hunger reduction efforts.

Addressing Heads of State and Government and senior leaders and officials from 180 nations attending the summit, the Chinese leader pointed out that as the biggest food consumer in the world, the Chinese government “has all along set as a top priority to strengthen agriculture and secure adequate food supply for the people”.

“Thus China has, on its own strength, created a miracle of providing its 1.3 billion people with adequate food and clothing. Over the past 20 years, we have resolved the problem of food for more than 200 million rural people living in poverty. With less than 10 percent of world's arable land, China has fed 22 percent of the world's population, safeguarding the most basic human right of the entire Chinese people. The right to subsistence. This represents an enormous contribution to world peace and development,” he said.

Outlining his country’s position on a solution to the problem of global hunger, Mr Jiabao said: “Firstly, safeguarding world peace and stability is the basic perquisite for eliminating hunger and securing food security. Regrettably, however, we cannot but see that the current world is far from being tranquil. Local wars, internal strife, regional conflicts and all forms of terrorist activities break out from time to time. This has not only devastated the productive forces, but has also displaced millions of people reducing them to the threat of hunger and death.”

In this context he added: “We call on all countries to observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations to jointly facilitate the establishment of a just and rational new international political and economic order, and to safeguard world peace and regional stability, so as to create a favourable environment for achieving world food security and progress of human societies.”

According to FAO’s most recent food insecurity estimates, China reduced the number of hungry by 76.3 million between 1990-92 and 1997-99, corresponding to a decline from 16 to 9 percent of its population over this period. China’s achievement has helped Asia and the Pacific move faster in tackling hunger than other parts of the developing world. However, the region is still far short of the rate needed to achieve the WFS target, particularly in South Asia.

[…] The region has also to reverse the sharp decline in flow of financial resources to agriculture. Studies have shown that declines in capital investment in agriculture are accompanied by decreased food supply and increased levels of undernourishment. Several developing countries in the region have not given prominence to food security concerns in their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, which form the basis for obtaining concessional international aid.

RAP 02/23

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