From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Boris Trajkovski (President of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

I have the pleasure and honor to address this eminent World Food Summit: five years later.

Allow me to express my gratitude to the FAO Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf and to the FAO Secretariat for organizing this Summit and to Italy as a hosting country, which gave an utmost contribution to the successful realization of this Summit. I would also like to congratulate the Chairman of the Summit, the Italian Prime Minister, Mr Berlusconi, on his skilful chairing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at the onset I would like to welcome the exceptional efforts of the Organization and its commitment to provide a sufficient quantity of food that will allow each individual to conduct an active and healthy life. The activities undertaken by this organization, in the preparatory period, through meetings in the framework of the Council of FAO, as well as regional conferences, clearly demonstrate the seriousness of FAO in regards to this world Summit.

As we all know, the issue of food production and ensuring a sufficient quantity of food has been a severe problem for many years. It is not a coincidence that this is a priority issue on the UN Agenda, adopted at the Millennium Summit. Faced with the current challenge, we are expected to introduce a new strategy to overcome this problem. The strategy, however, should not only require developed countries to be the only responsible for providing food in the world. The strategy should consist of measures which will provide for all countries equal access to technological innovations in agricultural production and sufficient means for its financing.

To achieve this aim, it is necessary to undertake measures in order to increase the level of education, to improve overall agro-technical measures in the developing countries and countries in transition in order to enable them to intensify the agricultural production. This will make them less dependent on food imports.

To increase food production in the world it is necessary to liberalise international trade in agriculture equipment and machines, as well as in food products. For net food importing developing countries, free access to food under most favorable conditions should be provided whenever it is needed.

I hope that the participation of so many Heads of States and Governments will clearly affirm the political will for consistent implementation of the FAO objectives.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to recall here the importance of the Rome Declaration on the World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, adopted at the World Food Summit in November 1996, which have set the necessary programmes to provide food for all. I would like to express my hope that the expectations of the Rome Declaration Plan of Action, to reduce the number of people who do not have enough food and eradicate hunger, will be fulfilled.

By the end of this Summit we will have to adopt the Summit Resolution. This document is a result of long negotiations in the framework of the preparatory process and sets a strategy for hunger eradication.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to emphasize that last year the Republic of Macedonia was attacked by armed extremists, who caused not only human casualties but also much damage to agriculture, to the cattle breeding fund, pollution of water, destruction of houses, as well as displacement of over 170 000 people. For this reason, the Government was forced to redirect the funds and the already small budget of my country was additionally burdened. At approximately the same time, in 2000-2002, my country also faced a drought, which caused a drastic reduction of agriculture production and, therefore, decreased the share of agriculture in the gross national product.

Unfortunately, the Republic of Macedonia is still facing the consequences from the armed conflict and we still have internally displaced persons. They are not able to return and work on their land. In this regard, the international community, including FAO with its projects and favorable loans, made a great contribution in the reduction of damages and increase of production in the afflicted regions. Nevertheless, the repercussions will be felt in the next years. Therefore, additional assistance and cooperation with the international community will be necessary.

I would like, here, to stress my gratitude to FAO, that helped in alleviating our problems through direct assistance.

Mr Chairman, I would like to emphasize that the Republic of Macedonia, since its independence, is strongly determined to build an open market economy. As a European country, the Republic of Macedonia exports the majority of its food and agriculture products in the European market and tends to increase these activities. Last year the Republic of Macedonia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, which brings the Republic of Macedonia closer to its full integration in the EU, as well as creating favorable conditions for its farm exporters.

Our priorities in the future development of agriculture is the construction of the hydro-ameliorative systems, promotion of genetic engineering, equipping farmers with modern agricultural machinery, revitalization of villages, support of production of ecologically healthy food and the introduction of new agricultural processing technology.

The Republic of Macedonia expects further assistance from FAO and other international organization of the UN system, including experts for the implementation of development programmes. In that way, the Republic of Macedonia will be able to successfully join the efforts of the global community in the resolution of the food problems in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at the end I would like to express my support to the international community, especially to FAO in the realization of the objectives set in the Resolution that will be adopted at this Summit, as well as the support to the efforts for the eradication of poverty and elimination of hunger in the world.

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