His Excellency Daniel Toroitich Moi (President of the Republic of Kenya)
Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Mr Director-General, distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like, on behalf of my delegation, and on my own behalf, to thank the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the entire FAO fraternity, as well as the Italian Government, for organizing this important session of the World Food Summit: five years later.
This is in line with our Commitment No. 7 of the previous Summit, where we pledged that we would follow up and monitor the goals we set for ourselves. The forum pledged to reduce poverty levels by half by the year 2015. Arising from this, Member Nations were expected to develop their own home-grown strategies to achieve this goal.
The 1996 World Food Summit recognized poverty to be a major cause of food insecurity. During this particular Summit, we fully committed ourselves to eradicate hunger in the world and to reduce the number of undernourished people. This was further reinforced at the historic Millennium Summit when we made a commitment to reduce poverty by half by the year 2015. You will agree with me that five years later no significant progress has been achieved, and millions of people throughout the world continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition. About 50 per cent of Kenya's population of 30 million people are exposed to food insecurity. My Government has formulated a national poverty reduction strategy paper aimed at mitigating the causes of poverty. This is being implemented through a national planning and budgeting process, where available resources are being channelled on a priority basis to activities which are expected to lead to enhanced food production and the creation of employment.
The Rome Declaration on the State of World Food Security and the Plan of Action gave us a good basis for achieving the common objective of food security at individual household, national, regional and international levels. Our countries were expected to develop strategies consistent with available resources and capacities.
On our part, in Kenya, we have taken concrete measures to improve the performance of the agricultural sector, which is critical in achieving our food security. We believe that it is essential to support measures that seek to address food insecurity through provision of adequate and predictable flow of financial and technical resources. This calls for a renewed commitment by the international community to mobilize resources for implementation of the Plan of Action.
Excellencies, during the last Summit, we identified disasters as a major cause of food insecurity. Africa has over the last decade experienced political conflicts, droughts and the HIV/AIDS scourge, which have worsened the problem of food insecurity. We are, however, grateful to the Food and Agriculture Organization and other development planners, which have consistently assisted us in mitigating these challenges.
I particularly wish to thank the World Food Programme, and the international donor community, for food aid assistance following my appeal in the year 2000 when my country experienced drought and severe food shortages. I am glad to mention that following recent good rains in most parts of our country, our food security situation has greatly improved.
We must also pursue policies that will promote public and private investments in sustainable agricultural and rural development. However, these should be accompanied by sufficient flow of resources from our development partners in support of our national efforts.
Towards this end, Kenya has started pilot projects jointly with FAO in one of the districts with the highest poverty levels. Our national taskforce on food security has developed a proposal by replicating these food security projects in other districts.
Excellencies, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) provides an appropriate framework of cooperation between African countries and our development partners in promoting sustainable food security. I therefore wish to call for international support in the implementation of food security programmes under NEPAD.
Excellencies, the agricultural sector in Africa continues to suffer from external shocks, arising from erratic weather patterns, international price fluctuations in agricultural commodities and unfavourable policies in the international trade arena.
These setbacks have contributed to a decline in incomes in rural areas, leading to increased poverty and food insecurity. Regrettably agricultural commodities from developing countries continue to face trade barriers in the form of tariffs, subsidies and sanitary requirements in the markets of developed countries.
It is therefore imperative that we build on the development agenda that we attained in Doha, by providing preferential market access for agricultural commodities from developing countries as well as taking into account the need for special and differential treatment.
I wish to conclude by re-emphasizing the urgency of addressing poverty in Africa as a major cause of food insecurity. In this regard, the World Food Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg later in the year must address the problem of poverty and food insecurity within its broader agenda of achieving sustainable development.
I am hopeful that this Summit will take stock of the progress achieved in the last five years, and give impetus to the effective implementation of the Plan of Action. Let us collectively reaffirm our commitment that the global community will not suffer from hunger and poverty beyond the year 2015.
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