From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Saeed Bin Muhammad Al Raqabani (Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of the United Arab Emirates) (Original language Arabic)

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my pleasure to transmit to you the greetings of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab, Emirates, and his wishes for the success of this World Food Summit: five years later.

We also wish to greet the Italian President, Mr. Ciampi, who, honoured us with his presence at the opening of this meeting and also congratulate Mr. Silvio Berlusconi for being elected Chairman of the Summit itself. Naturally, we extend our appreciation to the people and the, Government of Italy for their very warm we1come to us all for this summit, which has gathered us to discuss such critical issues as hunger, malnutrition and the fight against poverty in the world. We also pay tribute to Mr. Jacques Diouf the distinguished Director General of FAO, for his untiring efforts to achieve food security and sustainable agricultural development.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It has been five years since Rome declaration and the plan of action of World Food Summit at which it has been committed to, reduce the number of the hungry people to half However the commitments were not realized and there are still 800 million people suffer from hunger, poverty and malnutrition most of them live in rural areas and mostly depend on Agriculture to earn their living and what made thinks worse was that the food production was negatively affected due to natural disasters, water scarcity and wars.

It's just impossible to achieve food security and Agriculture development in the circumstance of war and dispute. Therefore we are looking forward to finding out a suitable method to enhance the peaceful solution to end disputes among countries.

The continuous practices of Israeli forces against Palestinian people represented in siege, occupation, destruction, devastation, deforestation and degradation of agricultural lands are considered a violation to UN charter, traditions, the international laws and human rights

The achievement of just and comprehensive peace in the world shall enhance the fight against poverty and will lead to economical, social and human development especially in the frame of globalization and the revolution of information Technology. Therefore we find ourselves responsible to work together to protect and preserve the lives of the human being.

Mr. Chairman,

The achievement of food security and sustainable agricultural development requires the cooperation of the international community, encourage the private sector to invest in agricultural projects, increase research, boost technological progress and above all, take the necessary steps to increase Agricultural productivity of food production and to make available the financial, technical and human resources.

Mr. Chairman,

We in the United Arab Emirates believe in the importance of Agricultural development in achieving food security. In response to the directions of H. H. Sheikh Zaid Bin Sultan Al Nahyan the President of the UAE the Government of the UAE acts for the encouragement and development of Agricultural, Animal and Fisheries sectors in spite of the challenges of the harsh climate, This policy contributed much to the spread of greenery increase of production and achieving self sufficiency in certain crops.

We, of course, rally around the Rome Declaration, adopted back in the 1996 Summit, and the commitment to reduce by 50 percent the hungry people in the world. UAE is active in offering agricultural credit to a number of countries in the world, in order to support their agricultural development programmes through Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and through charitable associations in UAE such as Zaid Charitable Association and the UAE Red Crescent Association.

In appreciation of the untiring efforts of the President of the UAE to boost and support the fight against hunger and his personal interest to fulfill the agricultural development as well as the protection of environment and achieving food security, numerous regional and international. organizations have awarded him with medals and prizes.

We recognize also, Mr. Chairman, that bilateral, as well as multilateral cooperation leads to serving mutual interest of the people and we ask the world community especially Rome organizations to cooperate and coordinate its efforts to ensure that the objectives set in 1996 are met. Most of all, we must stress the right of individuals to obtain food and that food shall not be used as an instrument for political and economical pressure.

We would also like to stress on the importance of the FAO role under the leadership of Director General Jacques Diouf and its cooperation with the government to strength its efforts and work u an International Alliance against hunger and implementation of the World Food Summit plan of action and building of national capacity in fight against poverty and hunger. We also support forming of international governmental work team within the frame of World Food Summit follow up to lay down guidelines to he1p the member countries in achieving food security for their people. The time for promises has gone and the time now is for action.

Finally we hope by the grace of Allah that this Summit outcome will contribute practically in eradication of poverty and hunger in the world.

Thank you Mr. Chairman

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