From the podium

From the podium


His Excellency Shaikh Fahad Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah (Chairman and Director General, Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources of the State of Kuwait) (Original language Arabic)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I should like to expend to you the full congratulations of the Emir of Kuwait, who I have the honour of representing here, and I would like to transmit to you his best wishes for the success of this Summit.

I should like, on behalf of my country, to thank most warmly the Italian Government for the hospitality which has been shown to us all and for the truly excellent manner in which we have been received here, and for the organization of the Summit in general. I should also be very happy to thank the President of the Italian Republic for the interest which his countries has always shown towards this Summit dealing with one of the most important subjects in the world, that is, world food security.

I should like to say that the efforts of FAO, and notably those of its Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, have been instrumental in ensuring that vital projects are quickly implemented to achieve the Organization's noble objectives.

The principle aim of our meeting today is to renew what we promised in 1996, that is, to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and to ensure world food security, on a stable and durable basis for all. This, of course, must take place through appropriate policies on all levels. This means that we must help each other, as the religious writings tell us, and we must help our fellow men throughout the world. It is true that the United Nations since its inception, it has been their aim and they have considered that the right to proper nutrition is one of the basic rights of humankind. The efforts of many Governments, in the past, have been directed along these lines. But despite all these worthy efforts including those of FAO and of the Specialized Agencies, we have not yet achieved out objectives, which are still very far and distant for many of the countries on this Earth.

Nowadays, we can also see other problems, that is, the demographic growth in certain countries and over-exploitation of the seas through over-fishing, the destruction of forests, through logging, the exhaustion of natural resources and desertification. This is all linked to the instability in many countries and the over-exploitation of natural resources, which will deprive future generations of their benefits.

The suffering which the Palestinian people are undergoing, especially women and children, because of the wars to which they have been subject, has made them even poorer than before. It is only one of the examples of the very disastrous effects that wars may have. Therefore, we ought to give high priority to the management of natural resources and this can only be achieved through truly constructive co-operation endeavours with FAO and with the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations and on the economic, regional and social levels.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is high time that there should be an international coalition to struggle against inequality and hunger throughout the world. This, like the Alliance Against International Terrorism, must be fruitful in its results. We are all members of the international community, and we need to have an open and true system which would guarantee all countries by providing appropriate incomes, through a proper flow of goods and services throughout the world, in agreement with this new international system which awaits us. I should say that we must reform as well.

We have to, eliminate customs barriers against the products of the developing countries, and we must make things move forward if we wish to achieve our noble objectives. It is true that the budgets of different countries should set aside sizeable sums for this particular aim.

I should like to say that a solution to the problems of hunger will not necessarily come through increased agricultural production. We know that there is a great deal of inflation, especially in the developing countries, and we must therefore create new employment possibilities. This is the way that we can overcome our problems.

Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the difficult problems which we have had recently, and which we are still suffering because we have still a great number of prisoners who are far away from our borders and who are still in prison, we will meet our promises to the international community, specifically, we will waive the debts of certain developing countries. In 1990, our Emir, rescheduled these debts. As the Prophet has said: “the person who goes to sleep with his stomach full is no brother to the one who goes to sleep hungry”. For many years, my country has participated in the Kuwaiti Fund for the social development of the peoples. We have helped develop the economies of many countries, and we have given gifts of money, as well as loans. Between 1996-2001, forty donations were given by this Fund to many different countries for a cumulative total of US$113 000 million. We also have preferential agreements with many different countries amounting to US$3 billion.

What we offer as aid is two percent of our GDP. This is what was requested by the Rome Declaration. We were asked that 0.7 of national revenue be set aside for this noble aim. We would also like to ask the international community, the IFIs and the regional financial institutions to help the developing countries in order to ensure their food security in every possible way and also to help them to develop their agricultural sectors, because it is very important for them.

In order to alleviate this problem of poverty, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Chairman, I would like to say, in conclusion, that I hope you have full success in your work. We would also would like to say that we all hope to achieve world food security. We must adopt the appropriate strategies at policies and all levels, both internationally and regionally, if we wish to be successful in this noble aim.

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