From the podium

From the podium

Her Excellency M. Vivian Young (Prime Minister of the Republic of Niue)

Excellencies, Heads of State, Distinguished Leaders and Delegates, Director-General of FAO, Ladies and Gentlemen. Firstly, I wish to extend my warmest greetings to you all on behalf of my Government and the people of Niue. I am honoured to be present on this important occasion, and our presence here today is testimony to my small nation's commitment to the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action that was adopted at the First World Food Summit, five years ago.

It is a fundamental objective of all nations to have food security for its population. The nutritional spectrum provides the scale on which we can measure the success of various interventions adopted by countries to achieve the global goal of reducing the number of undernourished persons. The standard of food security of my country is not yet satisfactory, because the quality of the supply of protein food to supplement the local resources is resulting in some poor diet for a sustainable healthy life. There is no cultural barrier to food consumption, in fresh or processed form. Food that looks good, feels good, is available and affordable is consumed. We also believe that poverty and hunger go in tandem, and many of us have come here to support and applaud the efforts of countries and agencies, particularly FAO and WHO, with initiatives to tackle both issues at the same time. I am sure that we are all aware that this is an uphill battle since the political will, and the enabling environment, are different in each country.

But, while some of us appear complacent at present, there is a need to make sure that the current food resources are sustainable. Niue will support any initiative to ensure that FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing is respected. Niue is party to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Oceans, especially the Tuna Fisheries Management following the UN Fish Stocks Agreement in 1995. It is regretted that some of the sea's food sources are becoming endangered and replenishment efforts are very slow.

But a small isolated country, surrounded on all sides by seas, is not without vulnerability to natural disasters. This would impact adversely on all sectors of the food chain. The sad thing is that we cannot mitigate fast enough against such events. We sympathize with the countries whose food production capabilities and food security have been most frequently and severely affected and also threatened by natural disasters. These are the nations, communities and populations that must be assisted as a matter of priority, to reassure their confidence in food production and food security mobilization.

We must look after the women of this world who are the main producers of food, the main processors and traders of food, for without women's constructive inputs, the number of hungry people in the world would be worse.

We must adopt the best that biotechnology sciences have proven, if we wish to move ahead. Waste must be minimized to ensure that food sources are hygienic and drinking water safe.

I urge the FAO membership to work together to achieve the food security objectives contained in the Declaration. Finally, Mr Chairman, I must thank the host nation, the Government of Italy, through FAO for the warm welcome, the tremendous hospitality and the excellent protocol arrangements.

Thank you. Kia Monuina.

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