His Excellency Salim bin Hilal bin Ali Al-Khalily (Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of the Sultanate of Oman) (Original language Arabic)
It is a great honour for me to convey to this august assembly the greetings of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Sultan of Oman, and his best wishes for the success of your Summit and to the Italian Government all appreciation for its efforts to ensure the success of the Summit we confirm our appreciation of the efforts exerted by the United Nations and its Secretary-General in fighting poverty and disease and alleviating suffering. We also convey special thanks and appreciation to FAO for its distinguished contribution to ensure food and to develop agriculture. This Summit is the outcome of the strong efforts of FAO to group decision-makers and to ensure partnership and complementarity in fighting hunger and poverty and bridging the gap between the objectives and reality.
Security and the balance of interests are instrumental in ensuring the prosperity of man and food security. We know that war has always been a cause of poverty and backwardness and many disasters, and if we wish to ensure mankind's happiness we have to work for peace and security and direct our energies to fight backwardness in its various forms. The previous Summit established the target of eradication of poverty and hunger at a minimum rate of 20 million persons per year. We have not achieved all these objectives but we have to continue our efforts.
I wish to put on record here that our Sultanate has made efforts to translate engagements into concrete action, firstly, in human development. We have also directed attention to extension programmes to increase productivity and to raise household living standards. Concerning food balance, in Oman we achieved 65 percent of food value and 69 percent for animal feed through projects aimed at developing water resources, land reclamation, research centres and so on, in addition to other efforts within the public sector to sustain natural resources and to ensure the livelihood of future generations. This was illustrated when Sultan Qaboos declared that the first year of the Third Millennium should be devoted to the environment because we believe that conservation of the environment is one of the pillars of development, especially human development.
The development approaches we are witnessing now have helped enhance health services in our country, which is still considered to be among the first ten in the world concerning health services. We have also directed attention to women and children, and this has had a positive affect on society as a whole. We shall direct resources to the infrastructure of research in our country and we know that developed countries have achieved greater progress in this field. I hope that the Summit will establish mechanisms and channels to enable developing countries to benefit from the scientific progress realized in more advanced countries.
At the time we meet here to help alleviate suffering, we note that there are certain forces which are destroying human life, destroying means of livelihood. The international community should pay attention to this and should support the Palestinian people’s struggle for a peaceful life like any other people in the world.
We hope that this Summit will review the recommendations and decisions made by the previous Summit so as to translate all decisions into concrete action. I am sure that this Summit will be able to work out practical solutions to the problem of poverty and hunger in the world. I hope that God will guide our steps in this direction so as to achieve all the aspirations of mankind in a human and decent life.
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