From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Costas Themistocleous (Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment of the Republic of Cyprus)

Thank you Mr Chairman. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to represent my country and address this session of the World Food Summit: five years later. Before I proceed any further I wish to apologize on behalf of the President of the Republic Cyprus for not being able to attend. The intensive negotiations which are presently being held between the President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Denktas for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem, do not permit him to be with us even for one day.

Despite the unprecedented population growth of the recent years, the access to food by all people has improved in certain regions, mainly due to the substantial progress in food production. Available statistics indicate that over the last 30 years world agricultural population has doubled and world agricultural trade has tripled.

This remarkable progress, however, has not let to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition. Even though enough food is produced to feed the entire population of the planet, food is not reaching everyone. Many millions of fellow humans do not have access to the required food to have a productive life. Most of these people live in countries that cannot produce enough food to feed their population and lack the financial resources to import the extra supplies they need. The coexistence of hunger vis--vis the capacity to end it is one of the gravest contradictions of our time. To overcome this problem the collective wisdom and solidarity of humanity is required.

The right to adequate nutrition and freedom from hunger has been recognized almost 60 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the acknowledgement of the right to food entails obligations on those who have means to ensure that those who do not have the means can, nevertheless, satisfy their basic food needs. This means that for improving the conditions for a more peaceful and food-secure world the moral and ethical values should be placed at the top of the social, economic and political priority lists. In the final analysis, this approach will be to the benefit of all.
What would one therefore expect to be the result of this Summit?

It is known that an open-ended Working Group has been established to prepare the Declaration, which we all approved on Monday morning. The Declaration has received the appropriate attention from the Committee of World Food Security that met last week in Rome. Following the long process and a detail elaboration on the content of the Declaration, it is certain that all views on this matter have been expressed. In the light of these thoughts, I wish to register my country's full support to the World Food Summit: five years later Declaration. What remains to be done is to find ways to implement it. All necessary means must be placed at the disposal of our oganization to enable it to proceed to its implementation with the ultimate objective of eliminating hunger and malnutrition from the earth.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

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