From the podium

From the podium

Her Excellency Natalya Drozd (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus)

Mr Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me begin by thanking FAO Director-General H.E. Mr Jacques Diouf and the Italian Government for the invitation to participate in this important international gathering in Rome. We fully support efforts made by the FAO Director-General aiming at creation of solid food security in the new millennium.

Sharing the goals set by the World Food Summit in 1996, the Republic of Belarus attaches great importance to the present meeting.

We intend to contribute actively to the development of international cooperation for strengthening the multilateral mechanisms of fighting hunger. In our opinion, it is necessary to carry out the policy of sustainable development, primarily at the national level, in order to eliminate one of the key causes of food instability, i.e. unbalanced social-economic development in general, and in the field of agriculture in particular.

Ensuring and maintaining food security is a strategic goal of the development of the agrarian complex in my country. In 1998, the Government of Belarus worked out and approved the Conception and the National Food Security Programme. These documents contain the estimation criteria of food security and a complex of strategic and prompt measures aimed at achieving this strategic goal.

At present the role and function of the States in the agrarian sector is under change. The State is no longer a monopolist but a market agent, which stocks up with farming products on an equal basis with its competitors. The State focuses mainly on efficient agricultural policy and strategy, thus making way for a flexible market infrastructure in the country.

Mr Chairman success of the fight against hunger also depends on the sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems. It is common knowledge that in the course of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster nearly 70 percent of radiation fell on the territory of Belarus, having contaminated about a quarter of the territory inhabited by more than two million people.

Unfortunately, global science has no counter measures yet that could allow interruption of the biological chain of radionuclids’ migration in nature. Therefore, we have to perform a complex set of special protective measures annually in order to lower the overcome of isotopes into the crop and cattle production.

In this connection, our delegation would like to express hope for the extension of mutual cooperation and assistance from international organizations to the affected countries.

Excellencies, this important Summit offers a great opportunity to mobilize political will, technical expertise and financial resources so that the target of reducing hunger can be achieved. Belarus endorses the proposal to establish an “International Alliance against Hunger and Poverty” that would bring together governments of poor and rich countries, the international community and civil society in achieving this goal.

We commend FAO for setting up a Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety, for the support it provides to the developing and transition countries in all aspects of agriculture and rural development. We join the requests to FAO to support the training of national experts, particularly for the World Trade Organization and other multilateral negotiations in agricultural trade, to improve the negotiating capacity in order to reduce their disadvantage in relation to the developed countries.

It is our conviction that global market for agricultural commodities should be fair. We stand for fair competition in world agricultural trade. Unfortunately, access of developing and transition countries to developed country markets is constrained by custom tariffs. We hope that the new round of trade negotiations removes the existing barriers. The growing liberalization of the world's markets cannot occur on the basis of double standards. It is also essential to adopt policies conducive to the strengthening of regional cooperation to increase intra-regional agricultural trade.

We must secure a central place for women, who play a crucial role in agriculture in developing countries. That is why we request FAO to support the development of programmes focused on women and young rural people.

Mr Chairman, hunger breeds desperation and paves the way to crime, force or terror, endangering national and global stability. It is, therefore, in everyone’s interests – rich and poor alike – to fight hunger. Our success, however, will ultimately depend not so much on the commitments made at the Summit, but on concrete steps after the Summit. The task is not an easy one. It requires a comprehensive and coherent approach and mobilized political will. It requires that all those who are committed to eradicating hunger work together.

We are certain that the world community will be able to obtain, through collective efforts, food security for the whole population of the planet.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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