From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Romuald Szuniewicz (Minister Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Poland to FAO) on behalf of His Excellency Jaroslaw Kalinowski (Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development)

Thank you Mr Chairman. Let me congratulate the Italian Republic, the host of the Rome events that attract world attention for the second time within the last few weeks. It is here where the roads of two alliances have met. Recently, the North Atlantic Alliance has made a decision in Rome leading towards the stabilization of the world's political security. Today, representatives of governments, parliaments, international organizations, non governmental and civil society organizations are meeting here in an Alliance for Food Security, in a Coalition Against Hunger and Poverty.

Realization of these goals is closely inter related. One of the main reasons of hunger and poverty in the world are humanitarian disasters brought about by wars and conflicts. On the one hand, mobilization of resources to expand the war potential takes away funds that might otherwise free tens of millions of people from hunger. On the other hand, hunger and poverty give rise to tensions that lead to destabilization of security.

Poland is a member of the two alliances, and spares no effort to break up the vicious circle. We felt painfully what a war full of blood was like, and were hard hit by the consequences of the Cold War isolation. At present, it is with deep conviction that we participate in the great project of the European unification, and our troops take part in peace operations in trouble spots around the world. We are doing this in the name of democracy and protection of human rights and basic freedoms to ensure a stable political, social and economic environment indispensable for reduction of poverty and achievement of sustainable food security in the world.

Although young generations of Poles dÓd not experience the devastating scourge of hunger, the shortage of means for a decent standard of living was a social problem at the time of necessary and inevitable structural adjustments of the Polish economy. When in need, we were given international aid, which helped us endure the most difficult moments. Natural disasters that affected large areas of Poland in recent years showed that we could always count on international solidarity.

Our moral duty and political will is to reciprocate this aid. Poland allocates substantial funds from its national budget for development assistance and saving the people facing danger in countries of many regions in the world. Non governmental organizations mobilise masses of people in order to provide assistance in any form they can offer.

We provide technical and expert assistance for modernizing agriculture and agricultural production processes in the developing countries and the countries in transition. We provide financial support to such international institutions established to combat hunger and malnutrition as the World Food Programme.

Poland cannot really yet afford, to make such financial contributions towards fighting hunger in the world as it would like to. However, we wish to emphasize that mobilization of resources to combat hunger does not only mean financial aid or food transports. Combating hunger means, first of all, to create resources in the countries and regions affected by famine. In Poland, and in Central and Eastern Europe, the regional dimension of a contribution to the coalition against hunger and poverty is mainly to release these resources, which so far have been provided as aid, to this part of the world. Poland's experience and example show that the achievement of this goal is possible and close in our region in a favourable international environment

Mr Chairman. Whenever we discuss food security, we obviously also mean sustainable development, its financing, and free trade. Our meeting in Rome enters the cycle of important international meetings starting from Doha, through Monterrey to Johannesburg. In Rome, the seat of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, special attention should be devoted to farmers and rural areas.

It is farmers who bear the highest costs of structural reforms and are most severely affected by the consequences of subsidized competition that distorts conditions of international trade. Emergency food aid to save people suffering from hunger may lead to, poverty of farmers whose existence depends on the prices of agricultural products. While discussing food security, we must remember about food, including its safety and quality, as well as farmers and rural areas. We must remember about safety nets for the rural population, about health; about the particular role of rural women, the education of youth; and the environment on which the quality of food and the quality of life depend.

Mr Chairman. I am convinced that, thanks to various events accompanying our meeting in Rome, and thanks to broad participation of representatives of all organizations and institutions sensitive to hunger and human needs, the coalition against hunger and poverty will produce concrete results here. I assure you that Poland will be a reliable ally in this coalition.

Thank you for your attention.

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