From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Mahmud Duwayri (Minister for Agriculture of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) - ROUND TABLE No. 3

In the name of God the Merciful and the Compassionate, Madame Chairperson, Director-General of the FAO, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let peace be with you. I would like to start off by congratulating the Prime Minister of Italy for being elected to Chair this Summit and I also wish to congratulate the Vice-Chairperson. It is a great pleasure for me to take the floor and to be here with you at the World Food Summit: five years later.

This Summit is of particular importance because more than 800 million people throughout the world, and more specifically in developing countries, still do not have access to sufficient food to cover their basic food needs. This reality is something that cannot be tolerated. In fact, despite the important increase in the number of foodstuffs produced in the world, the drop in the purchasing power of families coupled with the recurring incidence of natural disasters throughout the world, wars and the forecasted increase in world population, prevent us from satisfying our basic needs. Hunger and food insecurity are global problems that will unfortunately not disappear soon. It is forecast that we will become pounded in some regions, especially if we do not undertake the necessary measures to offset these trends. We need to mobilize the political will and to also highlight our national and international commitments in order to attain food security for all. We have to eradicate poverty in all countries. Our goal is to cut in half the number of those who suffer from hunger between now and the year 2015. This was also highlighted also in the Abu Dhabi Statement on Fighting Desertification and Rural Development. This stems from the meeting which took place last April in the United Arab Emirates.

Jordan is a country with limited natural resources. We are lacking in some food elements Therefore, food security is particularly important for us. Although structural reforms of this sector were certainly helpful in the medium-term, we are nonetheless; still left with major economic and social challenges. And, the results of our work do not appear clearly because of the drop in subsidies and the continuing drought. We are also suffering from lack of various other resources such as, a shortage in rainfall, which makes agriculture very difficult. In the mountain areas the rainfall is quite variable, up to 37 percent, which means that agriculture is very difficult, especially when we are talking about rainfed agriculture in the mountains. It also makes it very difficult and not very profitable to manage of pastures and forests.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my country is implementing a policy aiming at the increase of local production. For several goods our production level exceed our needs. This is the case with vegetables, for example, as well as with poultry and olive oil. This is thanks to the policy aimed at promoting the olive growth in Jordan. Similarly, we are also trying to reduce the deficit in other foodstuffs in future, and to do this within the framework of the programme on Food Security while simultaneously working with FAO on this.

It is a pleasure for me to be able to announce that Jordan was one of the first countries to ratify the International Treaty on Plant-Genetic Resources which was adopted during the FAO Conference last year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, several people throughout the world, especially in the Near East, have suffered through wars and natural disasters, and especially drought. The infrastructures in those countries were destroyed and this resulted in poverty and food shortages, but also in their instability and that of their peoples. This had very nefarious effects on their economies and on food production.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to invoke now some important points, which you will also deem to be important, and I do hope that you will give them the attention that I think they deserve in order to recommend effective measures regarding food security and the implementation of our Plan of Action. These points include: the need to give greater importance to the United Nations Specialized Agencies that play an important role in maintaining peace and security throughout the world. We also have to support world security efforts and make sure that they materialize if we want food security in the world. We also have to have a world coalition against poverty and hunger, two scourges which result in social problems and frustration, and ultimately to increased violence.

Then, we reaffirm the right of every human being to safe and sufficient food and the right of every human being to be free from hunger. We also reaffirm that the stable and peaceful political, economic and social environments are the basis for enabling states to give priority to food security and to the eradication of poverty. Similarly, democracy and the protection of human rights and freedoms, including the equal participation of men and women in society, are all the basic elements necessary for food security for all. We also would like to highlight the importance of working quickly in order to eradicate poverty, which is also a root cause of food security. We also have to improve access to food, conflict, since terrorism, corruption and worsening environmental conditions lead to food insecurity.

We also have to be talking about the sustainable management of natural resources and we must eliminate consumer practices and production practices that do not take this sustainable element into account. Food should not be used as a means of exerting economical or political pressure. We highlight the importance of international cooperation. We have to make sure that measures which are in violation of the United Nations Charter and endanger food security are avoided. We also have to highlight the reform in trade and the importance of eliminating export subsidies used by developed countries, as well as non-tariff barriers which are encountered by exporters from developing countries.

We also have to highlight the importance of alleviating the debt of developing countries in order to help them find their place in the world. We call upon the international community and donors to provide emergency assistance to Palestinian agriculture which suffers from the Israeli actions and which therefore endangers the food security of the Palestinian people.

Finally, I would like to thank the Host Country of the Summit; and all of those who participated in its organization and who deployed enormous efforts in order to bring this about. I would like to thank His Excellency the Director-General of the FAO, all of the bodies within the FAO, and all the Governmental and Non-governmental Organizations who participated in the organization of work for the Summit.

I would like to wish every success to the Summit and peace be with you.

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