MOLDOVA, REPUBLIC OF - MOLDOVA RÉPUBLIQUE DE - MOLDOVA, REPÚBLICA DE
His Excellency Dimitri Todoroglo, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova (Original language Moldovian)
Please, first of all, allow me to express the best wishes for the deliberations of the Summit from the President and Government of the Republic of Moldova.
The issue of global poverty and hunger is something that requires our attention for the countries in transition to which the Republic of Moldova belongs. We are also encountering a drastic drop in the standard of living of our people and the lack of food security, which has resulted in unemployment and in people's uncertainty about the future, as well as the right to life according to what they are used to.
In November 1996, in Rome, we approved the Plan of Action on World Food Security. The Republic of Moldova, together with other Representatives of FAO, undertook important commitments to reduce hunger and poverty. We think that the World Food Summit, which is convened here today, gives us a unique opportunity to pool all of our efforts on globalization, especially when we are talking about issues of food security and fighting poverty and hunger, something that was already expressed at the Summit in 1996.
In order to provide adequate political, economic and social conditions to best fight poverty and have lasting peace, we in the Republic of Moldova undertook a number of measures to improve the food sector of the country. We developed a Draft Strategy on how to develop the agro-industry. We are bringing our laws in line with the requirements of various international organizations on the safety of foodstuffs. We are looking for investment through the creation of favourable conditions for domestic and foreign investors, and we are also cooperating with international organizations. All of this enabled us, last year, to stop the decrease in the Gross Domestic Product which in the past ten years was cut in half and also led to the unacceptably low level of living standards for people, especially in rural areas. When we acceded to the World Trade Organization Stability Pact in Europe, our country set itself a number of goals regarding food security.
As a result of joint measures between the Government of my country and FAO, we have seen some positive development in the sense that we now have better national standards and also better national domestic inspection of foodstuffs. We are still continuing with this work today. We are improving the functioning of State Bodies in charge of carrying out inspection of foodstuffs, while avoiding the duplication of work between various services. We are updating the programmes within which we train specialists working in food production; and we are trying to establish a single laboratory service and also better trained staff. We are also trying to introduce advanced technologies and know-how, first and foremost in rural areas.
We understand that these and other measures, which help us to be more effective in fighting poverty and hunger, are something that we have to carry out on our own. Our fate is in our own hands. True - but this will require a lot of time. Our budgetary possibilities are very limited, and we also have fairly low levels of foreign investment flows. Therefore, we would be very grateful if we could have an increase in the financial assistance from highly industrialized countries, and also from international entities.
In the past five years, we have had six FAO projects which provided help to farmers who suffered from drought in my country; provided assistance in the development of marketing and vegetable production; and help in the establishment of cereal production policy, etc. An FAO Mission visited my country in 2001, when we discussed further assistance for the agro-industry based on the fact that we are a country in transition trying to introduce market reforms. This includes financial and educational assistance on small-scale irrigation. We are in an area of unbalanced agriculture, and after the privatization of land, farmers are left 'one-on-one' with their problems.
We would also like to receive assistance in the area of high-quality wine production and export, assistance on producing and storing fruit, technical and financial assistance in mapping our territory in order to assist the livestock of the country, and in the creation of the necessary infrastructure for the development of animal husbandry in the private sector.
In my young country, we have a great need for assistance from FAO and other international organizations in trying to establish a system for certification of our produce, as well as a sytem on on how to certify our enterprises and make them acknowledgeable by international organizations. The lack of such certificates is used by some states to introduce embargoes on imports into their countries, which impedes our reform processes and also prevents us from fighting poverty.
We are working in all of these areas, but we would like to be able to use the international experience garnered here. It would enable us to improve the living standards of our people. In other words, it would help us in resolving the issues which we are discussing today.
We have listened to the appeal launched yesterday by Mr Kofi Annan and by Mr. Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, when they spoke about the conditions necessary for access to countries' markets by reducing tariffs and other barriers to market entry. It would be extremely useful to have a positive reaction to that, first and foremost from the European Commission. This tallies with what was said by Mr Diouf himself when he said that, instead of giving fish to someone, give the person a fishing rod and teach them how to fish.
We are grateful to FAO for the past projects, and grateful in advance for future cooperation. We value highly FAO's contribution in the restitution of our agricultural potential. We will continue with the process of reform and we will also ensure that we have the necessary conditions to fight poverty and hunger in providing for food security, improving the living standards of our people; and implementing the main goals of the Summit by reducing by half the number of undernourished by 2015. We are in favour of having an international coalition within the programme on fighting hunger, agriculture and rural development and providing food to people.
This is, of course, only a small part of the overall problems that mankind is encountering nowadays, especially after the fateful events of 11 September 2001. But, we support and are grateful for the help in carrying out reform from all countries, and are ready to participate in tackling the urgent issues of the World Food Summit.
In conclusion, I would like once again, on behalf of the leadership of the Republic of Moldova, to thank the leadership of FAO for the work they carry out and for the invitation to address this august forum, as well as to thank the citizens of Rome for their hospitality.