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World: Aid Workers Kidnapped 2018

Source: Insecurity Insight
Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen

Kidnapping data trends

• The number of kidnappings and individual aid workers who were kidnapped peaked in April 2018. July, August and September also recorded high numbers of kidnappings.

• Between February and May, 36 aid workers were kidnapped while travelling in Central and Western Equatoria states in South Sudan. Many incidents occurred when agencies entered previously inaccessible areas where there have been reports of conflict parties accusing aid workers of spying.

• During July and August, 20 aid workers were kidnapped in eastern DRC by armed groups that included the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda and Mai-Mai.

• In September, 13 Yemeni aid workers were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants in Dhale governorate, Yemen. They were freed after local tribal leaders negotiated their release.

• 71 aid workers in Tanzania, Mali, Yemen and South Sudan were released following their abduction, while seven aid workers were killed or tortured by their abductors while in captivity in Afghanistan, CAR, the DRC and Nigeria.

• In the DRC, unidentified gunmen kidnapped three aid workers in North Kivu, two of whom were found dead the following day, while the third was released after two days. In Afghanistan, opposition forces kidnapped and killed one aid worker in Kunduz. In Nigeria, ISIS militants executed two aid workers following their abduction; three others were killed in the initial attack and one aid worker remains in captivity. In CAR, two local aid workers were abducted and tortured allegedly by anti-Balaka fighters while providing vaccinations in Haute-Kotto prefecture.

• Six aid workers were held hostage in Tanzania and Uganda. In Tanzania, casual labourers held five aid workers hostage to enforce their demands for payment for work completed. All were released after several hours of negotiations.

• Ransom demands were made for the release of six aid workers in CAR and the DRC. Five Congolese aid workers were abducted by armed men while travelling in the DRC. Two others were kidnapped and assaulted in the attack, but were released unconditionally. One aid worker was held for three days by members of the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique in CAR. The aid worker was released after a ransom was paid; it is not clear who paid the ransom.

• Four aid workers were the victims of 'express kidnappings' in Kenya, Peru and Tanzania and forced to withdraw money from ATMs for their release. The aid worker in Kenya was also drugged and the one in Peru was physically assaulted.

• Nearly 50% of kidnapped aid workers are either still in captivity or their status is unknown. Seven are reported as missing in the DRC, Burkina Faso, Cambodia and Guatemala. The lack of precise information on what happened to aid workers following their abduction in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria means that our overall understanding of the kidnapping threats facing aid workers in these countries remains incomplete.

World: Opening Remarks by Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, At opening of Sanitation and Water for All Sector Ministers’ Meeting San José, Costa Rica, April 4, 2019

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, World

First, my thanks to the Government of Costa Rica for hosting this event — and for this country’s ongoing commitment to sanitation and water for all.

On behalf of everyone at UNICEF — especially our dedicated WASH staff in over 100 countries around the world — we appreciate this opportunity to galvanize support for this important issue.

But we also have an opportunity — and an obligation — to discuss new approaches and set clear priorities.

Because despite our great progress, new UNICEF and WHO data shows that over two billion people still lack access to safely managed water services. That 4.4 billion lack safely managed sanitation. And 1.4 billion lack basic handwashing facilities at home.

The risks are huge.

Risks to children’s health, when over 700 children under the age of five die from diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation, hygiene and water every day.

Risks to maternal health, when millions of mothers who give birth in health facilities without basic water, sanitation and hygiene are at risk of infection and disease.

Risks to education, when girls are kept home because of a lack of separate toilets or hygiene facilities in schools.

Risks to growth, because parents can’t prepare healthy meals for their children without safe water — and children’s bodies can’t retain nutrients.

And risks to entire economies. According to the World Health Organization, poor sanitation results in an estimated global GDP loss of $260 billion annually, because of health costs and productivity losses.

We must do better.

UNICEF has set an ambitious goal. By 2021, we’re aiming for 60 million more people gaining access to safe drinking water. And 250 million fewer people practicing open defecation.

To help get there, more progress is urgently needed in three areas — WASH in health care facilities, WASH in conflict, and bringing more private sector expertise, products and financing into our work.

First — WASH in health care facilities.

According to a new report UNICEF and WHO released yesterday, one in four health care facilities lacks basic water services. Putting an estimated two billion people at increased risk of infection.

Consider the birth of a baby. Every birth should be supported by a safe pair of hands, washed with soap and water, using sterile equipment, in a clean environment.

Consider also the plight of mothers in the least-developed countries. Seventeen million of them give birth in health centres with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene every year. Putting them at risk of maternal sepsis.

The report includes eight specific actions that governments can take to improve WASH services in these facilities. From establishing national plans and targets — to improving infrastructure — to working directly with communities to create demand.

The bottom line is this. Improving WASH services is a solvable problem with a high return on investment. And it represents one more step towards improving primary health care services for all people, no matter where they live.

The second priority is WASH in conflicts.

In Lebanon last year, local mayors told me that water is the number-one issue they face. Water systems are straining to meet communities’ needs with the influx of Syrian refugees. Just one example of many where existing water systems are strained by humanitarian crises.

In fact, one in four children in the world is living in a country affected by conflict or disaster. We know that children living in fragile and conflict-affected countries are twice as likely to lack basic sanitation — and four times as likely to lack basic drinking water.

And unsafe water can be as deadly as bullets or bombs. Children under 15 are almost three times more likely to die from diseases linked to unsafe water and sanitation — like diarrhoea or cholera — than from direct violence.

We’re also seeing access to water being used as a weapon of war. Direct and deliberate attacks on water systems are all too common in conflict. When the flow of clean water stops, children are forced to rely on unsafe sources.

A new UNICEF advisory published last month calls for an immediate end to attacks on water and sanitation infrastructure and personnel.

And it calls for investments in these countries’ WASH sectors that will serve not only immediate humanitarian needs — but the long-term development of sustainable water systems.

At UNICEF, we’re taking this long-term view across all of our emergency WASH programmes.

From building dams in Somalia to improve rainwater-harvesting and water security.

To providing emergency water and sanitation to almost 300,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

To our work in South Sudan, training local women to install water taps, build new latrines with separate facilities for men and women, and ensure that these facilities are well-lit with street lamps.

Step by step, we’re not only improving WASH services in the midst of crisis — we’re building the lasting, resilient systems these communities need to support development in the decades ahead.

My third point is about working with the private sector across our water and sanitation programming.

This includes market development to meet consumer demand — and even potential employment for local populations.

In East Africa, UNICEF has partnered with the LIXIL Corporation and governments across the region to expand the availability of affordable, state-of-the-art toilet pans that use little water.

In Somalia, we’re working with the EU, local government, and businesses and investors to develop public-private partnerships focused on pipelines and reservoirs…drilling and testing boreholes…and supporting better water-system management and maintenance.

And in Bangladesh, Sanitation Market Systems — or “SanMarkS” — is bringing together public, private and development partners to reach more households with improved sanitation. Manufacturing firms are producing low-cost latrine parts and working with local companies to market and install them. So far, 95,000 latrines have been sold, and more than 500 local people are installing and marketing them.

As we move forward, let’s also be inspired by the impressive progress that so many countries and regions have made in recent years.

The progress of South Asia — which has seen the greatest increase in the use of toilets over than last decade than at any time in history.

The progress of Ethiopia, Nepal and Cambodia — all on track to eliminating open defecation by 2030. If not earlier.

The progress of Niger, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mozambique. All have national roadmaps to deliver total access to sanitation, in every community.

The work in Ghana to bring together the World Bank, the government of the Netherlands and Ghana’s Apex Bank to develop a microfinance mechanism to provide loans to communities to build low-cost toilets.

And the progress we see in the co-operative efforts among governments to learn from one another. As Nigeria has been working closely with India to learn from that country’s Swachh Bharat Mission for total sanitation. An important reminder that we all have much to learn from each other’s progress.

As these successes prove, there is no excuse for failing to act.

So let’s combine our ideas and efforts. Let’s learn from one another. Let’s hold each other accountable for our commitments. And let’s make the coming decade one of action, results and progress for this critical sector. Thank you.

Media Contacts

Najwa Mekki
Tel: +1 917 209 1804

World: To Walk the Earth in Safety (2018): Documenting the United States’ Commitment to Conventional Weapons Destruction

Source: US Department of State
Country: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

"This 17th Edition of To Walk the Earth In Safety summarizes the United States' CWD programs in 2017. CWD assistance provides the United States with a powerful and flexible tool to help partner countries manage their stockpiles of munitions, destroy excess small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and clear explosive hazards such as landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and UXO. Our assistance also helps countries destroy or enhance security of their man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and their threat to civilian aviation, in addition to other weapons and munitions. ... Thanks to the U.S. Congress’ bipartisan support and support of the American people, we can attest that our goal remains one where all may walk the earth in safety." -- Message From Under Secretary Andrea Thompson

World: Documenting the United States’ Commitment to Conventional Weapons Destruction: To Walk the Earth in Safety (January–December 2017)

Source: Government of the United States of America
Country: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Palau, Senegal, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Stockpiles of excess, poorly-secured, or otherwise at-risk conventional weapons continue to pose a challenge to peace and prosperity worldwide. In the wrong hands, SA/LW fuel political instability and violence, while more advanced conventional weapons, such as MANPADS, pose a serious threat to international security. Aging munitions stockpiles may also explode without warning, devastating nearby population centers. Meanwhile, landmines and ERW, including cluster munition remnants, artillery shells, and mortars, continue to kill and maim people even after conflicts end. Clearing land paves the way for stabilization assistance to move forward, allowing displaced persons to return home, economic revitalization to begin, and political stability to take root.

The U.S. Government’s Collaborative Approach

The United States is committed to reducing these threats worldwide and is the leading financial supporter of CWD, providing more than $3.2 billion in assistance to more than 100 countries since 1993. This makes the United States the world’s single largest financial supporter of CWD. The Department of State, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) work together with foreign governments, private companies, and international and nongovernmental organizations to reduce excess SA/LW and conventional munitions stockpiles (including MANPADS), implement physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) best practices at conventional weapons storage sites, and carry out humanitarian mine action programs.

The Department of State, through the Political-Military Affairs Bureau’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), manages CWD assistance and oversees programs in 47 countries in 2017. It also leads the U.S. Interagency MANPADS Task Force, which coordinates counter-MANPADS efforts by the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and other relevant stakeholders, and helps partner nations eliminate or better secure their MANPADS. The Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Training Center (HDTC) trains deminers, ammunition handlers, and stockpile managers from partner countries. The Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program (HD R&D) improves CWD technologies, enhancing the efficiency and safety of humanitarian demining operations around the world. USAID assists mine and UXO survivors, providing medical and rehabilitative care, through its Leahy War Victims Fund.

Department of State Support for CWD

Through PM/WRA, the Department of State has managed more than 68 percent (over $2.2 billion) of the United States’ more than $3.2 billion contribution to CWD since 1993, with a three-fold objective:

  1. Enhance U.S. and international security by destroying and securing SA/LW, including MANPADS, at risk of proliferation to terrorists, insurgents, and other violent non-state actors;

  2. Remediate explosive remnants of war (ERW), returning land to safe and productive use; and 3. Accelerate achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives by broadening support for CWD efforts.

PM/WRA partners with nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, educational institutions, and private sector contractors to implement its programs. Robust project performance standards, enhanced monitoring and evaluation strategies, and a comprehensive program planning process guide PM/WRA’s resource allocation decisions and hold implementing partners accountable.

The measurable, tangible results that flow from the U.S. government’s commitment to CWD programs strongly support U.S. foreign policy priorities. In addition, these programs help protect the lives and livelihoods of civilians so they can more safely remain in their own countries. We look forward to continuing this important work.

World: Statement on the 70th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Country: Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of...

World: Aid in Danger: Security Incident Data Analysis – All Regions (January 2017 – June 2018)

Source: Insecurity Insight
Country: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, China - Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region), Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

World: The Market Monitor – Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 39 – April 2018

Source: World Food Programme
Country: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Global Highlights

• In Q1-2018, the FAO cereal price index rose by 8.6 percent from Q1-2017, while the global food price index declined by 2 percent year-on-year.

• The real price for wheat was 22 percent above Q1-2017 levels: crops suffered dryness in the United States and cold weather in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, leaving production forecasts open to a downward revision.3 World ending stocks remain at record levels.

• The real price for maize was 6 percent higher than last quarter but stable compared to Q1-2017.
Overall favourable crop conditions offset mixed production outcomes in the southern African regions, leading to firm world supplies.

• The real price of rice increased by 14 percent from Q1-2017, with a slight contraction of stocks in exporting countries and increased buying interest from importing countries.

• In Q1, the real price of crude oil increased by 5 percent from the previous quarter following an agreement on extensive production cuts in major oil-producing countries.

• The cost of the basic food basket increased severely (>10%) in Q1-2018 in five countries: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Sudan and Yemen. High increases (5–10%) were seen in Indonesia, Iraq, Myanmar, South Sudan, Turkey and Viet Nam. In the other monitored countries, the change was moderate or low (<5%).

• Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS, were detected in 19 countries, particularly in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Sudan, Sri Lanka, South Sudan and the Sudan (see the map below).4 These spikes indicate crisis levels for the two most important staples in each country, which could be maize, milk, millet, oil, rice, sorghum, sweet potatoes or wheat.

World: Emergency Management Centre for Animal Health Annual Report

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Country: Benin, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Zambia

Animal health emergencies continue to erupt around the world at an ever-increasing pace. Increased global travel, human migration and informal trade of animals and animal products continue to intensify the risk of disease spread. Infectious diseases and other animal health threats have the potential to move rapidly within a country or around the world leading to severe socio-economic and public health consequences. For zoonoses that develop the ability for human to human transmission, an early response to an animal health emergency could prevent the next pandemic. As the demands continue to evolve for effective and efficient management of animal diseases, including emerging diseases and zoonoses, the Emergency Management Centre for Animal Health (EMC-AH) continues to evolve and keep pace with the global demands, adding value to Member States of FAO.

Building on the first eleven years of success, the Centre rebranded its platform in 2018 as EMC-AH, with the full support of the Crisis Management Centre for Animal Health Steering Committee in November 2017. The new name reflects the modernization of the platform and new way of working to better address the needs of the future. Further, the inaugural EMC-AH strategic action plan 2018 2022 released in June 2018 clearly states the vision, mission, and core functions of EMC AH for the coming five years with the aim of reducing the impact of animal health emergencies.

EMC AH’s annual report reflects EMC AH’s new way of working under its strategic action plan and addresses EMC AH performance and actions for the twelve-month period of November 2017-October 2018. During the reporting period, EMC AH contributed to strengthening resilience of livelihoods to animal health-related emergencies and zoonoses through the core pillars of its strategic action plan: preparedness, response, incident coordination, collaboration and resource mobilization. The annual report illustrates EMC-AH’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

FAO’s Member States have an ongoing need for a holistic and sustainable international platform that provides the necessary tools and interventions inclusive of animal health emergency management. EMC-AH strategic action plan requires a substantial commitment of resources to implement the full range of proposed activities, and EMC-AH must maintain key personnel essential to carry out its objectives and components of the 2016-2019 FAO Strategic Framework that addresses increased resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises (Strategic Programme five [SP5]).

As a joint platform of FAO’s Animal Health Service and Emergency Response and Resilience Team, and in close collaboration with related partners and networks, EMC-AH is appropriately positioned to provide renewed leadership, coordination and action for global animal health emergencies.

World: EU Funding for Humanitarian Food Assistance and Nutrition 2017 – Response Coordination Centre | DG ECHO Daily Map | 26/10/2018

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Myanmar, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Total funding: € 656 million

World: Devastating Impacts of Climate Change Threatening Farm Outputs, Increasing Global Hunger, Delegates Say as Second Committee Takes Up Agriculture, Food Security

Source: UN General Assembly
Country: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Maldives, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tonga, World, Yemen, Zambia



Destructive impacts of climate change like droughts, floods and increasingly severe storms are the primary culprits behind decreased farming output and rising hunger worldwide, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), as it took up agriculture, food security and nutrition today.

Speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana’s delegate cited the recent earthquake in Haiti as yet another reminder of the vulnerability of small island and low‑lying coastal States to extreme climate. Underlining the urgent need to build resilience to shocks through climate‑sensitive agriculture, he said water management schemes as well as drought- and flood‑resistant seeds are critical.

Maldives’ representative, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States, similarly noted that climate change, environmental degradation and declining ocean health severely threaten food security and nutrition in small island countries. Rapid changes in temperatures and increasing levels of flooding or drought slash agricultural yields in small islands, reducing their ability to locally produce food.

Rising sea levels result in salt water encroachment, threatening coastal farmland and fresh water supply, he added. The few small islands with coastal farmland also face threats from increasingly intense and frequent natural hazards, which destroy crops and damage production as well as transport infrastructure.

Malawi’s delegate, speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, described climate change as one of the biggest reasons for increasing global hunger rates. Climate change has had a devastating effect on his group, with global warming of 2°C (according to the Paris Agreement) projected to further reduce crop yields and nutrition.

Almost a quarter of the populations of least developed countries suffer food insecurity, with vulnerable populations in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen even facing the risk of famine, he said. Adding that the vast majority of farmers in these nations are small‑scale producers, he said they are most vulnerable to environmental and price shocks.

To mitigate and adapt to the negative impacts of climate change on farming, Ethiopia’s delegate said his country is promoting climate resilient green agriculture. The idea is to mobilize local communities and undertake natural resource conservation and management activities like forestry development as well as soil and water preservation.

Speakers also stressed the need for urgent investment in agriculture, especially in Africa, where mechanization will greatly boost yields. Zambia’s delegate noted that small‑scale farmers in his country still use outdated equipment like the handheld hoe. Adding that introduction of tractors and tillers is boosting production for women farmers and their families, he stressed that many are still seeding, weeding and harvesting by hand, back‑breaking labour that causes spinal injuries and premature ageing.

In a like vein, the representative of Mozambique said his country’s ability to grow crops has remained unchanged due to traditional and rudimentary means of crop production with limited modern technology. Due to resultant shortages, it is estimated that 43 per cent of children aged 5 and under suffer from severe stunting, with huge costs for their health and education, while the rest of the population has yet to achieve ideal levels of food security and nutrition.

Reports were presented at the meeting’s outset by Madhushree Chatterjee, Chief of the Natural Resources and Interlinkages Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, on agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/73/293) and on International Year of Pulses (document A/73/287).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Egypt (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Myanmar (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Morocco (for the African Group), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Sudan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cambodia, China, United Arab Emirates, Tonga, Brazil, Philippines, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mali, Finland, Indonesia, Nepal, Burkina Faso and Saudi Arabia. Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations and the Holy See also spoke.

The Committee will meet again on Monday, 15 October, to take up sustainable development.

Presentation of Reports

MADHUSHREE CHATTERJEE, Chief of the Natural Resources and Interlinkages Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the Secretary-General’s report on agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/73/293) and on International Year of Pulses (document A/73/287). Emphasizing the centrality of food security in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she noted that world hunger is on the rise after a prolonged decline. In 2016, the world’s undernourished numbered 815 million, up from 777 million in 2015. In 2018, it is estimated that 821 million people will suffer from undernourishment. As a result of such figures, about one in five children under the age of 5 face stunting. Humanitarian assistance is critical to avert famine, but it is insufficient in addressing the causes of hunger and starvation.

Unsustainable farming and the depletion of biodiversity play a role in food insecurity trends, she continued. Any reversal in long-term progress makes the prospect of ending food insecurity by 2030 more difficult. Natural hazards affect all dimensions of food security, as does climate change, which disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable. Climate change also makes extreme weather more intense and increases in productivity harder to achieve. Water stress is also a potentially exacerbating factor in food insecurity, as it hampers economic and social development. Fisheries are affected by water stress, which also leads to land degradation.

Facing a growing lag in access to Government spending, agriculture desperately needs greater investments and financing, she said. Other factors that will bolster agriculture are an open and rules‑based trading system, South‑South and triangular cooperation and partnerships. With current trends, hunger will not be eradicated by 2030 unless urgent action takes place. All must work together to place rural development and agricultural programmes at the forefront, invest in agriculture and support institutional policy measures promoting responsible investment.

In a question and answer session that followed, the representative of Egypt asked about the challenges of using technology in developing countries to fight hunger. In response, Ms. Chatterjee offered to share the applicable report.

The representative of Algeria, noting that the northeast region of her country is referenced in the report, asked what can be done at the national level in collaboration with the United Nations to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2. Responding, Ms. Chatterjee deferred to the agencies working on the ground in Algeria.

The representative of Paraguay asked about the main findings of report on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2. In response, Ms. Chatterjee noted water plays a crucial role in reducing malnutrition and directed the representative to the Sustainable Development Goal knowledge platform.


MAHMOUD EL ASHMAWY (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that hunger has been increasing worldwide for the past three years, with the absolute number of people suffering undernourishment or chronic food deprivation having risen from 804 million in 2016 to 821 million in 2017. Crisis‑level food insecurity rose from 108 million in 2016 to 124 million in 2017, with 767 million living below the extreme poverty line. Given ending poverty and hunger in all dimensions are top priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals, raising rural incomes and increasing productivity are crucial. He said the Group stresses that agriculture is the dominant sector in the gross domestic product (GDP) of many developing countries. Agricultural trade can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if global trade operates with an open, rules‑based trading system. Given current trends, hunger will not be eradicated by 2030.

HMWAY HMWAY KHYNE (Myanmar), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning herself with the Group of 77, said the planet is under food stress, recalling that the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that world food production will need to increase by 70 per cent by 2050 to feed the global population. However, investing in agriculture is not a panacea for that challenge, she said, rather a holistic approach is needed, from addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty, to developing sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Though most the Association’s Member States are major food producers, they still face food insecurity and malnutrition threats, she said, and are forging ahead under the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 to address those challenges. Noting positive accomplishments in forestry and fishery sectors, she said ASEAN has also adopted a Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition at its 2017 summit. Turning to the threat of climate change and its effect on food insecurity, she said it had convened a special ASEAN ministerial meeting on climate action in July to galvanize regional climate action.

PERKS MASTER CLEMENCY LIGOYA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, reminded that ending hunger is a priority of the Sustainable Development Goals, noting the worrisome trend of rising hunger over the past three years risks returning the world to the state it found itself in a decade ago. Climate change is one of the biggest culprits in driving hunger. Of 51 nations facing food insecurity, 33 are least developed countries with a combined population of 82 million. Almost a quarter of the population of the least developed countries face food insecurity, with vulnerable populations in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen even facing the risk of famine. Climate change has a devastating effect on least developed countries, and according to the Paris Agreement, global warming of 2°C is projected to further reduce crop yields and nutrition. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlights that global warming of 1.5°C may substantially reduce agricultural yield. Noting the majority of farmers — many of them women — in least developed countries are small‑scale producers, he said they are most vulnerable to environmental and price shocks. Ending hunger, he said, therefore involves concerted efforts to address the specific needs and challenges of least developed countries at the national, regional and global levels.

RUDOLPH MICHAEL TEN‑POW (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the recent earthquake in Haiti is yet another reminder of the vulnerability of small island and low‑lying coastal States in the Caribbean Community. The destructive impacts of climate change — increasingly frequent and severe storms, droughts and floods — pose an ongoing threat to the region’s agricultural infrastructure and thus to its food and nutritional security. Underlining the need to build resilience to shocks, including through the development of climate sensitive agriculture, water management schemes and drought- and flood‑resistant seeds, is critical.

Noting that agriculture today accounts for a decreasing share of the region’s GDP, he cited rising unemployment and the need to put in place technical, infrastructural and incentive frameworks to spur innovation and higher productivity in that sector. CARICOM’s Common Agricultural Policy lays the basis for transforming the sector and improving food and nutrition security in the region, he said, adding that within its single market and economy the policy seeks to establish links with other sectors — especially tourism — to increase employment. Efforts to turn the Caribbean into the first region resilient to climate change are supported by various international partners. Efforts are also under way to ensure access to fresh water supplies, reduce the consumption of processed foods and train young people in agriculture‑related social media and financial investments to help them become entrepreneurs in that sector.

FARZANA ZAHIR (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said that food security and nutrition in small island developing countries are under severe threat from climate change, environmental degradation, declining ocean health and global economic crises. For small islands, the nexus between food security, climate action and sustainable oceans becomes more enhanced due to their vulnerability to external shocks and limited resources. Rapid changes in temperatures and increasing levels of flooding or drought can contribute to reduced agricultural yields in small islands, reducing their limited capacity for local food production. Rising sea levels result in salt water encroachment, threatening coastal farmland and fresh water supply. The few small islands with coastal farmland also face threats from increasingly intense and frequent natural hazards, which destroy crops and damage production and transport infrastructure.

As ocean health declines, so do opportunities for small island developing State communities to access safe, nutritious food, he said. Marine pollution, with increasing ocean acidification, further exacerbated by high temperatures and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, all threaten marine resources. Many small islands are net food importing countries and highly vulnerable to the volatility of commodity prices and global supply as well as high import costs. These imported foods also have a negative impact, contributing to increasing patterns of poor nutrition, with increasing instances of non‑communicable diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other conditions. The prevalence of obesity and non‑communicable diseases associated with poor quality diets in many small island States are among the highest in the world.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, stated current global efforts are not sufficient to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 by 2030 in many parts of the world, with special concern for sub‑Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. The African Union is taking steps to achieve the continent’s agricultural vision, aiming to end hunger by 2025. He pointed to Africa’s tremendous agricultural potential, with the world’s largest share of uncultivated fertile land, as well as abundant water resources and proximity to transportation links and regional markets. Therefore, what Africa requires is increased investment in its agricultural sector and the removal of trade restrictions. African programmes such as TerrAfrica and the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative demonstrate its determination to drive its own development.

RUBÉN ARMANDO ESCALANTE HASBÚN (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of CELAC, called on FAO to renew its cooperation programme under the framework of the Community’s Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025, reiterating the importance of measures to strengthen school nourishment programmes in that context. The Community, he underlined, also accepts the offer by FAO to use its platform on biodiversity and food to promote the integration of conservation and sustainable agriculture. Greater investment in agriculture overall is needed to enhance food security and nutrition. He reaffirmed the Community’s commitment to promote family farming with the support of Government programmes for distribution of harvests, in coordination with the various regional actions on food security.

Welcoming initiatives for improved coherence under the Zero Hunger Challenge, he reiterated the importance of efficiency, and the inclusion of family farms, in programmes to reduce food waste. Highlighting the threat that severe meteorological events pose to agriculture and food security in the region, he underscored the importance of international support to counteract it. He recognized the positive impact of interregional trade for food security, while pledging further efforts from CELAC to overcome its challenges. He also underlined the importance of South‑South and triangular cooperation, official development assistance (ODA) and sharing of best practices in adaptation to climate change. Pledging the continued commitment of all Community members to the 2025 plan, he renewed the request for financial and technical support in that context to FAO, World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and regional organizations.

IAN S. NAUMKIN (Russian Federation) said if the current trend of food insecurity continues, the international community will be unable to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Measures are needed at a global level, drawing in FAO, WFP and other relevant stakeholders. Another priority is to guarantee that food is of a high quality and people make the right nutrition choices. One country alone can be affected both by famine and obesity due to unbalanced diets. It is necessary to guarantee the growth of the agricultural sector, and to mitigate the effects of extreme climate. The Russian Federation has assisted 32 States worldwide in achieving aspects of the 2030 Agenda, including to achieve food security. It has also worked together with WFP to implement projects seeking to optimize school feeding programmes.

RODRIGO ALBERTO CARAZO ZELEDÓN (Costa Rica) stressed the importance of food safety as central to agriculture, health and sustainable consumption patterns. Every year almost 600 million people worldwide fall ill and 420,000 die due to food contaminated by bacteria, parasites and chemicals, which cause 200 illnesses including cancer. His Government accents the importance of tackling this issue with integrated actions throughout the food chain from primary producer to consumer. Costa Rica will present a resolution to mark 7 June as World Food Safety Day and work for its adoption.

MURTADA HASSAN ABUOBEIDA SHARIF (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, stated the world is not moving towards eradicating hunger. Hunger is increasing after years of decrease, demanding urgent measures to secure the food supply. He noted that the number of people affected by hunger has risen from 108 to 124 million in 51 countries, due to a variety of factors including armed conflict, slow economic growth and climate change. The international community must accelerate efforts to end malnutrition and poverty. In Sudan, the agricultural sector is one of the main engines of socioeconomic development, with millions of hectares of available arable land. The country has strategic plans to increase food security and productivity and calls for sharing of technology to further develop these measures.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) said the international community must award food security a key place in development and agricultural policies and strive to increase food production in all countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It must improve access to food and increase agricultural activity. In Algeria, the main goal of public policies in the field of agriculture is to prioritize food security, which has now become a strategic objective for the country. This policy has mobilized about 13.7 billion to fight the root causes of hunger and malnutrition.

GHULAM SEDDIQ RASULI (Afghanistan) said world hunger is on the rise after several years of decline due to the lack of development, agriculture and global warming. Urgent actions are needed to ensure sustainable food production systems, revitalize the agricultural sector, promote rural development and empower traditionally excluded groups, especially smallholder farmers and small‑scale producers within local food systems. Nutrition is also in the spotlight as a key component of these efforts. Disasters and the effects of climate change also severely affect vulnerable populations. Strengthening the resilience of rural communities and promoting the preservation and restoration of resources and ecosystems have key importance for ensuring the well‑being of vulnerable segments of the population.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, noting 815 million malnourished, said food security presents an urgent global challenge. Trends indicate food security disproportionately affects rural areas and women. The consequences of drought and flooding affect vulnerable populations, and the international community must adopt holistic concepts of food systems to assist them. His Government is working to protect its population from hunger, providing food packages to families affected by climate change. FAO cites Nicaragua for its progressive social policies, but the implementation of food solutions requires financing and technological transfers from developed countries to developing ones.

NICOLA ROSEMARIE GABY BARKER-MURPHY (Jamaica), associating herself with the Group of 77, CARICOM and CELAC, noted agriculture accounts for 7.3 per cent of her country’s GDP. As a small island developing State and Net Food‑Importing Developing Country, Jamaica cannot entirely feed its population. Extreme weather events due to climate change, small land holding, limited technology, reduced availability of agricultural land due to urbanization and lack of capital further stress its agricultural development. Noting Jamaica’s high food import bill leaves the country vulnerable to external economic shocks, she acknowledged the importance of enhancing the resilience of its food systems. Noting new food consumption patterns that lead to nutritionally poor diets and diseases such as diabetes, she pointed out that worldwide, some 600 million are classified as obese, a number expected to double by 2030.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, described it as shocking that in the context of today’s interlinked global economy and advanced technology, millions of people still spend days without eating a meal. Expressing support for the Secretary‑General’s timely, action‑oriented recommendations as a basis to reverse the global hunger trend, he outlined Bangladesh’s massive increases in food production over recent decades and attributed them to bold Government policies aimed at transforming the country’s agricultural sector, promoting rural development, empowering marginalized peoples and protecting smallholder farmers and small‑scale producers. Detailing new technological developments as well as the introduction of microsavings for rural, marginalized communities — through a project known as “One House, One Farm” — he nevertheless said climate change impacts threaten to halt the country’s success. Bangladesh now spends more than 1 per cent of its GDP in addressing climate change and is researching salinity‑resistant crop varieties, among other innovations.

ALADE AKINREMI BOLAJI (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, is concerned that the world, particularly developing countries, is not on track to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2. United Nations projections hold that global dietary consumption patterns mean a future population of 9 billion will require more food, even more compelling for Nigeria, which is forecast to be the world’s third most populous country by 2050. His Government is implementing strategies to end hunger and malnutrition, addressing the entire gamut of food‑related issues, with a central goal to leverage the capacities of Nigerian farmers to feed its population. The country is also boosting business start‑up initiatives, especially for youth and women. Climate‑related uncertainties like drought, floods and crop and animal disease contribute to food insecurity. Given that agriculture cannot thrive without expanded access to financial markets, he hopes initiatives like the Nigerian Incentives Risks Sharing for Agricultural Lending will attract investment.

VITALII BILAN (Ukraine), recalling the starvation his own country suffered 85 years ago, pledged to offer the help needed to address global food insecurity. His country is going through one of the most difficult stages in its history, he said, thanking FAO and WFP for the help they provided Ukraine. Despite its troubles, Ukraine remains one of the strongest players on the international food market, he said, noting that its grain harvest in 2018 was 60 million tons. He encouraged intensified coordination between all United Nations agencies and the international financial institutions and called for a more formal system of global governance in that area.

SOBOTH SOK (Cambodia) said her country has integrated agriculture development, food security and nutrition into their Rectangular Strategy, the National Strategic Development Plan and other relevant national policies. To further develop, Cambodia focuses on investment in rural infrastructure, better plant breeds and promoting high value agro‑industrial crops. Recalling the impact the National Action Plan for Zero Hunger Challenge has had on her country, she said Cambodia has also made important progress in strengthening the social protection system to be more interconnected.

TANG TIANXI (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eradication of hunger requires sustainable economic growth. The international community should scale up its support for developing countries, assisting them to improve their food‑producing capacities. China attaches great importance to agricultural development, enabling farmers to improve their production capacities, which has led to a steady growth in agricultural capacity. It is promoting mechanical agricultural means to modernize the sector and boost food security. The Government also attaches importance to nutrition, which has improved significantly in recent years. It plans to enhance exchanges with all international partners, assisting others to improve agricultural capacity and improve food security.

ADEL AL AMIRI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Group of 77, reviewed his country’s initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture, including the appointment of a Minister of State responsible for food security. Modern technology and efficient management of natural resources aim to maximize crop production in the United Arab Emirates, he said, adding that a project named “Save the Grace” addresses the problem of food waste while delivering food to needy families. At the international level, he said the United Arab Emirates is diversifying its food sources through agriculture‑related foreign investment. Fruitful cooperation between countries can promote integrated agricultural production, bringing together various areas related to food security while contributing to sustainable development, he stated.

VILIAMI VA'INGA TŌNĒ (Tonga), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, noted the urgent need to secure food systems, and said his country is working in its agricultural sector to reduce the risk of food insecurity and poverty and increase its GDP. In 2018, Tonga launched a new initiative to promote the sustainable use of local food and resources, taking an integrated approach to multisector challenges. Working to find new climate‑resilient agricultural systems, Tonga points to such projects as the Chinese Piggery, Royal Palace Introductory Thai Farming of Integrated Crops, fruit trees, livestock, fish ponds and tree planting. The country is burdened by food and agricultural diseases, but it is making a strong commitment to battle it through increased production of healthy vegetables and fruit trees and reduced imports, which are both costly and unhealthy.

ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his Government attaches great importance to agriculture, as more than 70 per cent of its population is directly engaged and rely upon this sector for their livelihoods. Small‑scale agriculture for subsistence is dominant, which means more food is needed to meet the demands of an increased population, which grew from 13 million in 1990 to 28 million in 2017. However, the ability to grow crops has remained unchanged due to traditional and rudimentary means of crop production with limited modern technological interventions. It is estimated that 43 per cent of children ages 5 and under suffer from severe stunting, with huge costs for their health and education, while the other portion of the population has yet to achieve ideal levels of food security and nutrition. In improving this situation, the Government has been undertaking reforms aimed at transforming the agriculture sector from subsistence to a more productive and market‑oriented system. It has begun a programme of agrarian mechanization and is ensuring the use of new technologies to respond to the demand for improved seeds resistant to environmental stresses and capable of producing crops in shorter cycles.

Mr. ALAMI (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said hunger compels the international community to increase global food production by 70 per cent by 2050 to feed a projected population of 9.6 billion. Although his continent has made striking progress over last decade, the food crisis is real and threatens millions, with conflicts and climate change the main reasons for the rise of food insecurity. Africa cannot feed itself: over 50 per cent of its farmland is unused yet it still spends over $30 billion to import food. Morocco is committed to sharing experiences and savoir‑faire to assist in addressing the issue and has also set up a trust fund as a financial lever for South‑South and triangular cooperation to help African countries sustainably increase agricultural productivity and manage resources. The Green Morocco Plan seeks to invest in and modernize agricultural production.

BÁRBARA BOECHAT DE ALMEIDA (Brazil), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the Secretary‑General’s report and the lessons learned at the high‑level political forum held under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council reveal an urgent need to act on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 2. Progress is particularly needed in rural areas, she said, spotlighting the need for adequate development financing in the framework of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Greater investment in agriculture and rural areas, through international cooperation, is crucial to promoting enhanced agricultural productivity in developing countries — especially regarding family farming. Furthermore, she said, the massive concession of agricultural subsidies in rich nations — which leads to distortions in international food markets — must be curbed once it directly jeopardizes the establishment of robust agricultural sectors in the developing world.

GEBEYEHU GANGA GAYITO (Ethiopia) said his country has been implementing a comprehensive development strategy that puts increasing agricultural production and productivity at its centre. It has continued to implement a comprehensive rural development package, expanding agricultural extension services. Ethiopia has also continued to ensure broader community participation, which puts small‑holder farmers at the centre. As a result, the agricultural sector registered a 6.7 per cent growth rate in 2017. In addition, by carrying out its National Nutrition Strategy, it has been implementing global and regional commitments to address malnutrition. To mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector, Ethiopia is promoting climate resilient green agriculture. It is mobilizing local communities and undertaking natural resource conservation and management activities like forestry development, soil and water preservation.

Mr. MUSONDA (Zambia), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stated that with an estimated 793 million people lacking access to adequate amounts of dietary energy and 156 million stunted children, the world is off‑track in ending hunger. Countries in protracted crisis and conflict risk being left permanently behind. The international community must address the underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, linking short‑term emergency efforts to long‑term solutions. Small‑scale farmers in Zambia still use outdated equipment like the handheld hoe, which must be consigned to a museum. Noting the introduction of tractors and tillers is improving production of women farmers and their families, he stressed that many are still seeding, weeding and harvesting by hand, back‑breaking labour that causes spinal injuries and premature ageing. Women make up 70 per cent of small farmers, and the world needs to offer assistance to end their suffering. In 2017, 48 per cent of children under age 5 in Zambia were stunted and 13.3 per cent underweight. The Government is working to prevent micronutrient deficiency, because unless the world combats hunger, it will not have resilient societies.

LEILA CASTILLON LORA‑SANTOS (Philippines), associating herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, said that evidence continues to signal a rise in world hunger, with climate change, instability and conflict driving the problem. Her Government is implementing policies that invest in fisheries and small farmers to improve their productivity, with a programme providing small loans from $200 to $1,000 to buy seeds and finance activities. The Philippines urges the global community with the assistance of the United Nations to help advocate and measure efforts and empower stakeholders to fight food insecurity, especially during times of conflict or crisis.

TONY OUTHAITHIP (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the agricultural sector — which employs 70 per cent of his country’s labour force — contributes to overall economic growth and to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. He said his Government is implementing national nutrition strategies to tackle poverty and hunger and is cooperating with ASEAN on an integrated food security framework. The agricultural sector in the country faces challenges, he stressed, noting that unexploded ordinance makes much of its farmland unsafe. He said his Government is committed to eradicating poverty and hunger and stressed the importance of the support and assistance provided by development partners.

SAVITRI INDRACHAPA PANABOKKE (Sri Lanka) said one of key factors in combating global hunger and malnutrition is agriculture. It is essential that the international community enhances efforts to adopt effective agricultural policies, including promotion of sustainable agriculture, rural development and investment in the sector. Climate change has become among the greatest threats faced by Sri Lankan farmers, especially those engaged in producing rice, a staple food. Increasing temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns resulted in severe flooding in 2017, and in 2016 the country faced the worst drought in over 40 years. The resulting destruction of domestic crops had serious implications for food production. The country has introduced “climate smart” agriculture methods to minimize climate‑related impacts on agriculture, like resilient crops, rainwater harvesting, crop diversification and technology.

ARTHUR AMAYA ANDAMBI (Kenya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the agricultural sector accounts for 24 per cent of his country’s GDP and that 80 per cent of its population derives its livelihood from agriculture‑related activities. Kenya prioritizes agriculture as a “fundamental tool in national development”, he stressed, adding that Government policy focuses on manufacturing, universal health coverage, affordable housing and food security and nutrition. Climate change is “ravaging” the agricultural sector and droughts continue to hamper the quest towards food security. The Government has implemented subsidies on farm inputs and enhanced efforts to provide free education and affordable health care. He stressed the relevance of technology and innovation for farming and said that eradicating hunger requires significant increases in agricultural investment.

KANISSON COULIBALY (Mali), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the agricultural sector is the backbone of his country’s economy, contributing over 30 per cent of GDP. Nevertheless, Mali faces significant challenges including ensuring food security for a growing population, sustainable management of resources, the effects of climate change and making full use of local products in national, subregional and global markets. Mali is also working to advance technological progress in agricultural production, building and providing tractors to farmers and providing subsidies amounting to 13.6 billion West African CFA franc, he said, noting that 15 per cent of the State budget is allocated to the agricultural sector. Grain production has risen from 6 million tons to 8 million tons annually since 2013, marking an 8 per cent increase. In the broadest terms, his Government is aiming for a zero‑hunger goal.

EMILIA VAN VEEN (Finland) said protection of plant health is one of the key aspects in ensuring food security, especially in developing and least developed countries. The international spread of pests and diseases present ever more risks to agriculture and the environment. Crop losses due to these pests can be substantial. FAO estimates that invasive pests are damaging as much as 40 per cent of all food crops globally each year. These pests cause losses in trade of agricultural products of about $220 billion per year. When pests are introduced into new ecosystems, they can have devastating effects on the environment. Invasive pests are among the main factors in biodiversity loss worldwide. A pest epidemic of enormous proportions is underway in Africa due to an introduced fruit fly and the fall armyworm, while olive tree disease is affecting some parts of Europe.

RIO BUDI RAHMANTO (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that rural development and sustainable food production are key to ensuring food security. His country is investing heavily in farmers and rural development, while also focusing on land reform and social forestry. The culinary sector in Indonesia is a leading provider of employment in rural and urban areas. Food and nutrition is closely related to education, he stressed, adding that household access to clean water and sanitation also influenced nutrition. Climate change poses a serious risk to food security, he said, calling for coordinated efforts to bring about a world without hunger.

SUVANGA PARAJULI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed that the relationship between hunger and poverty is cyclical. Calling for an integrated approach of raising incomes and productivity, he also emphasized the need to secure smallholders’ tenure rights over productive resources, especially for women and youth. Protection of local and indigenous food systems is equally important for food security and for preserving genetic diversity. His country’s Constitution guarantees the right to food, and is prioritizing increasing agriculture productivity, including through modernization of farming, he noted.

YEMDAOGO ERIC TIARE (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said his nation is a landlocked country with a young population. The country’s economy is largely reliant on agriculture, animal husbandry and mining. The agricultural sector is faced with many difficulties, including desertification, climate change, diseases and pests. It has drawn up a national policy for nutrition and food security, which forms part of the country’s larger strategic plan. However, as there is a severe budget issue, which is a bottleneck in how any strategies are carried out, Burkina Faso relies on the support of the international community for implementation.

MOHAMMAD ABDURRAHMAN S. ALKADI (Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the increase of population and decrease of arable land make the issue of food security among the biggest problems of the twenty‑first century. The concept of national security demands that a nation provide food that is plentiful, safe and within the means of the population to buy it. Failing to provide enough food is one of the biggest challenges facing a nation, driving malnutrition, hunger and poverty. Noting that Saudi Arabia aids the international community to find sustainable solutions, he pointed to funding of $700 million for projects providing food security, water and sanitation and 190 programmes benefiting countries including Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Domestically, companies are required to label their products with caloric content info. Saudi Arabia is developing practical models at the national level, with 11 executive programmes in the agricultural and other sectors.

TOMASZ GRYSA, observer for the Holy See, expressed concern that — at the pace of current trends — hunger will not be eradicated by 2030. Calling for urgent action to accelerate that pace, he noted that hunger and food insecurity are often exacerbated by conflict. Despite the large humanitarian response to recent crises, he stressed: “While humanitarian assistance is critical to avert famine, it is not sufficient by itself to address the root causes of hunger and starvation.” Instead, more investment in agriculture and increased opportunities for trade are needed. For those developing countries unable to attract private investment, Governments must step in to increase productive capacity. The challenges of hunger and malnutrition flow in large part from inequitable distribution, and unfair trade and exploitative market conditions only discourage farmers from producing more or bringing their produce to market, he said, calling for a stronger emphasis on the “inviolable dignity of the human person”.

CARLA MUCAVI, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization to the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office, also speaking on behalf of IFAD and WFP, said the absolute number of people affected by hunger stands at 821 million, reversing 10 years of progress. Conflict, climate change and poverty are among the key drivers. Adding that worldwide, 1 in 9 persons is hungry and 1 in 8 adults obese, she said that latter issue is growing alarmingly in developed countries. Unhealthy diets are responsible for 6 of 10 factors for non‑communicable diseases, impacting not only health but public budgets and national economies. “Another symptom of broken food systems is the predominance of hunger and extreme poverty in rural areas, where food is grown” she said, noting family farmers, responsible for 80 per cent of food production, are often the most impacted. Stating the world must act now if it is to meet the 2030 Agenda, she pointed to tackling food insecurity and inequality through social protection and gender‑sensitive growth programmes, building a new rural‑urban alliance, mobilizing domestic and international investment and compiling reliable, comprehensive and disaggregated data to implement and monitor policies.

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