Thank you Mr. Chairperson.
Our discussion today comes at a crucial moment. One billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and by 2030 global food supplies must increase by an estimated fifty percent to meet expected demand from a growing world population. The American people feel strongly about the importance of combating hunger, and President Obama and Secretary Clinton have stressed the importance of achieving major improvements in food security. Securing access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food is essential to, if not the most important element of, sustainable development.
There is important work underway to alleviate chronic hunger. The President announced at the L’Aquila G8 Summit in July that the United States would commit at least $3.5 billion over the next three years to promote agricultural-led economic growth in the developing world, which we believe will be a powerful tool for reducing hunger and poverty. We are also committed to working with partners across government, multilateral, NGO, and private sectors to advance and execute country-led plans that will seek to meet the hunger-related Millennium Development Goal.
We place great importance on taking a comprehensive approach to improving global food security. Our efforts will follow country-led plans and include agricultural development, research into the root causes of hunger, trade, social safety nets, emergency food assistance, and nutrition in country-led programs that build on existing platforms consistent with the Accra Agenda for Action. Crucial to this effort is the need to leverage existing programs and processes to build upon the momentum generated by the L’Aquila G8 Summit, the Pittsburg G20 Summit, and last month’s “Partnering for Global Food Security” event, co-hosted by Secretary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
International organizations play a critical role in the global effort to address food security and are supportive of the work of the UN High Level Task Force and of the ongoing reform of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Committee on Food Security. Another needed part of this global effort is the continued work on building a Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) provides a framework for coordinating international support for agriculture and food security in Africa, and we encourage development of similar efforts in other regions.
As we move forward to turn words and commitments into actions and results, we highlight several key priorities:
First, we must intensify our support for country-led and regional strategies as the core vehicles for driving investments in promoting agricultural development in developing countries.
Second, we need to ensure mutual accountability through public benchmarks, indicators, and a peer-review framework; and to develop a flexible financing architecture that includes well-coordinated bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, with expanded support of North-South, South-South, and Trilateral cooperation. To facilitate regional economic integration, we will work with regional economic communities, associations, organizations and agencies to strengthen their mechanisms for financial and technical cooperation with donors and other stakeholders.
Third, all participants at L’Aquila must adhere to the commitment of providing $20 billion in support over three years through coordinated, comprehensive strategies focused on sustainable agriculture development, while at the same time maintaining emergency food assistance.
Fourth, all stakeholders need to ensure that agriculture development does not occur at the expense of the natural resource base upon which agriculture depends. We need to learn from the development mistakes of the past, and implement better systems for soil and water management and waste minimization, as was discussed in depth recently during the 16th and 17th Sessions of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Finally, let me also briefly touch on reform of the Food and Agriculture Organization. A reformed FAO could be a powerful tool for fighting hunger, and it is critical that the reform agenda at the FAO move forward. Implementation of the Immediate Plan of Action, approved by the FAO membership at the September 2008 Special Session of the FAO Conference, has already begun. We encourage the continuation of this reform process in a timely, transparent, and financially responsible manner, with full inclusion of the cost of these reforms in the FAO core budget.
Mr. Chairperson, the United States has put food security at the forefront of its international agenda. We are committed to working with the UN system and member states to eradicate hunger.
Thank you very much.
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