Combined Effects of War in Ukraine, Pandemic Driving Millions More into Extreme Poverty, Senior United Nations Official Tells Second Committee
Speakers Call for Urgent Action to Save Developing Countries from Food Insecurity
Despite progress made before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people worldwide have slid back into extreme poverty, and some 130 million more will do so over the next decade unless the international community takes urgent action, speakers stressed today as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up the issue.
Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (document A/77/176). The combined effects of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine are expected to lead to a net increase of 75 to 95 million people in extreme poverty by the end of 2022, compared to pre-pandemic projections. Climate change, if uncurbed, will drive up to 130 million people into poverty over the next 10 years, she added.
She highlighted that long-term Government policies and emergency measures to mitigate the impacts of shocks matter in keeping people out of poverty. Further, the report contains some policy recommendations, including implementing inclusive policies as well as investing in sustainable green economies and ocean economies, building stronger health systems, increasing investment in human capital and decent job creation, combating climate change, and increasing investment in building gender- and disability-sensitive infrastructure.
Gerd Müller, Executive Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introducing the Secretary-General’s report on “Industrial development cooperation” (document A/77/138), called for transformational change to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and stop the climate crisis. The good news is solutions that are affordable, practical and realistic already exist. Further innovation, digitalization and modern technologies are the solution to many of the greatest challenges. “This is why my motto is ‘progress by innovation,’” he said.
He noted that some 800 million people are currently hungry and need urgent support. Young people need decent jobs and increased incomes locally. Meanwhile, almost 800 million people have no energy access — three quarters of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Without energy, he stressed, there is no development. The international community must support the transfer of clean energy technologies, facilitate partnerships for investments and invest in transformative solutions. It is further crucial to change modes of production and consumption. “We have only one planet,” he stressed: “Its resources are finite. Waste is growing.”
In the ensuing debate, many of the 60 speakers called for urgent action to save developing countries from disastrous poverty and food insecurity.
The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that around 1 billion people — 15 per cent of the global population — live in poverty, which imposes massive suffering, the most pervasive violation of human rights, and the root cause of social instability and political insecurity. It is only right that poverty eradication is the first of the Sustainable Development Goals. The world’s 26 richest people own as much wealth as half the world’s population — but like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural: it is human-made and can be overcome by human action.
Malawi’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, expressed regret that the war in Ukraine has further aggravated hunger and malnutrition in net food-importing States, due to grain and fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs. Poverty is multidimensional, so it is necessary to strengthen productive capacity and access to markets to eradicate it and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Those States need development finance to support their poverty eradication efforts, but the level of official development assistance (ODA) is below the United Nations target of 0.15 to 0.2 per cent.
The representative of Viet Nam, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed that agriculture is a key sector in his region, providing employment for 30 per cent of the population. This sector, he added, significantly contributes to the regional efforts towards poverty alleviation, sustainable development and reducing hunger. He stressed the region’s vulnerability towards the impact of climate change, which is closely linked with poverty alleviation and food security.
Nigeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that limiting food insecurity and hunger on his continent requires developing small-scale agriculture. He called for addressing Africa’s need for more seeds and fertilizers. In the short term, there is a need to mitigate disruptions in supply chains caused by crises and conflicts; in the long term, it is critical to improve data collection and the sharing of new technologies, with investment in improved seeds resistant to climate change, as well as improving agricultural practices on the continent.
Turning to women, the representative of Botswana, speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, noted that despite progress made on promoting gender equality, a substantial gender gap persists in many States such as hers, particularly regarding employment, food security and Internet usage. While the pandemic demonstrated the importance of digital technologies and accelerated their adoption, she expressed that in 2021, the Internet usage rate in her group of countries was only 34.7 per cent, far below the world average of 63 per cent.
Reports were also presented by the Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); Policy Adviser in the Policy, Programme and Intergovernmental Division, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women); Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development; and Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Also speaking were the representatives of Austria (also for Ethiopia), Venezuela (on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter), Sierra Leone, Belarus, Qatar, Thailand, Guatemala, Mexico, Bangladesh, Cuba, Mongolia, Jordan, Eritrea, Namibia, El Salvador, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Peru, China, Ecuador, Kenya, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Ukraine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Russian Federation, Morocco, Jamaica, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ghana, Brazil, Mauritania, Mozambique, Honduras, Senegal, Zambia, Timor-Leste, Guyana, Italy, Angola, Iran, United Republic of Tanzania, Mali, Bahrain, Myanmar, Burundi and Nigeria.
The permanent observer for the Holy See also spoke, as did representatives of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 13 October.
Introduction of Reports
ZORITSA UROSEVIC, Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), introduced the note by the Secretary-General on “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” (document A/77/219). She noted that as a sector that has interlinkages with virtually all other economic sectors, tourism has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism offers significant opportunities as a tool for development and is a priority economic sector in many countries, she said, highlighting the importance of tourism as a major engine of growth, with many direct and multiplier effects for job creation and poverty reduction.
She further noted its role as a major source of income, foreign currency earnings, tax revenues and employment. For some small island States and developing countries, it accounts for over 20 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), and over 30 per cent of total exports in the majority of small island developing States, reaching 80 per cent in some of them. The sector supports millions of direct and indirect jobs all over the world, particularly for women and young people. It is essential for the sector to become more sustainable and resilient, rethinking tourism, its impacts on people and planet and implementing needed transformative changes.
It is highlighted that a healthy environment is critical for the competitiveness of the tourism sector as the conservation efforts of many destinations depend largely on tourism revenues. She cited two main areas for further policy guidance by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial). First, the report highlights the relevance of a high-level thematic event on tourism, as the one convened by the President of the seventy-sixth General Assembly in cooperation with UNWTO in May 2022, as a regular feature of a statutory consultation on tourism in the United Nations system. Second, to emphasize a resilience-oriented understanding of sustainability and strengthen the overall recovery and transformation of the tourism sector, UNWTO proposes adjusting the content and replacing the title of the current resolution to read “Promotion of sustainable and resilient tourism for development”.
DANIELA BAS, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (document A/77/176). She shared that the report shows the combined effects of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine are expected to lead to a net increase of 75 to 95 million people in extreme poverty by the end of 2022, compared to pre-pandemic projections. Climate change, if uncurbed, will drive up to 130 million people into poverty over the next 10 years, she added.
Noting that external shocks like the pandemic make people who are unable to manage uninsured risks very vulnerable to poverty, she also highlighted that long-term Government policies and emergency measures to mitigate the impacts of shocks matter in keeping people out of poverty. She went on to share that the report contains some policy recommendations, including implementing inclusive policies as well as investing in sustainable green economies and ocean economies; building stronger health systems; increasing investment in human capital and decent job creation; combating climate change; and increasing investment in building gender- and disability-sensitive infrastructure.
GERD MÜLLER, Executive Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introducing the Secretary-General’s report on “Industrial development cooperation” (document A/77/138), called for transformational change to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and stop the climate crisis. The good news is solutions that are affordable, practical and realistic already exist. Industrialization has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Further innovation, digitalization and modern technologies are the solution to many of the greatest challenges. “This is why my motto is ‘progress by innovation,’” he said.
He noted that some 800 million people are currently hungry and need urgent support. Young women and men need decent jobs and increased incomes locally. Meanwhile, the climate and energy challenge is another priority, with almost 800 million people without energy access — three quarters of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Without energy, he stressed, there is no development. The international community must support the transfer of clean energy technologies, facilitate partnerships for investments and invest in transformative solutions. The development of green hydrogen and new technological solutions offers great opportunities for everyone. It is further crucial to change modes of production and consumption. “We have only one planet,” he stressed: “Its resources are finite. Waste is growing.”
The promising solution is to move from the linear model of produce–use–waste to a circular economy, which has benefits for businesses everywhere. It can also cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2050. The report shows that an industrial development that is sustainable and inclusive can be a powerful response to many global challenges, he said, calling for more international cooperation and solidarity — to share knowledge and technologies, and to accelerate support. UNIDO can be a central platform to mobilize partnerships and investments, fostering international exchange of ideas, innovations, know-how and transformative technologies.
SYLVIA HORDOSCH, Policy Adviser in the Policy, Programme and Intergovernmental Division, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), introducing the report of the Secretary-General on women in development (document A/77/243), pointed out that in terms of Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world is not on track to achieve gender equality with more than half of the data needed to monitor progress still unavailable. Across 190 countries, women have only three quarters of the legal rights of men, she added, meaning that 2.4 billion working-age women lack equal economic opportunities. She emphasized while the pandemic has deepened gender inequalities in the world, the bulk of policies implemented by Governments are “not designed with a gender lens and most measures are gender-blind”.
Turning to the report’s recommendations, she called for women’s equal participation in labour markets, decision-making and leadership in the public and private sectors. It also calls for eliminating the gender pay gap and gender-based discrimination at work, she added. Equally critical is ensuring access by women to decent work and entrepreneurship, she stressed, including by formalizing jobs and enterprises in the informal economy and expanding gender-responsive social protection floors and systems. She further noted that the report places importance on implementing laws, policies and programmes to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and harassment in public and private spaces, including the workplace.
MARION BARTHELEMY, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on “Human resources development” (document A/77/234), noted political commitments, scientific progress and advocacy by many stakeholders have provided the foundations for decades of advancements in health, education and employment. People live longer and children and adults have better access to education, with significant reductions in gender gaps. The increase of digital technologies as a component of everyday life has provided many new opportunities for people worldwide. However, all these positive developments have generally benefited the most advantaged communities more than others, both within and across countries.
The pandemic, armed conflicts and climate change have each had deep impacts on people’s well-being, their ambitions and their aspirations, she stressed. Those shocks have affected people’s health, the way people learn, the way people work and, ultimately, how people live together as a global community. The impact of current challenges on food security will be felt in the foreseeable future — and already, those shocks have had the greatest impact on vulnerable groups.
She identified three main areas for new policy guidance. First, long-term developments, such as increased migration and new patterns of migration, shifting demography, urbanization and technological advancements, are likewise affecting the lives of people globally. Technological advancements and digitalization can be used as opportunities to reach learners and workers alike and to create access and new opportunities for them. Second, long-term resilience for human resources development requires the anchoring of efforts in all parts of societies. She noted that policies must be expanded to include holistic and inclusive efforts in decision-making, implementation and enabling agency. One such strategy is reflected in the One Health approach, by combining measures on climate change, environment, mental well-being and physical health. She stressed that cross-border challenges require cross-border solutions.
MAXIMO TORERO, Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), presenting the report of the Secretary-General on eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (document A/77/209), highlighted that more than 80 per cent of the extreme poor and 84 per cent of those in acute multidimensional poverty live in rural areas. The majority of the rural poor depend on agrifood systems and natural resources for their livelihoods, he added, making them more exposed to the overexploitation of natural resources and climate change. In this regard, he shared that the report includes recommendations such as ensuring access to productive assets, decent work opportunities and social protection, quality education and health, improved rural infrastructure, and digital and financial services.
Also introducing the report of the Secretary-General on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/77/241), he pointed out that in 2021, the number people facing hunger had increased by 46 million compared to 2020. Prevalence of undernourishment also increased by almost 2 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic, he added, and 3.1 billion people cannot afford to eat healthy diets. He underscored that to reverse this trend, the international community must ensure that measures are in place to correct trade distortions or disruptions, while increasing resilience by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural base, biodiversity and ecosystems. He further stressed the importance of improving the availability and access to reliable data for informed and evidence-based decisions, including for promoting investments, thereby maximizing the contribution of agriculture to inclusive economic growth.
MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that around 1 billion people or 15 per cent of the global population live in poverty. Poverty imposes massive suffering, the most pervasive violation of human rights, and the root cause of social instability and political security problems. It is therefore only right that poverty eradication is the first of the Sustainable Development Goals. The pandemic further erased more than 4 years’ progress against the scourge. He noted that, like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural — it is human-made and can be overcome by human action.
He further noted that the world’s 26 richest people own as much wealth as half the world’s population — and while the richest countries mobilized over $17 trillion for pandemic recovery, the developing States struggle to find a fraction they need. He called for the international community to promote a series of concerted actions to address the building food crisis, assisting food producers in developing countries with seeds, fertilizers and finance, and assist in promoting unemployment to replace the millions of jobs lost, and decent work for all. He further stressed the need to address systemic causes, including conflict and reform of financial structures, and for an end to the exploitation of resources of poorer States.
LORATO MOTSUMI (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stated that despite progress made on promoting gender equality, a substantial gender gap persists in many States such as hers, particularly regarding employment, food security and Internet usage. While the pandemic demonstrated the importance of digital technologies and accelerated their adoption, she expressed that in 2021, the Internet usage rate in her group of countries was only 34.7 per cent, far below the world average of 63 per cent.
With the view that such elements are indispensable for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, she called on the international community and development partners to support the group in expanding social protection programmes and strengthening social safety nets to help prevent vulnerable groups from falling deeper into poverty. She further called on the international community to enhance its financial as well as humanitarian and technical support towards food security and livelihoods, while also preserving and strengthening global value and supply chains, in particular for essential goods and services such as food.
AGNES MARY CHIMBIRI MOLANDE (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating herself with the Group of 77, expressed regret that the war in Ukraine has further aggravated the situation of hunger and malnutrition in net food-importing States, owing to the grain and fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs. Since poverty is multidimensional, it is above all necessary to strengthen productive capacity and access to markets in order to eradicate it and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. International support and partnerships, including South-South cooperation, are essential to promote technology transfer, foreign direct investment (FDI), infrastructure development and technical assistance.
Those States also need development finance to support their poverty eradication efforts. However, the level of official development assistance (ODA) is below the United Nations target of 0.15 to 0.2 per cent. In addition, there are worrying reductions in ODA spending and diversion in response to conflict, even as the countries currently spend 14 per cent of their income on paying interest on their debt. She noted least developed countries spend on average 1.14 per cent of GDP on social protection, and social coverage affects only 14 per cent of their populations. However, universal social protection systems are at the heart of boosting human capital, productivity, reducing inequality and building resilience and ending the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that agriculture is a key sector in his region, providing employment for 30 per cent of the population. This sector, he added, significantly contributes to the regional efforts towards poverty alleviation, sustainable development and reducing hunger. Referring to the recently published ASEAN Food and Nutrition Security Report 2021, he shared that progress is slow in the region to meet the 2025 global nutrition target as well as the 2030 Agenda.
He went on to state that the region’s vulnerability towards the impact of climate change, which is closely linked with poverty alleviation and food security, is a major concern to ASEAN. In this regard he reaffirmed its commitment towards the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on climate change, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
GEORGE EHIDIAMEN EDOKPA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that limiting food insecurity and hunger in Africa requires developing small-scale agriculture. He called for a progressive approach, including addressing the continent’s need for more seeds and fertilizers. In the short term, there is a need to mitigate disruptions in supply chains caused by crises and conflicts; in the long term, it is critical to improve data collection and the sharing of new technologies.
At all levels, national policies must be harmonized with regional circumstances. He called for investment in new technologies and in particular in improved seeds resistant to climate change, as well as improving agricultural practices on the continent. States must be more resilient in the face of shocks and teach people to manage risks, boosting productivity and developing innovative solutions in the wake of existing regional frameworks, to develop trade in Africa, through the African Continental Free Trade Area.
JOCHEN HANS-JOACHIM ALMOSLECHNER (Austria), speaking on behalf of Ethiopia and his country as co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, stressed that the international community must focus to women, youth and entrepreneurs in the informal sector amid the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, rising geopolitical tensions and conflicts as well as the triple planetary crisis. He added that strengthening food security through agribusiness development, ensuring access to sustainable energy and strengthening fair supply chains and capacity to manufacture essential health products locally will be even more important in the future.
As the “custodian agency” of Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals, he called for UNIDO to continue to take the lead in promoting industrial development cooperation in these areas. He expressed support for all efforts to harness the full potential of inclusive and sustainable industrial development “to provide the urgently needed ‘booster shot’ for the 2030 Agenda”.
JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, expressed regret that the pandemic has deepened poverty and set back much of the progress made in development, especially in the Global South. He voiced deep concern over the potential impact of geopolitical tensions around the world, especially on the eradication of poverty and hunger. There is a second pandemic — unilateralism, which is characterized by the permanent application of unilateral coercive measures, in flagrant violation of the goals and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law.
He stressed that, given their wide scope and systemic nature, these measures will clearly and deliberately continue to negatively affect the multiple crises facing humanity and will have negative repercussions on the global economy as a whole. He stressed the illegal application of such measures, which target the civilian population, as crimes against humanity, calling for urgent assessment of the negative impact of those sanctions.
KAREN JEAN BAIMARRO (Sierra Leone), aligning herself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed the need for renewed collective actions dedicated to increasing agricultural production and productivity. She further stated that as of 2021, 2.2 million people had suffered from chronic hunger in her country with a population of 8.2 million. To transform its agricultural sector, she shared that its Minister for Agriculture and Forestry has implemented policy shifts to promote private sector investment, reduce inefficiencies and protect smallholder farmers involved in agriculture.
VADIM PISAREVICH (Belarus) noted the world has adequate resources to feed its population, asking why the international community is lagging behind in ending hunger. The mismatch between resources and reality is the result of an uneven globalization that increases inequalities between countries, numerous crises and conflicts, harmful processes of climate change that undermine global food security, and finally, unilateral coercive measures. These restrictions imposed on Belarus and the Russian Federation, without the approval of the United Nations, have reduced the supply of fertilizers and cereals and caused a chain reaction, including the appearance of hunger in developing countries. Belarus therefore called on those responsible countries to stop these harmful policies.
ABDULRAHMAN ABDULAZIZ F. A. AL-THANI (Qatar), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that the international community needs to support least developed countries in implementing the Doha Programme of Action in order to change the lives of millions of people in those countries. He shared that through the strategic partnership between his country’s Fund for Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it pledged $200 million for agricultural projects to fight climate change and to support small land farmers in dry regions in Africa.
PANUPUNG PECHPLOY (Thailand), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, pointed out that as the international community moves to ensure seamless cross-border flows of food, fertilizers and essential goods, it is critical that all countries keep their supply chains open and refrain from imposing export restrictions inconsistent with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rules. In addressing the triple planetary crises, he stressed the importance of ensuring that smallholder farmers have access to affordable technologies and innovations that enable them to produce more with less as well as reduce food waste and loss throughout the supply chains. He further shared that his Government has introduced a national multidimensional poverty index that looks beyond income and to ensure support for vulnerable groups.
SHARON BERNADETH JUÁREZ ARGUETA (Guatemala), associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country has a long tradition of agricultural potential, but its smallholder farmers work in a complex environment. Climate change destroys crops and drives migration, and the world is on the verge of a global food crisis — but hunger has a human face, she stressed, as the main victims of malnutrition are children under the age of 5, women and those in rural areas. Guatemala is working to advance the crusade for nutrition with specific targets, and helping family farmers to conserve their soil, and improve irrigation and production with technical assistance. The country also boasts a school meals programme.
CYNTHIA MICHELLE BARNEY ALVARADO (Mexico) stressed the importance of maintaining the global flow of food, especially at a time marked by growing economic and geopolitical tensions. Noting that the rural areas in her country have the potential to generate more income, she highlighted that the same region has suffered the most from social gaps and extreme poverty. In this regard she shared that her Government adopted legislation on sustainable rural development to promote public policies, actions and programmes in rural areas.
MD FARUK HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that according to the World Bank, the agricultural price index is 34 per cent higher in 2022 than in 2021. Hunger is a global problem — and the solution must therefore be global, with the United Nations working at the forefront. Global food insecurity must be fought at all levels by mobilizing major donors, with priority given to food security in countries in special situations such as least developed, small island developing and landlocked developing States.
YUSNIER ROMERO PUENTES (Cuba), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, stressed that the international community cannot eradicate poverty if it continues to devote millions of dollars to military spending and maintains protectionist and unilateral practices in economic relations. Reiterating that his country rejects the use of the global financial system to pursue a unilateral political agenda, he expressed that his country has been a victim for more than six decades of a criminal economic blockade imposed by the United States.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said as member of the latter, his State is implementing targeted programmes to address unemployment and poverty at the national level. During the pandemic, mitigation measures were implemented, including a five-fold increase in family allowances and an increase in food aid. However, the country’s fiscal capacities are severely limited. Mongolia imports half its food, especially edible oil. Measures have been taken to cap prices for basic products such as meat, flour and petroleum and financial measures have been devised for nomadic herders.
KATHERINE ANAS AHMAD AL-HALIQUE (Jordan) stated that to support vulnerable communities, her Government has increased the minimum wage and added new segments of uninsured people to its national health insurance. The country also continues to harness the use of technology towards poverty alleviation by establishing the National Unified Registry to improve targeting systems for beneficiaries, she added. She further noted that its National Plan for Sustainable Agriculture for 2022-2025 includes 73 projects dedicated to improving the living conditions of farmers, increasing the productivity of the sector and improving the efficiency in the use of irrigation water.
NADJA MICAEL (Eritrea), associating herself with the Group of 77, African Group, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, underlined the major inconsistency of today’s world which is that this is a world of the rich surrounded by the poorest. Eritrea is working on dams and irrigation infrastructure, as well as access roads. Restoration and reclamation work includes investment in the eastern and western lowland, alongside a flagship project addressing the issue of nutrition, aimed at the household level. She further cited efforts to establish land tenure security, market infrastructure, and credit services, and develop biofertilizers and biopesticides.
AUDREY FAY GANTANA (Namibia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that to mitigate some of the developmental challenges the international community faces, it must recognize that more momentum needs be generated during the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. She added that agriculture is the sector from which 70 per cent of Namibia’s population derive their livelihood, and that her country is extremely vulnerable to and negatively affected by climate change. In this regard she pointed out that rules set at the multilateral level have the potential to create opportunities for its communities and serve as an “enabler” against its long-lasting poverty.
CARLOS EFRAÍN SEGURA ARAGÓN (El Salvador), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that his country finds itself in a state of urgency due to the recent passage of tropical storm Julia. On food security, he shared that his Government has implemented a policy called “Growing Together”, which, among other benefits, guarantees the rights of all children to breastfeeding. He stated that his country has also implemented economic contingency measures, including the suspension of import tariffs for commodities as well as subsidies for propane gas. The Government is also seeking to strengthen its early warning system for food and nutrition security, he added.
BOKOUM MAHAMADOU (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, noted his country’s economy is based on agriculture, animal husbandry and mining, with agriculture contributing 40 per cent to GDP. However, half of the territory is experiencing soil degradation, desertification and sand and dust storms, as well as attacks by armed terrorist groups. These issues have amplified food insecurity and displaced 1.5 million who have had to abandon croplands and pastures. The country has therefore placed agricultural development at the heart of its national development plan.
SAMUEL ISA CHALA (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Friends of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, said that amid the ongoing challenges, his country has made significant strides in reducing poverty by increasing productivity as well as by strengthening its health and education sectors. Through its development plan for 2020 to 2030, he added, the Government has lowered the country’s poverty rate from 20.5 per cent in 2016 to 19 per cent in 2020. He also shared that its GDP per capita expanded by 6.3 per cent on average between 2015 and 2021.
DIEGO BELEVAN (Peru) noted per capita income is often an illusion, a fallacy, and it is crucial to find alternative measures for development and its different facets. If the focus remains on everyone whose income is less than $1.90 per day, we overlook structural poverty, including those living on $5.50 per day. Money is only one tool, as Goal 1 will be out of reach without training to eliminate structural poverty. As millions of small farmers remain the main providers of food, it is imperative to increase legal tenure of lands, provide infrastructure, offer technical innovation and increase productive capacities and training for small- and medium-sized farmers — who must be taken out of poverty to increase food security.
LI GUANNAN (China), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed the need to increase investment in agriculture and in rural areas, especially in developing countries with a view to improving their food self-sufficiency. He also touched on the need to establish a fair agricultural trade order and opposed the politicization of the issue of food security. He also urged developed countries to meet their climate financing commitments to help developing States effectively address climate change and realize green sustainable development.
IRINA ALEXANDRA BARBA BUSTOS (Ecuador), associating herself with the Group of 77, called for adopting different instruments for measuring development that go beyond per capita income with disaggregated data, such as the multidimensional vulnerability index. The country is working with FAO to improve production and nutrition and to transform agrifood systems. Fighting chronic childhood malnutrition must be a priority. She further cited the importance of small-scale family farming as a means to improve food security and well-being.
EMMANUEL KINGI KENGA (Kenya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stated that the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa could see up to 20 million people go hungry in 2022, with millions of livestock already dead in parts of the subregion. Stressing that real-time data and information remains critical for planning, early warning and response systems, he underscored that relevant United Nations entities need to provide timely, accurate, reliable and fact-based information for decision-making. He further stressed the need for a global emergency mechanism to facilitate debt relief, concessional finance and grants, as well as de-risking and lending instruments for increased investment in relevant sectors.
TAHMINA HASANOVA (Tajikistan), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, and stating that her country faces environmental challenges including land degradation, further noted that it is also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which has undermined the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. She shared that the Government institutions at the central and decentralized levels have strengthened their capacities to target, design and implement effective food security and nutrition strategies by 2024. Pointing out that science is one of the key areas that can spur changes in the global food systems, she stressed that improving all elements of food systems, with an emphasis on innovation and digitalization, should be a priority for all Member States.
OSAMA ALZUMAN (Saudi Arabia) stated that the world is witnessing a decrease in food and fertilizers as well as a rise in food prices, which in turn lead to instability in vulnerable communities. In this regard he said that Saudi Arabia has helped developing countries grow despite economic and social difficulties. He also shared that his Government has implemented a programme to reduce food loss and raise awareness of the rational use of natural resources.
ANAIS ALOSTAD (Kuwait) said that her country attaches great importance to women’s rights in development. The Government recognizes that equality between men and women is essential to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, prioritizing their economic empowerment and giving them a key role in decision-making processes. She noted that women in Kuwait have always been recognized as pioneers and many of them occupy positions of responsibility. Kuwait supports United Nations efforts on the status of women and has updated its legislation to end all discrimination.
VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine) stated that since 1 August, when the Grain Corridor under the Black Sea Grain Initiative had become operational, more than 300 vessels left its Black Sea ports with over 7 million tons of agricultural products being exported to the international market. However, he shared that grain traders are concerned that grain prices will once again soar if the deal is not extended, which may in turn lead to increased food insecurity especially among poorer countries already facing high inflation and hunger. In response to the food security challenges faced by African countries, he highlighted that his Government has decided to contribute 50,000 tons of wheat as humanitarian aid to support the Governments of Ethiopia and Somalia.
LEILA CASTILLON LORA-SANTOS (Philippines), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, stressed the need for increased investment in agriculture and noted that food security is the Government’s top socioeconomic and development priority. It is providing innovative solutions and financial support to enable farmers and fisher-folk to adopt new technologies and connect to national and global supply chains, she said. Her country also works to protect families’ purchasing power and mitigate socioeconomic scarring, all towards economic transformation anchored in productivity, inclusivity and sustainability. This is to ensure a prosperous, healthy and sustainable future for all Filipinos, she added.
PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka) expressed concern that the world is backsliding on hunger, food security and malnutrition. The Government has responded with initiatives including minimum wage laws and negative taxation for have-nots. With 3.6 per cent economic shrinkage in 2020, he noted the greatest issue is therefore restoring growth, alongside education for all children. Urbanization is also a significant tool in reducing poverty. The Government is committed to promoting agriculture by helping smallholders. Alongside this, private enterprise encourages respect and dignity and changes the image of the poor from victims or a burden to resilient, dignified people. He called for the international community to throw out any romantic notions about poverty.
NAAHY MOHAMED RASHEED (Maldives), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, stated that as a country that imports a large portion of its staple food, it is highly vulnerable to variations in commodity prices, global supply, high import costs and impacts on the global shipping industry. To promote sustainable fishing, she said that her country has passed fisheries laws and regulations to ensure the sustainability of the industry and food systems. To continue its path towards sustainable development, she stressed the importance of international support in the form of debt restructuring, bilateral credit guarantees and the adoption of the multidimensional vulnerability index as well as elimination of harmful fishery subsidies.
IVAN G. KONSTANTINOPOLSKIY (Russian Federation), associating himself with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, said the Secretary-General’s report does not present an objective picture. The crisis root is the pandemic and climate change, but events in Ukraine must be looked at calmly. He noted that exports have started from Ukrainian ports and are increasing, but the price of food was already high in 2021. He cited ill-considered monetary policies of Western States, with monetary easing and rising interest rates. Illegal sanctions chop up supply chains, and the transformation to green energy is progressing too quickly. The Russian Federation is expecting a 150 million ton grain harvest, but sanctions complicate the supply of fertilizer, illegally blocked in European Union ports.
MERIEM EL HILALI (Morocco) stressed that the international community needs to invest in improving the resilience of food systems in vulnerable countries, so they can overcome difficulties more quickly and effectively. Noting that women and children very often are the primary victims of malnutrition in crisis situations, she emphasized that a lasting change of the world’s food and agricultural systems is needed. Highlighting that Africa holds more than half the uncultivated arable lands in the world, she underscored that there is an opportunity for the continent to create more jobs, foster trade and bolster its resilience.
CYETH CYLONIA ALLISON DENTON-WATTS (Jamaica), associating herself with the Group of 77, explained that agribusiness is one of the most vulnerable sectors in the country, recently suffering an estimated $2 million in damage as a result of Tropical Storm Ian. She called for better integration of ODA to strengthen the resilience of the agrifood sector to shocks. Likewise, open markets should offer better access for smallholders in developing countries to seeds, fertilizers and adequate financing. The international financial system must provide financing to respond to emergencies and strengthen agriculture, food security and nutrition in the medium to long term.
NADIA OMARALI (Brunei Darussalam), aligning herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, said that, while her country has no record of extreme poverty, the sustainable eradication of poverty should be prioritized to protect the most vulnerable, including the underprivileged, women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly. Detailing Government strategies towards this end, she said that the same aim to help the underprivileged by helping in the form of cash transfers, food rations, employment and entrepreneurship capacity-building and grants for small-business start-ups. Other efforts include the provision of affordable, quality housing for all citizens ‑ especially low-income earners ‑ through State-subsidized housing.
GADIS RANTY (Indonesia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, called for investment in renewable energy development, noting her company’s road map lays out a pathway to net zero emissions by facilitating access to clean energy through dedicated financing. It is crucial to scale up financial commitments, and the Group of 20 (G20), at the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, agreed to increase special drawing rights allocation to $73 billion and support implementation of the common framework for debt treatment, using the example of debt restructuring in the case of Zambia. Reducing the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty is one of Indonesia’s priorities, she affirmed, citing concrete steps to increase production capacity and exports.
SYED ABDUL BARI SYED OTHMAN (Malaysia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, stressed that better production, free and fair trade and innovation will contribute positively towards preventing and mitigating the impact of future food crises. He shared that his Government’s National AgroFood Policy 2021-2030 focuses on enhancing the local agrifood industry, with particular emphasis on the smallholder farmers and food producers, who account for about 75 per cent of the industry. Noting that development assistance in the form of capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and technology transfer are integral for vulnerable countries to be emancipated from poverty, he called on development partners to intensify their efforts in multilateral cooperation such as the South-South and triangular cooperation.
JESWUNI ABUDU-BIRRESBORN (Ghana) associating himself with the Group of 77 and African Group, said that his country is all too aware that poverty is a daily reality that robs people of their dignity. He called on the empowered world to support Ghana and Africa in the fight to overcome it. Noting 2022 is billed as Africa’s year for food and development goals, he stressed the crisis is an opportunity to use its 60 per cent global share of arable land, and ample water. “Let us not waste this crisis”, he stressed, as it is time for Africa to feed and power itself. The international community must see its agribusiness as an opportunity rather than a risk.
EMERSON CORAIOLA YINDE KLOSS (Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stated that there is a need for an open and transparent multilateral trade system that works for all especially with regards to agriculture and tackles measures such as high tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Noting that most subsidies in agricultural trade are distorting prices and undermining the capacity of developing countries, he emphasized the need to “get rid of them as soon as possible”. He further stressed that reinforcing market transparency, integrating Ukraine and the Russian Federation into fertilizer and food markets, avoiding new trade barriers as well as hoarding and speculation are necessary measures that need to be maintained.
BOUKARY SOUMARÉ (Mauritania), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted the priority of promoting sustainable economic growth, diversification and creating an environment for private national and international investment. His country launched institutional reforms to increase good governance, fight against corruption and end impunity. The Government has distributed health grants for free coverage to the 620,000 poorest households in country, with the goal of covering 1.8 million people by 2024. It is taking further steps to combat desertification and drought and ensure universal access to basic services such as electricity, water and education.
FARUQUE FAQUIRA (Mozambique), aligning himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that, in his country, the satisfaction of basic human needs is a matter of human rights. Therefore, agricultural development, food security and nutrition are important pillars in the economic development of Mozambique, and the Government developed policies to guide interventions in food security and nutrition. Other programmes aim to improve rural households’ quality of life by promoting sustainable agriculture. Citing data indicating that the number of people living in high risk of hunger in Mozambique decreased from 9.8 to 7.2 million between May and August, he spotlighted this as a clear demonstration of his country’s commitment to addressing food insecurity and malnutrition.
RAMÓN EMILIO FLORES (Honduras), aligning himself with the Group of 77, expressed his support towards the Secretary‑General’s efforts to guarantee a coordinated and coherent response to the food, energy and financial crises. Noting that the capacity to respond to food insecurity is unequal between countries, he called upon Member States to tackle the needs that the world faces in terms of food insecurity and malnutrition, and to build an “economic alternative” that places food sovereignty as its pillar.
DIAMANE DIOME (Senegal) stressed that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warned in June that the current food crisis could turn into a global disaster in 2023. In response, he noted Africa has 60 per cent of the world’s arable land, and the African Development Bank launched a $1.5 billion fund for development. Senegal has strengthened social spending with a subsidy programme for over 540,000 poor households. He called for financing agricultural insurance for smallholders in case of technical needs and climate insecurity.
CHOLA MILAMBO (Zambia), associating herself with the Group of 77, African Group, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said her State’s economy is still recovering from the negative effects of the pandemic, reporting severe job losses and supply chain disruptions in the tourism and transport sectors. She warned about the poverty rate in her country, which remains high at 54.4 per cent (76.6 per cent in rural areas), citing a cash transfer programme which currently benefits 0.5 per cent of the population and should increase by 35 per cent by 2023 — paying particular attention to female-headed households. She called on partners and developed countries to help build technical capacities.
KARLITO NUNES (Timor-Leste), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country’s development strategy emphasizes reducing poverty, promoting equitable and sustainable economic growth, and improving health, education and welfare. Significant progress has been made on that front, although the number of poor remains high, especially in rural areas. He affirmed that the Government ensures the rights of rural women to food security, non-discriminatory access to resources, economic empowerment and equal participation in decision-making are respected.
TASH VAN DOIMEN (Guyana), aligning herself with the Group of 77, stated that her country has spearheaded the Caribbean region’s efforts to bolster growth and development in the agricultural sector and to meet its food and nutrition needs, with an aim of reducing the region’s food import cost by 25 per cent by 2025. Noting that her country has invested 5.2 per cent of its national budget for 2022 in agriculture, she explained that the objective was to strengthen its agricultural resilience and to promote sustainable practices. Highlighting that her country’s agriculture has been impacted by increasing floods and unpredictable weather patterns, she stressed that more investment is needed to realize climate-smart agriculture with high productivity.
DIEGO ANTONIO CIMINO (Italy) said due to multiple crises, years of progress have been erased, and a perfect storm is now hitting the most vulnerable. With poverty eradication and food security two of the country’s highest priorities, Italy in 2021 increased its ODA and in 2022 increased multilateral funding to the United Nations system. The Russian Federation’s aggression on Ukraine has exposed vulnerable countries to the dire consequences of food insecurity and unprecedented inflation. He noted Italy is Chair of the Group of Friends of Food Security and Nutrition and will provide all its support in the face of multidimensional crises, including through the European Union’s Solidarity Fund.
IVO MIGUEL SANTOS DE JESUS RUBIO (Angola), aligning himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed that his Government has implemented programmes to make rural communities more resilient, such as a social assistance programme aimed at transferring income to the most vulnerable families. He further shared that his Government has worked to develop a fuel reserve to help communities avoid the adverse effects of natural hazards.
NOOSHIN TEYMOURPOUR (Iran), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, stated that the ongoing unilateral coercive measures as well as conflicts and climate change pose additional challenges for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2. She further stressed that in addition to the pandemic, her country has faced another dangerous “virus” – illegitimate unilateral coercive measures which have restricted Iranian people’s access to food, health and medicines as well as medical equipment. She concluded that the immediate removal of such unlawful measures is essential for her country’s sustainable development, including food security.
JOSEPH ARON MWASOTA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted more than 823 million people were hungry in 2021, and another 50 million people will be in 2022. His country aims to increase production by providing subsidies for fertilizers and seeds. Among other initiatives, he cited the promotion, distribution and consumption of locally produced nutritious foods and training health-care providers in comprehensive nutrition services down to the village level. He called on the United Nations system and the international community to act together to provide sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food and healthy diets to all people.
KANISSON COULIBALY (Mali), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group, the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that 80 per cent of the population works in agriculture, which produces more than 30 per cent of GDP. Of the country’s 145.2 million hectares of cultivable land, only 5 per cent is used for agriculture. He further said Mali, like many countries, managed to achieve the food security objective of drastically reducing the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition. To make agriculture a more attractive sector, providing jobs and guaranteeing food sovereignty, his country is striving to introduce technical progress into agricultural production systems, to develop mechanization and to promote agriculture oriented towards more transformation of products.
HAYA ISMAEEL (Bahrain) shared that her country has adopted global strategies to diversify its food sources and to promote sustainable development in the area of agriculture. In this regard, she highlighted that it has worked on genetic mutations of animals as well as data collection to analyse agricultural statistics. She further noted that during the pandemic, her Government guaranteed food security, bolstering its national capacity to ensure safe, accessible food was available to its population.
KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that in March 2022, FAO warned that the food price index reached an all-time high, hitting the poorest hardest. Agriculture is his country’s economic backbone, its second-largest export and 30 per cent of GDP, employing 70 per cent of the rural population. Before the illegal military coup, Myanmar was making progress, but farmers now have limited access to finance. Atrocities across the country, logistical disruptions and depreciation of Myanmar’s currency have threatened the stability of food, with 11 million people, or 20 per cent of the population, facing acute food insecurity and 14 million needing humanitarian assistance. As long as the ruthless military is in power, he stressed, the population will suffer. Only the duly elected Government can bring the country back on track.
ZÉPHYRIN MANIRATANGA (Burundi), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stated the international community must redouble efforts to lay the foundations for resilient development. He drew attention to efforts to empower young people and women, accelerating job creation in the agrifood sector, with investment banks for both sectors of the population — further noting the new phenomenon of an urban exodus to rural areas to take opportunities there. He therefore recommended investment in rural women, health and nutrition for women, newborns and adolescents, and education on preparation for birth.
REGINA KUMASHE AONDONA (Nigeria), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, and recalling that the year 2022 is dubbed “Africa’s year of nutrition”, stated that to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2, the continent needs to tackle poverty and structural inequalities by strengthening food value chains in poorer communities through technology transfers and certification programmes. Meanwhile, she also highlighted the need to focus on changing consumer behaviour by introducing policies that reduce the consumption of unhealthy foods as well as those that protect children from the negative impacts of food marketing. She further noted that her Government has accelerated efforts towards the use of artificial intelligence for agricultural development, which should benefit both farmers and consumers by reducing the use of traditional farming methods and generating higher productivity.
GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, noting that, in the wake of the pandemic, the world’s extreme poverty rate increased from 8.3 per cent in 2019 to 9.2 per cent in 2020, said this seemingly small fluctuation in data corresponds to an additional 77 million people living on less than $1.90 a day. High levels of economic growth and widespread poverty can coexist, he pointed out, adding that poverty must always be understood in the context of interconnected factors, including the educational, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Stressing the importance of ensuring inclusive and equitable access to quality education, he added that hunger spawns even greater poverty, as the health impacts associated with inadequate nutrition affect peoples’ ability to learn and work.
SOFJA GILJOVA, International Renewable Energy Agency, stressing that renewable energy solutions and integrated food-energy systems can directly advance energy and food security, said that bioenergy can play a critical role in meeting needs for electricity, heating and cooling as well as transport needs of food systems in both developed and developing countries. Further, the use of geothermal heat in the agrifood value chains has several benefits, including increased food productivity and empowerment of women and youth who are heavily involved in food production. Noting that more than 2.4 billion people still rely on traditional fuels for their cooking needs, she stressed that access to clean and affordable energy for cooking lags well behind the Sustainable Development Goal of providing access to clean energy to all by 2030.
ZAK BLEICHER, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), also speaking for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), said the world is moving backwards in its efforts to end hunger. Stressing the importance of transitioning food systems to become more inclusive and resilient, he urged the international community to scale up humanitarian support and social protection measures to address acute food insecurity and prevent famine. “We must invest in longer-term solutions to avoid going from one food crisis to another,” he said, adding that food market monitoring serves as an efficient early warning mechanism. Small-scale and family producers are essential for addressing global food security, yet too often they go hungry themselves, he pointed out.