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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Wang Guangya, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, at GA Plenary Meeting on Global Food and Energy Crisis
New York, 18 July 2008

2008/07/18

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation endorses the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We appreciate the measures taken by the Secretary-General to address the current food crisis and support the Task Force on Global Food Security Crisis in its effort to develop an international cooperation framework on food security. We hope the agencies concerned will keep in contact with Member States in implementing the framework and take measures in light of the specific needs of Member States.

Food is vital to human survival, concerning not only the economy and people's well-being of each country, but also bearing on the development and security of the whole world. There are now more than 800 million people living under the threat of starvation. The surging food prices will increase this figure and seriously hinder the efforts toward achieving the MDGs in some countries. Developing countries are hardest hit by the global food crisis, which has even entailed social unrest in some countries. This has a direct impact on world economic stability and development and is not conducive to the lasting peace and common prosperity of the world.

The current rise of food prices is caused by the interplay of multifaceted factors. It is worth noting that recently, there has been an argument stressing the so-called "responsibility of big developing countries", an argument which blames the development of big developing countries for the worldwide food prices rise. This does not tally with the fact, nor is it a constructive attitude to solve the problem. With the expansion of economic globalization and gigantic advances in science and technology today, we don't lack the means to solve the food problem. The key is to embrace the spirit of common development, actively and effectively coordinate policies and actions and make concerted efforts to safeguard world food security. To do this, countries need to approach the food issue from a broader and longer-term perspective and jointly formulate a strategy for sustainable food development. In this connection, I'd like to emphasize the following three points:

First, build on consensus and resolve the food issue under the framework of sustainable development. All countries should approach the food issue through a strategic perspective and put the issue of food security on top of their national development agenda. They should attach importance to agricultural production, take vigorous measures to beef up policy support for agriculture, and increase financial and technological input in agriculture so as to improve food output and increase food reserve. Major grain producing countries should make more efforts in this regard. The developing countries should keep improving their production capacities while the developed countries should provide necessary financial and technical support.

Second, address both the symptoms and root causes and take an integrated approach to the food issue. The food issue is attributable to complicated and multifaceted factors. Countries need to view these factors as interrelated and, bearing in mind both the long-term and immediate interests, take comprehensive measures in terms of finance, trade, assistance, the environment, intellectual property rights, and technology transfer to create favorable conditions for food security. None of the above aspects should be neglected. Countries should work together to keep global food prices stable. Prudent policy should be adopted to address the relations between development of bio-fuels and maintenance of food security.

Third, strengthen dialogue and coordination, and explore a new framework for international cooperation. It is necessary to create a favorable international trading environment and establish a fair and equitable international trade order for agricultural products. All countries, the developed countries in particular, should display greater sincerity in the Doha agricultural negotiations, remove trade barriers, demonstrate flexibility over such issues as the reduction of agricultural subsidies, give full consideration to the special concerns of the developing members The international community needs to develop a reasonable mechanism for financial support and technology transfer to help developing countries improve their capacity for planting, disease and pest prevention and grain reserves, and improve grain output.

Mr. President,

China has all along attached great importance to agriculture, especially the food issue. China mainly depends on domestic production for food self-sufficiency. For nearly ten years, China has met over 95% of its food demand on its own and exported a net amount of 8 million tons of staple grains annually such as wheat, rice and corn. China's current average agricultural tariff is only a quarter of the world's average. China takes an active part in international food and agricultural cooperation and strives to make contribution to global food and agricultural development. Since 2003, China has provided nearly 300,000 tons of food assistance, built 14 integrated agricultural projects and established more than 20 demonstration centers of agricultural technologies overseas. We have trained over 4,000 agriculture-related managerial and technical staff for other developing countries. We are ready to share more experience of agricultural development with other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation and provide various kinds of assistance to the extent possible.

Thank you, Mr. President. 

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