STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. ABDULLAH ABUSHAWESH, COUNSELLOR AT THE MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UN, DURING THE GENERAL DISCUSSION OF AGENDA ITEM 24: AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS AT ITS SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION (New York, 11 October 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to reiterate its appreciation to the Secretariat for the documentation related to this agenda item. In this regard, evidence continues to signal a rise in world hunger. According to relevant reports, after decades of steady decline, the trend in world hunger reverted in 2015. The number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three year. The absolute number of people in the world affected by undernourishment or chronic food deprivation is now estimated to have increased from around 811 million in 2017 to a little over 821 million in 2018.
3. The Group recognizes that the number of people facing crisis-level food insecurity or worse has decreased to 113 million in 2018 from 124 million in 2017 in countries affected by, inter alia, conflict, environmental factors, including natural disasters, and excessive food price volatility. However, this modest decrease between 2017 and 2018 in largely attributed to changes in climate shocks.
4. Furthermore, despite the slight decrease, over the past three years, the relevant report has consistently shown that, year on year, more than 100 million people (2016, 2017 and 2018) have faced periods of acute hunger.
5. Acknowledging these worrisome statistics, we remain deeply concerned with the fact that the current pace and scope of implementation is unlikely to promote the transformational change needed to realize the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 2, and its targets will not be achieved in many parts of the world.
6. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development places the eradication of poverty and hunger among its core priorities and identifies sustainable agriculture and food systems as key drivers of sustainable development. However, current evidence indicates that progress in extreme poverty reduction have slowed markedly in recent years and that the target of reducing extreme poverty below 3 per cent by 2030 is in doubt.
7. In this regard, the Group shares the finding of this this year's Secretary-General Report on the implementation of Resolution 73/253 (document A/74/237), that efficient food systems that reliably deliver safe, nutritious, desirable and affordable food are essential to the battle against hunger.
8. Furthermore, to overcome the challenges posed by poverty and hunger, there is a need to leverage global, regional and national partnerships and initiatives to optimize the mobilization and coordination of resources and to enable collective action and mobilize means of implementation. Progress on mobilizing means of implementation for SDG 2, especially on investment in sustainable and inclusive agriculture to reduce poverty and food insecurity, remains insufficient and needs to be urgently addressed.
9. Agriculture remains the dominant sector in terms of GDP, exports and employment in many developing countries. In this regard, an open, rules-based trading system is necessary to facilitate a more favorable global environment for food security and sustainable agriculture, making food supplies more abundant and affordable. The Group emphasizes that agricultural trade can therefore contribute to achieving the SDGs in many ways.
10. Subsequently, the Group reaffirms its commitment towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and calls for global action in ensuring that natural based solutions are utilized to protect water resources, which are vital in ensuring food security, as well as improving and reinvigorating the quality of land, in order to enhance the productive yields for food security and nutrition.
11. The Group also shares the view that increased investments are needed to enhance capacity for agricultural productivity. As identified in both the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Abba Action Agenda, investments in agriculture are crucial to help improve the sector's productivity. Consistent with the need to accelerate the pace of implementation of our common path towards sustainable development, the Group underscores the challenge to all member states, in particular to developing countries, to comprehensively address the complex interlinkages among food security, nutrition, rural transformation and sustainable agriculture with other SDGs.
12. We need to take advantage of the momentum generated the recent SDGs Summit and the other relevant thematic events during the High-level week of UNGA 74. Let us begin a new cycle in the implementation of the objectives and goals of the 2030 Agenda, where the next ten years will be crucial to achieve concrete results in improving the quality of life of people, in which the very relevant matters addressed in this resolution play a crucial role.
13. Before concluding, the Group would like to reiterate the importance of preserving the tradition of the work of the Second Committee in adopting its resolutions by consensus, as already affirmed in the statement delivered by the Group during the General Debate.
14. Finally, the Group restates the relevance allocated to this agenda item and renews its commitment to engage fruitfully and in good faith with our partners in development.
I thank you.