Remarks at Food Security Event Co-Hosted with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon During the UN General Assembly

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York, NY
September 26, 2009

(A short film produced by the Department of State on the United States’ Commitment to Global Food Security is shown.)


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Honorable Secretary of State Clinton, President Kagame, Prime Minister Hasina, distinguished heads of state and government, honorable ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to welcome you to this important event, and especially Secretary of State Clinton, who is showing exemplary leadership in the evolving movement for food security.

Food and nutritional security are the foundations of a decent life, a sound education, and, indeed, the achievement of all the millennium development goals. As a boy, I experienced the insecurity of not knowing whether there would be food available the next day. It is something I will never forget.

There is more than enough food in the world. Yet today, more than one billion people are hungry. This is unacceptable. The food crisis of 2008 brought home to everyone what experts have been telling us for years: the world's food systems are in crisis. They are failing too many people and many of our poor nations.

When the food crisis hit, the UN system responded with rapid and robust support. WFP built up food and nutrition safety nets, and raised a record funding to reach the world's most vulnerable people. The World Bank and the whole UN system have supplemented this effort in support of millions of men and women and children. Many nations supported this effort, and the European Commission established a one billion Euro facility. But the food crisis is far from over.

Ever more people are denied the food they need because: the prices are stubbornly high; because their purchasing power has fallen, due to the economic crisis; or, because rains have failed, and reserve stocks of grain have been eaten. The challenges of food security demand multilateral commitment, creativity, and leadership.

Last year, I set up the high-level task force of our UN system and (inaudible) agencies. This comprehensive approach is anchored in the right to food. It links development, trade, and humanitarian action. Our goal is to initiate a new era for agricultural development, a revolutionary approach that will support small-holder farmers, especially women, a transformation of markets and trading systems, so they work better for the poor.

Many of our partners in Africa are championing this approach. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program is supporting their national action plans. Many countries have pledged funds and political support for food security. The government of Italy encouraged 26 countries to sign up to the food security statement during the L’Aquila G8 summit in July.

Its five principles echo those that we used as the basis for the comprehensive framework for action developed by my task force last year: programs must be country-led; our approaches must be comprehensive, addressing the full range of issues that affect hunger and food security; our system must be strategically coordinated; multilateral agencies must have a strong role; and national efforts must be supported by a sustained commitment of financial resources. There is increasing appreciation of these five principles.

Strong leadership from the United States' President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton encouraged pledges of $20 billion. We must ensure that the money is disbursed promptly and effectively.

Now is the time to demonstrate to food-insecure nations and communities that we want to build on these principles, develop a roadmap for action, and secure tangible results. I would like to see this momentum, with its emphasis on the principles and on country-led processes, carried forward during the Rome summit on food security in November, and in all the activities of our high-level task force.

I look forward to hearing your views on how we can make this happen in an efficient and accountable manner.

With opening remarks, I now turn over to the co-host of this event, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. You have the floor.


SECRETARY CLINTON: It is a great pleasure for me to be joining Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and all of you to exchange ideas and join forces against one of the most urgent threats facing our world: chronic hunger, and all of the consequences that it causes, some of which we saw in the short film leading into our conference today.

I wish that we had time to acknowledge every head of state and government minister here today, as well as all the representatives from foundations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and the private sector. But there are far too many of you -- which is the good news, that we have such an extraordinary turnout. And so, let me join with the Secretary General in welcoming and thanking all of you for taking time out late on a Saturday afternoon to be here.

Yesterday, at the Clinton Global Initiative, I discussed the principles that the Secretary General referred to: how we’re going to fight hunger together and begin to alleviate and decrease poverty through sustainable agricultural development. We want to make sure that enough food is available, and that people have the resources to purchase it. That is a key foreign policy objective of President Obama and our administration. This is an issue that affects all of us, because food security is about economic, environmental, and national security for individual homelands and the world.

As the Secretary General mentioned, five principles were embraced at the G8 summit in Italy. And these principles will guide our efforts.

The first of these principles is the need to invest in country-led plans. Few people know better the complex obstacles that hinder a country's food supply than the people who actually live and work in that country. And we will have the greatest chance of success if we pursue partnership, not patronage.

Second, we will address the underlying causes of hunger, by investing in everything from research to better seeds to insurance programs for small farmers to large-scale infrastructure projects that create sustainable, systemic change. And we will put women at the heart of our efforts, because most farmers of small holdings in the world are women.

Third, we will improve coordination at every level. Too often in the past, we have worked in silos, duplicating some efforts and overlooking others. Now we want to bring every partner from every sector together around a virtual one table across the world to discuss each country's plan, and then devise a way of executing it.

Fourth, we will leverage the benefits of multilateral institutions to support and help fulfill the country plans, because these institutions have the reach and resources to do more than any single country could do.

And, fifth, we pledge a long-term commitment, based on accountability. Now, we know that this is going to take years, and even decades, before we reach the finish line. But we have to stay committed. Because what we have seen, as illustrated in the film, is that international support for agriculture has declined, while contributions to emergency aid have increased.

We will continue, of course, to invest in the crises and the emergencies, but we want to begin to try to alleviate the crises and the emergencies by once again enabling people to feed themselves. Now, together, these principles represent an approach based on investments in our collective future. And they will help us achieve broad-based results that last.

Now we are going to hear from some people who have both experience and perspective about this effort. I am going to ask every speaker to limit their remarks to two or three minutes, because we have so many people who wish to speak. And I know that's difficult. But we will take any prepared remarks that are longer than that, and we will compile them and distribute them so that you will be able to see the full context of each speaker's presentation.

Let me begin with Rwanda, a stand-out example in country-led planning. And President Kagame will speak to this principle. Rwanda completed a compact and strategy through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program. And the government of Rwanda followed through on its plan, and used its own resources to do so.

So I have the great honor of introducing the President of Rwanda.


PRESIDENT KAGAME: Thank you very much, Secretary of State Madame Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This discussion on partnering for food security is important and timely. I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on our situation in Africa and Rwanda.

I am pleased to state that, in Africa, there are many positive stories to reflect the progress that has generally been made. There are many cases from Malawi that we have seen or heard from, and these stories speak for themselves.

The attention to agriculture involves financial and human resources, commitment, together with improved partnerships with bilateral and multilateral institutions. These are combining to make a fundamental difference. And again, this has built on the country-led strategies, as has already been mentioned by the Secretary of State.

It is my view, therefore, that the 2009 G8 Summit that reflected on food security and pledged substantive amount of financial resources came at a time when our continent is in a much better position to take advantage of these opportunities. And we can use these resources to eradicate hunger, globally.

In Rwanda we have learned from many sources, and put in our own efforts to embark on the journey of improving our food security. First, public and private sector leadership in our country is engaging farmers, in order to make them part of the solution. We have increased public investment substantially, and our farmers have been responding with good results. This combination is leading to improvements in such key areas as improved seeds and fertilizers, land conservation, cooperatives, better post-harvest storage facilities, irrigation -- as opposed to total dependency on rain-fed practices -- and later on, critical also, the markets.

Farmers' access to financing and credit is very important, and continues to increase via microfinancing and innovative public/private partnerships.

Since the initiation of our strategy in the year 2006, considerable impact is being realized. And for two years now, we have realized food surplus. In the past 2 years, we reduced our banana import -- the main staple food in Rwanda -- by 90 percent. Our exports of beans, cassava, and potatoes have increased by over 30 percent.

Food security is improving in all parts of our country: 29 of our 30 districts in Rwanda have reached adequate household food levels; 95 percent of households in Rwanda are, therefore, producing the FAO-recommended or above the recommended level of 2,100 calories per person per day.

It is important to highlight the fact that the majority of Rwandan farmers are women. Securing food security, therefore, contributes significantly to women's socioeconomic empowerment. By their own strength, and through public policy and legislative measures, we have in our country taken considerable measures to remove barriers to women's participation in our transformation process, including agricultural sector.

Another key element of country-led food security strategy is the alignment of development assistance with the national policy priorities. This cooperative effort is vital for success, including greater donor appreciation for the need to shift from food aid that breeds dependency to building productive capacities for domestic entrepreneurship, business development, and markets. Most of our development partners increasingly support and operate through this framework.

In the agricultural sector, for example, the world food program has shifted from food donations to supporting farmers, through increased productivity and linkage to markets. Likewise, the World Bank moved from free distribution of fertilizers to establishing a fund to assist farmers purchase such (inaudible).

These combined efforts have led to notable growth rates in our country. The agricultural sector grew from 0.7 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2008, thereby lifting the national GDP to slightly over 11 percent.

We have just begun our journey in Rwanda of consolidating food security with still many challenges ahead. But our prospects are improving, and hold greater promise and hope for Rwandans. With the 2009 G8 Summit resolutions and pledges by the U.S. administration that are translated into consistent support, together with the high-level engagements such as this one today -- graciously made possible by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State Clinton -- a world free of hunger is achievable. And let us act together and make this vision a reality. I thank you very much, Madame Secretary.


SECRETARY CLINTON: As President Kagame said, a considerable financial commitment was made by the G8, amounting to $20 billion. The United States has pledged $3.5 billion of that $20 billion.

And, obviously, what we are hoping is that, through these partnerships, such as the one that Rwanda demonstrates, we will be able to work with many countries to create the same kind of results in a relatively short period of time, as Rwanda has already done so.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to speak about country-led planning from a South Asia perspective.


PRIME MINISTER HASINA: Thank you, Your Excellency. I express my profound thanks to Secretary of State, Her Excellency, Ms. Hillary Clinton, and UN Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for organizing this important event.

As a developing country, food security is of paramount importance of our national development, and for attainment of the end disease. Ensuring food security is also critical for eradicating hunger and poverty from our planet, a goal we are all committed to. Therefore, Bangladesh attaches high priority to ensuring food security for our people.

In our previous term of government, from 1996 to 2001, Bangladesh attained food self-sufficiency for which the FAO presented us with their prestigious Ceres Award. Our present government wants to achieve food self-sufficiency again by 2012. However, food production is not enough. Accessibility to food, particularly by vulnerable and marginalized groups, is important. Therefore, a fair and equitable food governance system at national level, but more importantly, at international level is essential.

There is no disagreement that sustained agricultural production is essential for ensuring food security. The 2008 food crisis revealed the importance of food security, particularly for the LDCs. Bangladesh has, therefore, adapted a national food policy to ensure sustained food security for all in the country.

I want to make it short. We distribute all agricultural imports in a subsidized rate to our farmers, just to help our farmers to produce more food.

It is also important to address climate change issues to ensure food security. Bangladesh is facing erratic (inaudible) floods, (inaudible) and cyclones, a direct off-shoot of climate change. This is affecting sustained agricultural production, and thus, food security. Significantly, also, the demand for -- facing the challenges of climate change is diverting funds allocated for sensitive social sectors as health, education, energy, et cetera.

In agriculture and food (inaudible) has brought resources to a stand-still. Therefore, no further breakthrough on high-yielding rice or agro-based products developed decades earlier could be possible, though a growing need for varieties, resistance to salinity, drought, water submergence have appeared.

In fact, we need to identify all root causes of food crises, and address them in a holistic manner for ensuring food security. A substantial fund would be required for the purpose which the developed countries would need to contribute, more so now that we are badly hit by the current global financial crisis. So we expect that developed countries should fulfill their ODA commitment.

Food security, as Secretary of State mentioned these five points, I fully agree with her. Country-led plans that are sustainable, technically sound, and have the political and financial backing of partner country governments and other donors and stakeholders. These five principles underpin and align global response to reducing hunger, while increasing sustainable levels of food security.

Number one, I already mentioned, country-led plans that are sustainable, technically sound, and have the political and financial backing of partner country governments and other donors and stakeholders.

Second, comprehensive approach to food security, including resources for agriculture, development assistance, nutrition, humanitarian food assistance, and risk mitigation tools.

Third, the strategic coordination of assistance at the local, regional, and global levels to ensure resources are delivered effectively.
Fourth, a strong role for multilateral institutions to coordinate the flow of financial resources and (inaudible) additional funding.

Fifth, sustained and accountable commitment of financial resources. I believe international financial institutions as World Bank and IMF, in recent times, have received enhanced resources to mitigate the impact of the financial and economic crisis. It is imperative for developing and LDC countries to get access to these funds quickly and predictably.

(Inaudible) also need to provide more concession funding for the sustainable development needs to the LDCs. And South Asia, we are going to suffer because of this climate change. So we need cooperation from all, especially from the developed countries. Thank you very much.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Prime Minister, for mentioning the important connection with climate change.

Our final speaker to comment on country-led plans is the UK Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ivan Lewis. He will address how donors can effectively support country-led plans.

Minister Lewis?

MINISTER LEWIS: Secretary General, Your Excellency, Secretary of State Clinton, ladies and gentlemen, can I begin by commending the Secretary General and Secretary of State Clinton for their vital leadership?

This issue is at the heart of universal human rights, the fight against global poverty, and economic and social development, as the Secretary of State has said. And I think that is demonstrated by both the quantity and the quality of the turnout at this historic meeting here in New York today.

I was delighted to hear President Kagame discuss the impressive increases in agricultural productivity and food security in Rwanda, something that I have witnessed for myself, and also Prime Minister Hasina discussing progress in Bangladesh, where the United Kingdom has a long-standing partnership in tackling hunger and poverty.

These examples show what can be done where governments are genuinely committed to tackling hunger. Such country-led efforts are being coupled with increased resources from developed country partners in support of country-led plans, both to improve agricultural growth and food security. By example, the United Kingdom has increased spending on agricultural development to £1.1 billion over the next 3 years.

And that is why the UK and most of the donors here support the African Union's Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program. CAADP provides an African-led framework for ambitious, high-quality country-led policies and plans for both agriculture and food security. It brings together governments, donors, private sector, and other stakeholders. It's about investing wisely to achieve progress on the crucial matter of global food security, and ensuring that the one billion -- the shameful one billion hungry people in 2008 -- never, ever happens again.
At a meeting in Addis earlier this month, the relevant stakeholders reached the Addis consensus, an agreement on a coordinated approach to supporting the compacts that are being signed across Africa. At the meeting we agreed practical guidelines for donor support to the CAADP process at the country level. And I'm proud that the United Kingdom played an active role in building such an important consensus, and creating the grounds for a new deal for African agriculture.

Across Africa, governments are increasing their political focus on agricultural and food security. And this represents a historic opportunity to lift people out of poverty. In Africa, as the Secretary of State said, 75 percent of poor people derive their livelihoods from agriculture. And the majority of those people are women.

It is absolutely essential we leave New York with a clear commitment to the partnering for food security action plan and rapid implementation of the Addis consensus, turning our important discussions on the future of food security and agricultural productivity into concrete actions, transforming rhetoric into action, so our fine aspirations become a reality, changing the lives of millions of the poorest people in the world. Thank you.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much, Minister. I thank all the speakers for their very valuable interventions. We now move to principle two.

The second principle is a comprehensive approach to food security. This means that we seek to ensure that food will be available, accessible, and well used by all people at all times. To this end, there is a need to link all aspects of food security: emergency food assistance and safety nets, sustainable agriculture and rural development, market access, and fair trading systems.

For this first speaker, I invite Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, primary representative of Brazil to the United Nations, to speak about Brazil's experience in forging a comprehensive approach to food security. You have the floor.

AMBASSADOR VIOTTI: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary General, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Minister Celso Amorim, regrets that he is not able to be with you today in this very important gathering, as he had to leave for Brazil this morning. So it is my honor to represent him, and to convey a Brazilian perspective on a comprehensive approach to food security.

The L'Aquila Declaration on food security stressed the need for a comprehensive approach as one of the five principles to guide actions to address the food crisis, and to assure food security. We believe that a comprehensive approach has been key to the success of the Brazilian experience in eliminating hunger and extreme poverty.

In our case, it involves the combination of three main elements: access of the vulnerable population to adequate nutrition; enhancement of their resilience through the promotion of family agriculture; and consistent investment in agricultural production and research.

Access to adequate nutrition is assured by a family grant program that reaches over 55 million people, and a school meals program which programs 52 million students with meals every day. The promotion of family agriculture is important, because farming, through small family units, responds to a large percentage of the GDP in the poorest regions of Brazil. And 70 percent of the population which is active in agriculture are engaged in family agriculture. So family agriculture has benefitted from a substantial increase in credit and from infrastructure projects aiming at promoting integrated rural development.

The participation of beneficiary communities in that process has been an important element of our strategy. And such a comprehensive approach has also enabled the various sets of public policies to become mutually reinforcing, and to multiply their effects.

We are making our experience available to other developing countries that find them valuable in implementing long-term policies to enhance their structural capacity, and to promote sustainable agricultural development. The establishment of a regional office of the Brazilian Company for Agricultural Research, Embrapa, in Accra, Ghana, has made available to African countries the most comprehensive database on tropical agriculture worldwide. Since its inception, the office has lent cooperation to over 30 countries in the continent.

I thank you, Mr. Secretary General.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: I thank the ambassador, too, for sharing with us a very valuable experience of Brazil in addressing food security.

Our second speaker on this principle two is Mr. Peter Power, Minister of State for overseas assistance of Ireland, to respond. Minister Power, you have the floor.

MINISTER POWER: Thank you very much, Secretary General, Secretary of State Clinton, distinguished guests. Secretary General, you will recall this week last year, when Ireland presented its hunger task force report in this very building. On that occasion, we needed a very large front page to explain that 862 million people went hungry at that particular time. Unfortunately, we would need a much bigger front page to graphically indicate the amount of people who are hungry today: over one billion, as we all know.

And in the context of rapid population growth and climate change so well illustrated in the clip beforehand, this, I think we would all agree, would represent a colossal failure of the international community. But one of the key recommendations in the Irish hunger report last year was that we need to summon the political will and the political determination to give hunger and food security the absolute priority that it deserves.

So, therefore, Ireland would very much congratulate you, Secretary Clinton, and Secretary General Ban, for your leadership in giving the focus that this subject needs. In a week when the world leaders were grappling with nuclear disarmament, peace, security, it is a shame that we cannot grapple with the most basic of human needs: to feed the people on the planet.

A key recommendation of the Irish hunger report last year was that real global leadership also needs to be matched by comprehensive action. And what does that mean in practice? It means that, in all of our development initiatives, be they rural infrastructure, education, research, implementing the Paris and Accra Declarations, that in every initiative we take we need to look at those through the prism of hunger, through the lens of hunger, to give it the focus that it absolutely needs.

Accordingly, it's our belief, Secretary General, that the principles set out in the document that has been circulated moving forward, I think, do provide an excellent basis to move forward in a comprehensive way. And we need to build a global partnership for agriculture and food. And I think that this meeting itself is an important building block in that global partnership. It needs to be comprehensive. We cannot have business as usual. That has failed us in the past.

We also need to provide a comprehensive framework for African countries to support their country-led responses, as has been discussed. So, therefore, we would very much welcome the reference to CAADP in the moving forward document.

Research, as you said, Secretary Clinton, is key to all of this. In a week when we're dealing with, as I said, complex issues, in terms of nuclear disarmament, surely we should be able to develop the technologies to feed the people on the planet. So extra focus needs to be on the key area of research. And that's why Ireland, for our part, has been a significant and ongoing donor to the CGIAR.

Regional integration, regional economic integration, is absolutely vital to provide and improve market access. And that is one of the long-term ways in which we can provide food security. But, above all, above all in terms of our comprehensive response to this, we need to boost agricultural production. And we need to diversify agricultural production, especially for the small-holder farmers. We need to focus on maternal and infant nutrition.

And a shining example of the leadership which we say is needed has been shown in Malawi, for example, where real determination and real focus to solve problems can yield absolutely enormous results. And that's the leadership that we need to show, right across the world.

So, I would conclude, Secretary General, by saying that hunger really is a result of many failings. It's a collective failure, really, of mankind, of humankind. And it deserves a collective response, very much a comprehensive response. Its eradication, and nothing short of its eradication, has to be at the focus of all we do.

Since the launch of the report which I referred to at the outset, I have dedicated the eradication of hunger to be a cornerstone of the Irish aid program. But to quote the report, "We know what to do, we just have to start doing it." Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. And, you know, for many of us, emergency aid is absolutely fundamental. And it is an important component of the comprehensive approach. How can we maximize our emergency food aid and support nutrition? And I would like to call on Josette Sheeran, from the World Food Program, to address that.

MS. SHEERAN: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I think it was your second day on the job when you addressed the Madrid Summit on food security, really demonstrating, right from the start, that you would put the full force of your leadership behind this issue. And I know we are all very grateful, all of us on the front lines of the battle against hunger.
It is our global shame, as has been noted, that today one out of every six human beings will wake up and not know how to get enough food. And, as you have pointed out, and the Secretary General, it is inherently destabilizing.

Ireland spoke before me, and they have demonstrated that hunger is a winnable battle. Ireland, just two generations ago, beset by repeat famines, and now we have other countries -- Brazil, Rwanda, China, Malawi, and others -- beating the hunger trap.

But none of these have beat hunger without the kind of comprehensive approach you are advocating, from production, yes, to infrastructure, to markets, and critically, to food and nutrition safety nets that can keep people from the emergency action needed, and then, finally, the emergency action when all else fails.

We know, in the last two years, there was enough food for every person on earth to have 2,700 kilocalories, and yet hunger was on the march. And we have added a staggering 150 million people in the past 2 years.

Secretary General, Secretary Clinton, Excellencies, as the film said, and we all agree here, we must act before it is too late. All predictions are that climate change will make our challenge an epic battle. We know now if very young children are denied adequate nutrition, the damage to their mind and body is irreversible. And we are losing a generation.

We urge, Secretary Clinton and Secretary General, that we start the fight for food security with the hungry billion. She needs us. Brazil and Rwanda and others have shown us the winning strategies. And we thank you for your leadership, and we will support this effort every step of the way. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Josette, for your leadership and hard work on this issue.

You know, it is important that we all work together and take maximum advantage of all the resources that we can muster to succeed. So, in addition to collaboration among international organizations and country donors, we have to effectively partner with the NGOs, the foundations, private sector, and academic communities. And I’d like to turn to my colleague from Senegal, Foreign Minister Gadio, to speak to this matter further.

MINISTER GADIO: (Via translator.) President Kagame, heads of state and governments, Madame Secretary, and Secretary General, I would like to sincerely congratulate the UN Secretary General and Madame Hillary Clinton for this positive initiative of a partnership for food security. This initiative is especially praiseworthy, because it's coming at a time when Africans, convinced that agriculture is the foundation of all development, have decided to join their efforts to the global development plan of African agriculture.

The Secretary of State and Secretary General, we have pinned our hopes on the new U.S. administration, to a large extent, on His Excellency, President Barack Obama, to put an end to the ills striking the world, and in particular, the developing world. Your responsibility, Secretary, is a heavy one, because you have elected the first globalized president in the world, the first president of the world. And initiatives like this, to your honor, with the recent signature by my country of the Millennium Challenge account, having to do with food security, these are all answers to these difficulties.

Thank you very much, and it's with great enthusiasm that Senegal welcomes the partnership for food security which you and the United Nations wanted to put in place.

Within this partnership, it is obvious that the coordination of assistance plays a central role, both nationally and regionally. At the national level, strengthening the effectiveness of coordination means that all interventions of the donors have to be part of the instruments that have been put in play, such as poverty reduction strategy papers. It is also important that NGOs that are necessary stakeholders and the private sector operators come in together, putting their actions together in a synergistic way, to help governments and local authorities.

At the regional level, I should say that, for Africa, that starting with the sub-regions and with ECOWAS, the program of sub-regional integration is supported by the community as part of NEPAD, and is deployed together with the developmental partners.

These three -- ECOWAS, NEPAD, and the donors, the NGOs and the private sector -- are a coordination framework which is ideal. So, in this context, Senegal wants to organize the second forum on agriculture – the first one in Dakar, together with the worldwide one, in Dakar January 2010. Along with countries concerned about our region, these programs are focusing on food security with a sub-regional vision coordination with synergies in the rural areas and developing fishing, agriculture, and animal husbandry.

Our minister of agriculture, a leading woman in this area, is with us in the room. And if she were given an opportunity at some point in our deliberations, she is prepared to talk to you more about that, and especially to explain to you the Great Agricultural Offensive for Food and Abundance launched by Senegal, the GOANA, in order to mobilize food security.

Africa is the grainyard of the world, wants to be such. And, quickly, thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much for those kind words, Minister Gadio.

I would like now to turn to the Swedish Minister for Development, Gunilla Carlsson, to talk about improving donor coordination, which will be a key objective of our efforts.

MINISTER CARLSSON: Thank you, Secretary General, Secretary of State Clinton. To tackle the global challenge of unjustified hunger situation, climate change, but also the population growth and urbanization, I think we have to deal much more seriously with food security. And that is why I really welcome this meeting.

Three basic things that have briefly been mentioned: I think it's very important that we understand the need for fair trade agreements and stop subsidies that distort markets. Developing countries should have opportunities to feed themselves, but also to be part of a global market. And the role of women must be at the core, as Secretary Clinton has said.

I am also talking about coordination of assistance. And that's why we need to stress the importance of donors delivering on their commitments on rising aid levels towards 2015.

However, the quality of aid is as important as the quantity in delivering sustained results for poverty reduction. The Paris Declaration and the AAA are, therefore, essential elements in stepping up the fight against poverty, including improved food security. We have made some progress, but the road ahead is still quite long. My reading is that the instruments and the promises are there, but there is a lack of implementation.

So, what needs to be done? First of all, partner country ownership cannot be emphasized too many times. This ownership should include other actors besides governments. Ownership must be based on democratic principles.

Secondly, to promote ownership, we need more coordination and harmonization, more program-based approaches, and more demand-driven capacity development. This means, for instance, that donors need to bury their flags. This implies, in turn, that we need to think of new ways of communicating with other -- with our citizens about the results of development cooperation.

Furthermore, when improving coordination and harmonization, we need to put more emphasis on mutual accountability. Donors and partners should clearly state that there is an openness for independent reviews and analyses of their individual behavior and of aid relationships, both at the country and at the international level.

Finally, our agencies need to be built around incentives to produce results on the ground. Result-based management needs to be strengthened. One way of securing improved coordination and partner country ownership is moving towards more program-based approaches. In this context, a particular challenge is financial management and follow-up. We need to focus on these areas in order to fight corruption.

It is, however, often tempting for donors to set up separate processes and structures, to secure proper administrative arrangements. I am convinced that this is not a viable, long-term solution. Instead, we should avoid parallel structures, as far as possible and, instead, promote joint safeguards, partner country-driven when possible. In this way, adequate control and full accountability for development assistance can be ensured.

Finally, when stepping up our efforts in the area of food security, we need to draw lessons from earlier efforts to address development challenges. For instance, two decades of fighting HIV/AIDS have taught us many important lessons, one being that vertical funds involve particular challenges. They must be properly designed and managed, in order to avoid fragmentation, higher transaction costs, and lack of ownership. If not, they may have a negative effect and an impact on already weak systems in affected countries, and tend to draw energy and resources out of regular government structures. I thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much for those useful reminders of what it takes to be successful.

Multilateral institutions play an important role in leveraging greater global resources, and extending the reach of the bilateral donor resources available. And I would now like to turn it over to Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to speak more on this important issue.

MINISTER SMITH: Well, thank you, Madame Secretary. Australia warmly welcomes the opportunity to participate in this significant forum, and I thank our hosts, the Secretary General and Secretary Clinton.

As we all here know, the global food security crisis is far from over. Prices have come down since 2008, but they do remain high. Poor households in developing countries, who often spend 70 percent of their income on food, continue to suffer very much. When faced with these facts, good international citizens must respond and act together.

Our response must include humanitarian and development assistance, together with scientific research to increase crop and livestock production. It must also include action on developing country access to international markets. Dismantling the barriers that distort trade and agricultural products will lead to better functioning markets, and more stable prices.

This response can only come from concentrated and cooperative action by the international community. And that is why I focus my remarks today on the particular role of multilateral institutions in reducing the vulnerability of developing countries and poor households to food shortages.

Like so many of the challenges we face today, food security can only be addressed effectively by nations acting together. Australia is strongly committed to international cooperation, through both regional and multilateral approaches to these common challenges. As we have in other areas, Australia has backed our commitment to multilateral action on food security with extra funding. This includes $50 million for the World Bank's food security crisis response program, and $30 million for the World Food Program's special appeal, both in May 2008.

We have done this because we believe multilateral organizations have particular strengths that are maximized when they are working their best. They can build links across countries to develop regional and global solutions. They have at their disposal some of the very best international expertise. They promote innovation and learning, and help establish international principles and, importantly, help establish international norms. They help lessen the load of donor coordination for developing countries, who would otherwise have to deal with a multitude of competing donors and competing projects.

Many of the strengths of multilateral organizations have been clearly demonstrated over the last period. We saw the World Food Program scale up its operations dramatically to meet the needs of almost 100 million people, including unprecedented numbers of people in urban areas, where food had become unaffordable, or simply unavailable.

We saw the World Bank move with great speed to establish its global food crisis response program. This program has provided more than $1 billion US to meet urgent needs for welfare programs, and for seeds and other agricultural supplies to help farmers increase production.

Well functioning multilateral organizations still face two major challenges: the challenge of scaling up, and the challenge of coordination with other multilateral organizations. As part of the L'Aquila food security initiative in July of this year, governments and international organizations made a historic commitment to mobilize $20 billion US in funding for food security over the next 3 years. Australia has pledged over $460 million. Much of this funding will flow to multilateral organizations. They must be ready to use it quickly, flexibly, and well.

The World Bank and the World Food Program have shown how this can be done. Some institutions will, however, need to fundamentally reform the way they operate. We welcome, in this respect, the reform process underway at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the FAO, responding to the independent external evaluation of the organization, completed in 2007. A more effective and efficient FAO, able to respond flexibly to developing country needs, should be part of a strengthened multilateral system.

The challenge of coordination amongst multilateral organizations is a substantial one. The Secretary General recognized this early, and Australia congratulates him for his foresight in establishing, last year, the high-level task force on the global food security crisis. The task force has done an impressive job, bringing together 22 United Nations organizations, funds, and international financial institutions to ensure a more coherent and effective multilateral action in more than 60 countries in response to the global food crisis.

While the high-level task force is an interim structure, Australia sees it continuing its work until permanent arrangements are established to ensure strong coordination of international food security efforts. The significant increase that we are now seeing in international support for agricultural development and food security, particularly through scientific research to boost agricultural productivity in developing countries, is long overdue.

It does have the potential to protect and improve the living standards of hundreds of millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world. But this will only happen if multilateral institutions work together in partnership with the governments of developed and developing countries, civil society, and the private sector, to take the L'Aquila commitments forward. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, yesterday the G-20 called on the world to create a new multi-donor trust fund to support country-led plans. The United States is planning to support this fund. And we are pleased to have World Bank managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who will be discussing this initiative, as well as the World Bank's leadership role in agricultural development.

DR. OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you very much, Madame -- Secretary General, Madame Secretary of State, Mr. Secretary General, President Kagame, President Hasina (sic), Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to be asked to contribute to this dialogue, speaking about what multilaterals can bring to the table.

Indeed, following on what our colleague from Australia has said, finance is not the only thing. Multilaterals can bring a lot of other things to the table to assist countries in the implementation of the agricultural programs. Let me speak to some of these.

The first contribution that multilaterals can make is policy support and institution building in these countries. We support governments to look at their agricultural policies to make sure that the right environment is created, in which financing can work, and in which financing can go to those who need it: the small farmers who need to increase access to food and food production. We come behind governments in support of their country-led processes. We look at agricultural trade policies, at taxation policies. We help to support governments to build institutions that make agriculture work.

We also work with governments in global public good areas, like climate change research, that are essential for the long-term support and sustainability of agriculture. We also help to develop new financing mechanisms that can make long-term agriculture more sustainable, like weather-based insurance products. These are some of the areas in which multilaterals have been very instrumental to countries, and will continue to be.

Madame Secretary of State mentioned the focus on women. Well, multilaterals are very focused on the role of girls and women in agriculture. We know that girls and women are responsible for over 70 percent of agricultural production in low-income countries. As multilaterals, we have the unique ability to combine the expertise of colleagues from different disciplines, such as nutrition, gender, education, and even private sector support to governments, to ensure that the right incentives for girls and women to access finance, improved technology, and access markets up and down the value chain is included in the programs and policies that we support.

We have increasingly also begun to focus on girls, because if we can invest in girls earlier on, and get the right agricultural policies and programs and approaches into their training, we will have smart agricultural production.

Infrastructure is a big and binding constraint for agricultural production and productivity. Recently I met with 15 ministers of agriculture from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. And they were unanimous in identifying the need for more and better infrastructure, if we are to sustainably develop the agricultural sector. Multilaterals have the capacity to support governments to undertake these kinds of investments.

Most people know that today, over 40 percent of agricultural production is lost due to post-harvest losses. Investments in the kinds of storage mechanisms and transport of agricultural products can help us not just to increase production, but to save what is already produced, and make sure this is well distributed.

Multilaterals have coordinating and convening power. And with this, it has been mentioned, the work that the Secretary General has done under the high-level task force, in bringing all of us together, we've shown that we can cooperate and we can coordinate to come behind countries to implement their programs. In the work that we have been doing under the high-level task force, we, the World Bank, have been privileged to work with my neighbors here, the UNICEF, WFP, FAO, and IFAD, in many countries, ranging from Tajikistan to Guinea-Bissau to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, to try to help during the time of the food crisis to get programs quickly implemented on the ground. We've shown we can do it. We need to continue to do that. And that is a strength that we can bring to the table.

Multilaterals have a platform on which we can leverage additional assistance, both bilaterally, and increase our own multilateral assistance in doing that. In the case of the World Bank Group, for example, we increased our regular programs during the food crisis from $4 billion a year to $6 billion. And, in addition, as our Australian colleague said, we opened a $1.2 billion trust fund, with $200 million in grants to the poorest countries, which we dispersed $790 million within 9 months, by changing our procedures and processes to make them faster.

We hope to build on this kind of approach, because we were able -- we are hoping to reach 5.5 million farmers, and 27 million people in the course of this food crisis response. Why can't we build on this? And we intend to build on it in the longer term, to make the new food initiative that has been announced by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, to make that work faster, and for the support of the countries.

We are happy that some of the countries we have worked with -- Rwanda, President Kagame mentioned it, Senegal, Bangladesh -- around the table, and can attest to the strong support that multilaterals can bring to the table.

We have also got the ability to leverage resources from donors, such as Australia, who supported the food crisis, from Russia, the EU, who brought resources to bear so that we could reach many more people.

Finally, we have the ability to share good practices. We have been able to take practices from Brazil, the Bolsa Familia, from Mexico, to other countries in Africa and elsewhere. This is the strength of multilateralism. And I think that this is something that we should support. South-south and north-south knowledge sharing, in response to agricultural issues is critically important.

We are humbled that the G-20 has asked the World Bank to lead in developing a multi-donor trust fund to help support this $20 billion initiative. And we intend to work hard to do this. We do call on countries to support what the U.S. and Australia have done. They have announced already commitments to this fund. And until and unless we have actual resources on the table, we will not be able to respond quickly to the needs of the countries. I urge all countries here to come quickly to put their resources on the table so we can get to work. Thank you very much.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Thank you very much, Dr. Ngozi, for your very valuable intervention and commitment. She has been, in fact, a principal participant in the high-level task force which we have been meeting since the outbreak of the food crisis. And I appreciate your commitment and leadership.

Excellencies, distinguished participants, we have one more principle, last principle, number five. I am supposed to chair. But since I have a very important unavoidable consultation with another regional group from 5:15, if -- Madame Secretary, if you will allow me, I would like to make a brief closing remarks. And I would like to ask Madame Secretary to take care of this last principle. I am sure that everybody will be in your good hands.


SECRETARY GENERAL BAN: Again, I am very much encouraged by everything I have heard. I see commitment to moving from principles to action. This is what we have been doing. Let us continue to work in this vein.

We, in the United Nations, and (inaudible) organizations are here to help. We want to support country-led strategies. We want to develop those strategies in a spirit of partnership among national governments, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral organizations. And we want them to be implemented through clear investment plans and programs, with the help of bilateral and multilateral financial mechanisms. Several of you have stressed that we need strong monitoring systems to evaluate progress, identify challenges, and ensure transparency and accountability. Now, some of you have also highlighted the need for better coordination. I am taking these points seriously. So are the members of my task force.

More broadly, I remain committed to working with you, not only on these challenges, but also on other global threats, including climate change, the climate crisis, nuclear disarmament, and non-proliferation. These are the multilateral issues and global issues of our age. And they provide the test of our leadership.

And I thank you very much for your very active participation, and I count on your commitment and leadership. Thank you very much, Madame Secretary.


SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very grateful to the Secretary General, not only for co-chairing and co-hosting this event, but for his very important leadership on behalf of this important issue, along with the other multilateral challenges that he mentioned.

I want now to turn to another colleague, and that is the foreign minister of Pakistan. Minister Qureshi, we look forward to hearing from you.

MINISTER QURESHI: Secretary Clinton, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, let me congratulate both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for organizing this important and timely meeting on partnering for food security.

Without sustained commitment of financial resources, ridding the world of hunger and poverty would remain an elusive dream. But, frankly, our challenge, in the context of global development cooperation, is not of making new commitments, but of delivering and implementing those already made.

Indeed, the list of pledges made is long and impressive. But delivery, unfortunately, is limited and small. Multi-stakeholder partnerships at national, regional, and international levels, supported by timely, adequate, and predictable financing, is the key to addressing food security challenges on a sustainable basis.

In Pakistan, the World Food Program approximates half of our population to be food-insecure. Yet, in the face of extreme hardships, serious resource constraints, and new challenges posed by the global financial crisis and an ever-worsening global climate, we remain steadfast in our political commitment to making sustained financial allocations at the national level to overcome these challenges.

We realize that there are three key aspects to the food crisis: food supply, lags in distribution channels, and limited access to food. We have taken a number of steps to address each of these, the most recent being the Rs. 34 billion Benazir income support program, which provides cash transfers to 3.4 million poor households. It has been praised by our development partners.

As a signatory to both the Paris guidelines on aid effectiveness and Accra Agenda for Action, we believe that aid should be used transparently and effectively by minimizing gaps and leakages that emerge out of coordination issues.

Similarly, a strong supporter of addressing coherence and coordination issues in development efforts, we volunteered to be a pilot for the "One UN" at country level. The pilot brings the UN system together around one table to provide support to development processes in Pakistan, in line with our national priorities. The first of the five focus areas for the joint program is agriculture, rural development, and poverty reduction.

While emergency food assistance has an undoubtedly important role to play in alleviating hunger, a sustainable solution could only come by focusing efforts on enhancing agricultural output. This requires a strong influx of capital, expertise, and technology from developed nations to the developing countries.

To this end, through the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, a bilateral non-(inaudible) process, the international community has committed to provide political and strategic support to assist Pakistan and its people in their national effort to achieve greater socioeconomic development and security, and to overcome the challenge of terrorism and extremism. Agriculture constitutes an important component of the FODP commitments. Pakistan has been a strong proponent of UN developing an effective mechanism to monitor the implementation of agreed development goals and commitments.

We support UN developing a comprehensive matrix to assess the actions taken by all relevant actors: national governments, development partners, international institutions, civil society, and the private sector, for the full realization of the MDGs and IADGs. The complex development scene also demands an ever more vigilant monitoring of the global scenario, with a view to accurately assess the country vulnerabilities, and how various vulnerabilities, particularly those related to climate change, are impeding the poor countries and their food security needs.

We support a new comprehensive science-based approach to vulnerability, covering physical, economic, and climate-related aspects. Such an approach, we believe, will allow for more effective and equitable allocation of resources.

Lastly, any discussion about sustained financial commitment to ensure addressing the food security challenge is not complete without the mention of the WTO, which Pakistan believes to be the only real long-term solution to problems of food security and agricultural development. We are convinced that sustained agricultural growth comes from giving market incentives to farmers. We must unleash the potential of free and fair trade as an engine of growth and development.

Pakistan is ready to be part of this discussion in future, as well, to collectively reflect in a constructive and creative manner to find sustainable solutions to the global food security challenges. I thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister Qureshi. You know, the European Commission has been a strong contributor to global food security, and we are pleased to hear from the EC Commissioner for Development, Karel De Gucht.

MR. DE GUCHT: Thank you, Madame Secretary, Excellencies. The livelihood of a billion men and women is at stake. We must be able to prove that we are delivering on our promises. The reaction must be swift, but most of all, it must be sustained over time. And donors must be held accountable, to ensure that resources are indeed available and targeted effectively. The financial pledges we make must be credible. This is only possible if these commitments are transparent and measurable.

We need, therefore, two processes. First of all, we need a monitoring mechanism. We need to develop specific indicators and benchmarks which can be used to report on outcomes and impacts of investments. These indicators should be shared and agreed at global level. The global partnership for agricultural and food security, including the reform food security committee hosted by FAO could receive the mandate to move forward this task.

Secondly, we need to ensure accountability to all stakeholders. A tracking system should be established at a global level for donors' pledges and commitments. The (inaudible) could take the lead for this.

More importantly, a bottom-up approach should also be set up at country level. It should measure how well governments and donors live up to their pledges. A country-based monitoring mechanism will allow tracking investments in agriculture and food security by both donors and governments of beneficiary countries. Such a mechanism could be designed under the umbrella of the global partnership and the UN high-level task force. It could include a peer review mechanism similar to the peer review mechanism established by the African Union to monitor the implementation of the 2004 Maputo Declaration.

The emergency in 2008 required a swift reaction. Given the extent of the challenge, the international community has mobilized substantial resources. The G8 has pledged $20 billion US for the next 3 years, and the European Commission alone will contribute nearly 20 percent of that pledge, making it the first contributor.

Commitments must respect the principles we have all subscribed to. They must be utilized for needs identified at country level. They must be comprehensive. They must respect the Paris Declaration and the ACCRA agenda. They must be coordinated in a multilateral environment.

We do not need new instruments to implement those commitments. For example, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, which is the framework agreed by all for Africa, could be used as a model and exported to other continents where governments are committed to address hunger and food insecurity.

The implementation of the EU food facility has shown that an effective coordination among existing institutions is possible. If the response is built on each agency's comparative advantages, and if priorities are identified through inclusive needs assessments, it can lead to concrete results in a very short period of time.

If we can transpose the experience gained with the European food facility to the G-8’s pledge, I believe we will be able to demonstrate to the international community that something concrete can be done on the ground, and quickly.

To conclude, Madame Secretary, if we want to move swiftly, we need indicators and benchmarks. We need monitoring mechanisms, and we need to base our action on agreed mechanisms and on successful experiences. We need the collaboration of all: international institutions, bilateral donors, and our public and private partners. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Commissioner. We are going to hear now from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the president of the global development program at the Gates Foundation. Obviously, the Gates Foundation is a very important partner in what is already going on, and what we hope to see in the future.

MS. BURWELL: I want to thank you for including the foundations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in this important conversation. We are very excited about the progress over the last year, and the energy and optimism that has come to the issue of food security, and increasing agricultural productivity for the small farmer, who is often a woman.

And, with that, we are excited that this energy and optimism and commitment moves to action and to impact from that. And I just wanted to touch on a couple of points, in terms of our learning about -- thinking about that question of moving to action. And as we think about taking this energy, the commitments, and building on some of the things that the -- my colleague from the European Commission just said, I think it's important to think about both focusing on action that will help us get short-term impact, and some of the things that will take longer. And as we think about the strategies and moving forward to ensure that there is a long-term sustained commitment, that we will need to show results. And there are some ways to do that which often build on existing efforts of others, and partnering with others.

And some examples of that are our partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has already resulted in 90 graduate students working on research and development on the continent of Africa. We have seen 68 different varieties already -- of seeds -- go into the field, and over 1,900 metric tons of seed go out in the field. And another example of moving quickly is actually with President Kagame, and the coffee efforts that are a part of his overall strategy for agricultural development.

So, partnering quickly with efforts that are existing, and moving funds to those, can maybe get short-term gains that are important so that we can all be patient as we build some of the longer-term partnerships that are important for the long-term success, and the long-term commitment and movement and funds for dramatic change, over time.

We look forward to building and deepening our partnerships with many who are in this room that we already partner with, and with the farmer on the ground, and look forward to more action that will lead to impact. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Our final speaker will be the Italian deputy foreign minister, Vincenzo Scotti. After all, Italy did host this year's G8 Summit. It's played an important role in advancing the global food security efforts. And we are very grateful to have their participation.

As you might guess, there were many more people who both wanted to talk and whom we wanted to talk. But we promised a number of you at the end of a very long week that we would try to be done as close to 5:30 as possible. So, once we hear from Deputy Foreign Minister Scotti, I will say just a very few words to conclude this session.

MINISTER SCOTTI: Thank you. Madame Secretary of State, as you mentioned, we are here only two months after the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, where more than 40 countries and international organizations endorsed the joint statement of global food security. The presence today of many stakeholders willing to build on the L'Aquila initiative testifies to the stepping stone nature of that document.

In L'Aquila, we agreed on two fundamental things. We agreed on what should be the priorities of our global food security strategy. We also agreed on how we should implement those principles to a new and more effective way of making different stakeholders work together. Increasing productivity in agriculture, while maintaining a strong focus on emergency programs and the safety nets are the two priority lines of action we underscored.

We have also jointly decided to adopt new and more effective ways of impacting all food security stakeholders at work, be they states, farmers, NGOs, the private sector, public-private partnership, or the research community. Without local ownership, any effort would be ineffective or, at the very least, highly inefficient.

The global partnership is also based on developing appropriate mechanisms of coordination. At country, regional, and global level, this coordination mechanism, such Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, and our committee of -- on world food security at the global level must ensure the coherence of action undertaken by all stakeholders.

By the end of this year, a number of events will give us the opportunity to complete the architecture of global partnership. I think, in particular, to the World Food Security Summit which will be hosted in Rome in November, that Italy will organize to further advance in the implementation of our commitment. Let me recall that, around the action based on this principle last July, the countries that gathered in Italy announced a $20 billion financial commitment over the next 3 years.

Madame Secretary, in the last few days, the international community here in New York has much discussed about the way to tackle climate change and other fundamental challenges of our time that need to be addressed with a sense of responsibility by all sides, and a true and inclusive approach. These are the same principles we are showing can work with the food security challenge.

I hope that we will be able to complete the road toward an effective strategy for defeating hunger along those lines. In L'Aquila, we were inspired by a visionary strategy, and we work specific commitments. In the United Nations framework, we acquire full legitimacy and achieve global ownership. Thank you.


SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to thank everyone for joining us today for this very useful conversation. It covered a broad spectrum of issues.

We obviously know that there is a great deal of complexity associated with any action program, but we cannot wait until we have a foolproof plan or a perfect system in place, which doesn't exist. We've got to begin now.

So, the Secretary General and I will share a proposal advancing the principles we talked about today on how to put them into action. We will invite all of you to participate. And we look forward to advancing action on these principles. This conversation will continue in the months ahead at the Rome Summit, the annual World Bank meeting in Istanbul, the CAADP donor meeting in Nigeria, the --

See list of countries represented and other attendees.

PRN: 2009/T12-30