Agriculture, food security and nutrition

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STATEMENT BY G. Seddiq Rasuli
Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Second Committee Agenda item 26: Agriculture, food security and nutrition

New York, 12 October 2018

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for giving me the floor. My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Malawi on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Paraguay on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.

Mr. Chairman,

World hunger is on the rise after several years of decline due to the lack of development, agriculture and global warming. Urgent actions are needed to ensure sustainable food production systems, revitalize the agricultural sector, promote rural development and empower traditionally excluded groups, in particular, smallholder farmers and small-scale producers within local food systems. Nutrition is also in the spotlight as a key component of these efforts. It is important to address key challenges, accelerate progress and outline key means of implementation to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Disasters and the effects of climate change also severely affect vulnerable populations. Strengthening the resilience of rural communities and promoting the preservation and restoration of resources and ecosystems have key importance for ensuring the wellbeing of vulnerable segments of the population, in particular in rural areas and in countries in conflict or emergency situations.

According to the recent report of the Secretary General some 767 million people live below the extreme poverty line, mostly concentrated in rural areas, and some 689 million people are experiencing severe food insecurity worldwide. This could be a cause of concern for the global community, as we embark on the third year of implementation of SDGs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan, embroiled in an imposed conflict for decades, has struggled with ever increasing poverty and  food insecurity. According to latest reports, around 45% of the Afghan population is food insecure.

While conflict is a significant driver of this deteriorating situation, it is increasingly recognized that climate change is having profound impacts on the food security of Afghans. It is already manifesting itself in more severe and frequent natural hazards.

In Afghanistan, the water sources are heavily dependent on annual rainfall and snowfall, but lack of snowfall in winter in recent years has intensified concerns over increased droughts and other associated climate change effects. According to Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, Afghanistan has suffered enormously from the impact of climate change. Further, the level of the country’s underground water table has dropped considerably. Lack of rain and snowfall this year is threatening the grasslands and agriculture sector in the country.

An estimated 85% of the Afghans are involved in agriculture, either directly or indirectly. 44% of all jobs are in the agriculture sector and 43% of all workers are agriculture workers. Hence, any effects on the agricultural sector caused by climate change has far reaching impacts on the livelihood of millions of Afghans.

In response to this urgent problem, our government had launched the National Food Security and Nutrition Agenda in October 2017. Additionally, Afghanistan has joined the global SUN movement and began collaborations with the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative. Through these platforms, and along with assistance from our development partners, we strive to improve and uplift the status of our food security and nutrition.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman,

We believe that with the current trends, food security and poverty will not be eradicated by 2030. Urgent action is needed to recover momentum and accelerate efforts for poverty eradication, good nutrition, and sustainable agriculture and food systems.

I thank you Mr. Chair.

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