Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Famine and Conflict-induced Global Food Insecurity

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August 3, 2023

Madam President,

I thank Ms. Reena Ghelani, Mr. David Miliband and Ms. Navyn Salem for their briefings.

Food issues concern people’s livelihood and security. It is complex and sensitive. It has a wide linkage to production and supply chains and a wide-ranging impact. And it is one of the long-term, recurrent and protracting global challenges. Placing great emphasis on food issues, the Security Council has taken active steps on various fronts, including the adoption of Resolution 2417 (2018), which set clear requirements for the protection of civilians and agricultural facilities and greater humanitarian input in armed conflicts. The international community should work together to promote the implementation and effectiveness of relevant Council resolutions, adhere to political settlement of disputes, and break the vicious cycle of conflict and famine.

At present, the global food security situation is faced with greater challenges. Data in UN reports and the briefings we heard today are shocking and worrying. China supports UN agencies to give play to their professional advantages and coordinating roles by mobilizing the international community, especially developed countries, to increase humanitarian assistance and fill the funding gap in global humanitarian response, so as to alleviate the urgent needs of people in relevant countries.

While addressing urgent issues, in order to thoroughly resolve the food crisis, we must focus on the root causes and conduct a systematic review of the situation. The most severely-affected victims of the food crisis are all, without exception, developing countries. Food insecurity is essentially the result of insufficient and unbalanced development worldwide, and a concrete manifestation of the development gap between the North and the South. It is closely related to the longstanding, unjust and unreasonable food production and trade system and the global governance system as a whole. The international community should seize the opportunity of the SDG summit in September and the Summit of the Future next year to address both the symptoms and root causes, to improve rules and regulations, and take comprehensive measures to achieve the goal of zero hunger in 2030 as planned. I would like to highlight the following three points.

First, we must firmly uphold the vision of common security. The causes of the food crisis are complex, and they are intertwined with other traditional and non-traditional security issues. Without common security of the world, it is difficult to achieve sustainable food security. We should uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, stay committed to settling disputes through peaceful means and promoting dialogue, and respond to various challenges including food insecurity in the spirit of unity and mutual benefit. We must firmly oppose actions that affect global food security and international cooperation, such as unilateral sanctions, decoupling and severing supply chains, disrupting market order and suppressing enterprises from other countries. China urges relevant country to immediately stop such practices which lack legal foundations and also contradict fairness and justice.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative and the MoU on Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports have had a positive impact on maintaining global food security. At present, the window of opportunity for restoring the package agreement still exists. China hopes that all relevant parties can intensify dialogue and consultation, meet each other halfway, strive to address the legitimate concerns of all parties in a balanced manner, and restore the exports of food and fertilizer from Russia and Ukraine as soon as possible. China supports the Secretary General and relevant parties in continuing efforts to this end.

Second, we must bridge the development gap between the North and the South at a faster pace. Sustainable development is the most fundamental guarantee for achieving common food security. The international community should address the issue of food insecurity within the framework of global macroeconomic policy coordination and sustainable development, and take the opportunity of the SDG Summit and the 2023 UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment to heed the voice of developing countries, strengthen North-South dialogue and coordination, pool more development resources, and build greater development synergies.

We should step up efforts to assist developing countries in need in resolving challenges in agriculture, rural areas and farmers, enhancing resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and increasing food production and self-sufficiency. Developed countries should cancel unreasonable agricultural subsidies and adopt reasonable monetary policies, reduce the impact of factors including imported inflation and exchange rate fluctuations on food security in developing countries. At the same time, it is necessary for developed countries to earnestly fulfill their ODA commitments, refrain from imposing technology blockade, or resorting to “small yards and high fence”. Rather, we should accelerate technology transfer and application and the sharing of knowledge in areas such as biology, digital and space to create better conditions for developing countries to strengthen capacity building and achieve sustainable development.

Third, we must improve the global food and agriculture governance system. The global food market has long faced problems such as monopoly of pricing power by major grain dealers, structural imbalance in production and supply chains, and high monetization of agriculture products. Certain country has indiscriminately implemented unilateral coercive measures, causing serious difficulties in agriculture and economic development of the targeted countries. The international community should attach great importance to resolving these persistent problems that undermine global food security, take a holistic approach in the preparation of the SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future, improve global food and agriculture governance on institutional and rules-making levels, and focus on increasing the representation, voice and decision-making power of developing countries. Efforts should be made to remove the restrictions of unilateral sanctions on food production and exports, combat speculative capitals and price monopoly, and to build a safe, stable, unimpeded, efficient, open, inclusive, and mutually beneficial industrial and supply chain system, as well as a fairer and more reasonable international food trade order.

Madam President,

Actions speak louder than words. China has made contributions to maintaining global food security with proactive actions. China has proposed the Global Development Initiative and the International Food Security Cooperation Initiative, advocating for deepening practical cooperation on food security, and supporting developing countries in funding, technology and market to improve their food production, storage and loss-reduction capabilities. China has carried out agricultural cooperation with over 140 countries and regions, introduced over 1,000 agricultural technologies to developing countries, trained over 14,000 professionals in hybrid rice technology for more than 80 developing countries, helped launch 13 demonstration villages on agricultural development and poverty reduction in Africa, and provided emergency food aid to countries in need. We stand ready to work with other countries to deepen exchanges and cooperation, and make greater contributions to global food security.

I thank you, Madam President.


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