Second Committee, 15th plenary meeting General Assembly, 77th session
ON AGENDA ITEMS 22 AND 24 : ERADICATION OF POVERTY, AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD SECURITY AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
Ghana aligns herself with the statements delivered by the distinguished representatives of Pakistan and Nigeria speaking on behalf of the G 77 and the African Group respectively and wish to make the following additional remarks in our national capacity. We take note of the recommendations in the Reports of the Secretary-General under agenda items 22 and 24 and recognise their importance in enriching consideration of the various questions before the Committee during this session.
We note that there is a United Nations’ accepted definition of poverty, which, like everything undertaken by our institution, tries to find a form of words that is acceptable to all of us.
In my part of the world, we do not argue over what constitutes poverty. We know it, we live with it, feel it and it is a daily reality which robs many of the dignity that should be the inherent right of every human being.
We are conscious of our responsibility as individual sovereign countries not only to reduce poverty, but to create prosperity for all our citizens. We, in Ghana and in many parts of Africa, certainly are engaged in fighting to eradicate poverty from our countries.
But, we recognise that we cannot do it all by ourselves. We therefore call on the empowered world to marshal all its undoubted energies to support Ghana and Africa in this fight. There cannot be a better start than an acknowledgement and a consensus among the nations of the world that, indeed, poverty anywhere degrades us all, whether in the developed or developing world.
Incidentally, 2022 is billed as Africa’s Year to take action on food and nutrition development goals. We see the current geopolitical crisis as an opportunity to rely less on food imports from outside the continent and use better our sixty per cent global share of arable lands to increase food production. We have seen the devastating impact of relying on Russia and Ukraine for seventy per cent of our wheat consumption. We have enough land, enough water, enough gas and enough manpower to produce enough fertiliser, food and energy for ourselves and for others. Let’s not waste this crisis. It is time for Africa to feed itself.
In line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa’s ambition is to transform our food systems over the next decade, anchored in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth. In this regard, we welcome the establishment of a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Plan facility by the African Development Bank to boost food security, nutrition and resilience on the continent.
What we also require now is support from the investor community for the rolling out of Africa’s lucrative agro-industry, and for the community to see agribusiness in Africa as much more an opportunity than the perceived, exaggerated risk which has been the false, but dominant narrative.
On 25 July 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/70/293, proclaiming 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III), with UNIDO tasked to lead it in collaboration with a range of partners. I believe it is time for the UN to take proper stock of this initiative and ask a few searching questions, recognising what could have been achieved with greater commitment and focus.
As the old saying goes, birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. There might not be any one answer to the question of how to eradicate poverty and address the many development challenges we are confronted with, but the hope is that this discussion points us to the possibility of a new world, in which collaboration between the nations and peoples is on such a scale that we can dream of and achieve a sustainably prosperous world.
I thank You.