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President on Global Fight Against Hunger

Posted on 01/24/13, at 5:05

PRESIDENT HIGGINS RAISES KEY ISSUES IN GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER

Opening the two day EU Presidency policy symposium ‘Feeding the World in 2050’ at UCD this morning President Michael D. Higgins said that chronic hunger is “one of the most serious challenges facing the global community”. He noted that “the principle source of hunger is the dire poverty exacerbated by gross inequalities that, scandalously, persist”. The President stressed that “eradicating this poverty and its consequences” is the greatest moral and ethical challenge facing the global community today.

Referring to the controversies that have arisen from what has been referred to as land grabs, the President said that “some states and corporations are taking over agricultural land in developing countries to secure their own food security, or boost corporate speculative profits, at the expense of the developing world. Despite the often, widespread popular opposition to such proposals, and the invariably weak governance environment in which the schemes are to be implemented, the support of the international community, if quietly voiced, and not unqualified, has encouraged the spread of the phenomenon. The grab for land and drive for profits are so obviously contributing to evictions, poverty and conflict.”

The President suggested that there should be a stronger and more collective move from the traditional and familiar humanitarian response of ‘Food dumping’, where international aid agencies bring much needed internationally-sourced food supplies to affected areas, towards more local sourcing of food produce so that indigenous producers and communities have an opportunity to benefit. He cited the example of the Purchase 4 Progress initiative which allows local farmers in developing countries to supply food to the World Food Programme.
With regard to the imposition of trade liberalization that ignored its consequences in human terms, President Higgins said that poor countries are often forced to open their economies to rich countries in the name of liberalisation and, with their farmers and industries not in a position to compete, those countries often suffer job losses, poor health care and less education as a result. The President referred to the impact of climate change on world food production as well as the importance of providing women, who are the majority of smallholder farmers in developing countries, with the resources for decision-making and entrepreneurship.

Finally, the President stated that “At a global level, Ireland has given leadership on hunger and under-nutrition” and highlighted Ireland‘s consistent push for an integrated and comprehensive approach to addressing the multi-sectoral causes of under-nutrition. He encouraged the maintenance of this approach in our development aid policy.

Read the full speech here

Listen to the President’s remarks here

TÓGANN AN tUACHTARÁN SAINCHEISTEANNA LÁRNACHA faoin gCOMHRAC DOMHANDA in AGHAIDH AN OCRAIS

Ag oscailt dó an siompóisiam ar bheartas na hUachtaránachta Eorpaí “An Domhan Á Chothú 2050” in UCD ar maidin dúirt an tUachtarán Micheál D Ó hUiginn go raibh an t-ocras leanúnach “ar ceann de na dúshláin is tromchúisí dá bhfanann os comhair an phobail dhomhanda.” Thug sé chun suntais gurb é “an dearg-bhochtaineacht, á dhéanamh níos measa ag an neamhionannas dá dtugtar scód go scannalach, príomhfhoinse an ocrais.” Leag an tUachtarán an bhéim air, gurb é an dúshlán mórálta eiticiúil is mó atá os comhair an phobail domanda inniu é, go ndéanfaimis “an bhoctaineacht seo agus a hiarmhairtí a dhíothú”.

Ag tagairt do na conspóidí arna ndúiseacht ag gníomhaíochtaí a dtugtar sciobadh talún orthu, dúirt an tUachtarán gurb amhlaidh atá tíortha agus corparáidí ag gabháil seilbh ar thalamh talmhaíochta i dtíortha forásacha d’fonn a slándáil bhia féin a áirithiú nó brabúís chorparáide amhantracha a bhoilsciú ar chostas an domhain fhorásaigh.” Thug sé dá haire go bhfuil “an sciobadh talún seo agus an brú chun brabús a dhéanamh ag rannchuidiú le díshealbhuithe, le bochtaineacht agus le coinbhleacht”.

Mhol an tUachtarán gur chóir gó ndéanfaí níos láidre agus níos comhchoitinne an t-aistriú amach ón bhfreagairt dhaonnúil traidisiúnta – ‘dumpáil bia’; arb éárd atá ann gníomhaireachtaí cabhrach idirnáisiúnta ag tabhairt soláthairtí bia isteach ó fhoinsí idirnáisiúnta chuig na ceantair atá buailte; agus go dtosófaí ar táirgí bia a fhoinsiú níos logánta ionas go bhféadfadh sé dul chun tairbhe na dtáirgeoirí agus na pobail dúchasacha. Mar shampla amháin de seo, luaigh sé an tionscnamh Purchase 4 Progress, ar tionscnamh é a cheadaíonn d’fheirmeoirí logánta i dtíortha forásacha bia a sholáthar don Chlár Domhanda Bia.

Maidir le forchur an léirscaoilte trádála, is forchur é a rinne neamhshuim dá iarmhairtí i dtéarmaí an duine daonna, dúirt an tUachtarán Ó hUiginn gur minic a chuirtear iallach ar thíortha daibhre a ngeilleagar a oscailt do thíortha saibhre in ainm an díscaoilte seo agus, gan a gcuid feirmeoirí agus a gcuid tionscail a bheith aibí le dul sa chomórtas, is minic a bhíonn caillteanais post, cúram bocht sláinte agus níos lú oideachais sna tíortha sin dá thoradh. Thagair an tUachtarán do thionchar an athraithe aeráide ar tháirgíocht bia agus luaigh freisin an tábhacht a ghabhann leis na hacmhainní sin a sholáthar do na mná, arb iad formhór na bhfeirmeoirí beaga sna tíortha forásacha iad, a theastaíonn uathu ar mhaithe leis an gcinnteoireacht agus leis an bfiontraíocht.

Mar chríoch, dúirt an tUachtarán go raibh “ceannaireacht tugtha ar leibhéal domhanda ag Éirinn maidir le cúrsaí ocrais agus tearc-chothaithe” agus d’aibhsigh sé an brú leanúnach ó Éirinn le haghaidh cur chuige comhtháite cuimsitheach i leith na bhfáthanna il-earnála a bhí ann leis an tearc-chothú. Mhol sé go gcoinneofaí leis an gcur chuige seo i dtaca lenár mbeartas forbartha.