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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations - Human Rights Council 7th Special session:

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Andrej Logar Permanent Representative of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union

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Mr. President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, align themselves with this declaration.

We welcome the convening of this 7th special session of the Human Rights Council on the negative impact of the world food crisis on the realization of the right to food. This is the Council's first thematic special session and we appreciate that. This initiative has wide cross-regional support and addresses in a timely manner the human rights dimensions of the current food crisis, which affects everyone, particularly the world’s most vulnerable people.

The EU is of the opinion, that the HRC can promptly and effectively contribute the human rights dimensions to solving the crisis, guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for her or his health and well-being, including food, and by the ICESCR, which stipulates that States Parties to the Covenant recognize the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. Mr. President,

However, this crisis has many and complex causes and it is not the mandate of the HRC to discuss these, but of other UN agencies and bodies, which are already working on a common strategy in support of developing countries to confront the global food crisis.


Mr. President

The EU is of opinion that it is the primary obligation of States, individually and through international co-operation, to take necessary measures to meet the vital food needs of their people, especially of vulnerable groups and households. A peaceful, stable and enabling political, social and economic environment at national and international levels is fundamental for states to ensure adequate priority for food security and poverty eradication. Good and accountable governance at the national level as well as the proper enjoyment of the full range of civil, political, economic social and cultural rights are all critical in ensuring food security on a sustainable basis.  Freedom of expression, due process and the rule of law can be powerful tools in eradicating hunger and poverty.  All States must take, individually and collectively, together with relevant multilateral institutions and other stakeholders, necessary measures to promote the food security of all countries and work together to realize the right to adequate food, particularly the right of everyone to be free from hunger.

It is important to address all related human rights concerns in solving the current food crisis. Increased attention needs to be addressed to vulnerable groups, such as children.  We need to fully integrate gender aspect and observe the principle of equal opportunities for and participation of all.

The EU further believes that greater attention needs to be given to increasing food production and productivity in developing countries, particularly in LDCs, with a particular focus on supporting the ability of small-scale agriculture to sustainably grow food for local markets. Moreover, in order to help the most vulnerable people, there need to be greater efforts to develop necessary safety nets.

It is also the obligation of States to ensure full and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, including the supply of food, for the affected people. In that regard, we are deeply shocked at the devastation Cyclone Narigs has caused, with current estimates of between 1.6 to 2.5 million people in need of emergency assistance. In line with the language in the draft resolution before us, we should do everything we can to ensure that the necessary humanitarian assistance, in particular the supply of food, medicines, shelter and health care, reaches the affected population.


Mr President,

Emergency food assistance has an important contribution to make in mitigating the worst effects of the current crisis. The EU – both EU Member States and the European Commission – has therefore significantly increased its funding for food assistance in 2008. The EU as a whole was already the world's largest donor of food assistance in cash in 2007 (with a total of at least 422€ m). This year, the EC alone is increasing its food assistance by at least € 60 m in additional funding as direct response to the food price rises, bringing the total to at least € 283 m of food assistance.

At the same time, food assistance can only be a short-term solution to the most pressing needs, and increasing local production has to be a top priority in the medium to long term. The EU Member States and the European Commission are therefore also providing substantial capacity-building assistance to the most vulnerable countries to increase agricultural productivity, particularly for small-scale farmers.


Mr. President,

We thank Cuba for convening informal consultations on the draft resolution, which will represent the outcome of this special session. The EU participated constructively in these negotiations.

The resolution sets in motion process of mainstreaming human rights in the solving of the current world food crisis, whereby both the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food have a role to play, and the EU is joining the consensus on the resolution.

Thank You Mr. President.


* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 23.05.2008