20 SEPTEMBER 2004
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. PEDRO SANTANA LOPES, PRIME MINISTER OF PORTUGAL, AT THE MEETING OF WORLD LEADERS ON ACTION AGAINST HUNGER AND POVERTY
Mister President of Brazil,
Esteemed Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last year, on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN Secretary-General declared that a world suffering from hunger, disease and poverty will never be a world at peace. The world today is still, unfortunately, far from being at peace.
The statistics are terribly familiar – as reflected in the document adopted today – and even more so when it is known that there is enough food in the world to satisfy the needs of all its inhabitants. Reducing drastically the statistics of hunger and poverty is, therefore, the greatest challenge facing us.
The Millennium Declaration and the subsequent developments in Monterrey embody our common concerns for the promotion of economic development and to ridding the world of poverty. Four years have passed and a greater effort is still required in order to mobilize additional resources and achieve full compliance with the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed targets, which are equally important for both developed and developing countries. Failure in this would create an even more precarious situation and penalize the poorer countries. None of us is willing to tolerate an international order with even greater levels of injustice and instability.
Securing co-ordination between the different institutions with responsibilities in this field has now become a priority. Resources remain limited and it is therefore necessary to seek greater complementarities in the efforts between the various UN agencies and programmes in this fight against hunger and poverty.
The causes of hunger and the appropriate responses are well known to us all. It is easy to identify the problems. But it is equally easy to become paralyzed by the gigantic scale of current needs and the tasks to be undertaken. Thereby the importance of dedicating our efforts in implementing practical solutions and supporting all parties involved.
The solutions, on the other hand, are complex and problematic, and its effects far from immediate. We must intervene in various domains, and not only on the allocation of sufficient funds, on the increase in official development assistance or on efforts to reduce or eliminate trade barriers.
It is therefore necessary to:
- Promote a culture of conflict prevention – as conflicts continue to be the main cause of hunger in poorer countries – and to defend human rights;
- Strengthen the fight against disease and pandemics, especially the fight against HIV/AIDS;
- Concentrate efforts in the field of human resources, promoting education and health care, thus establishing the foundations for the eradication of hunger and poverty;
- Promote capacity building of the institutions, which in turn reinforce good governance and the rule of law.
We sincerely hope that this Summit provides a concrete political impulse in order to attain the objectives we have set out for ourselves. We shall give special attention to the proposals drawn up by the group responsible for studying innovative financing mechanisms. They shall be analysed both internally and at European Union level.
Initiatives such as this meeting today are positive steps towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and pave the way for genuine partnerships between developed and developing countries. Portugal will continue to give its full support for the pursuit of these common objectives.