Secretary Verburg: A shift towards a home grown revolution

Monday 6 September 2010

The broad participation of representatives of governments, private sector, civil society and NGO’s from all over Africa, underlines the importance of the issues you are discussing the coming days. We all know the enormous tasks we are facing nowadays with fighting the multiple crises. We all have to face these dilemmas.

As a global society, we cannot accept increasing levels of poverty and hunger. So we need food and water security. At the same time we need energy security. Coupled with the urgent need to find effective policies to stop the loss of biodiversity, this means we are faced with one of the toughest challenges of the new millennium.

However, we are facing an even bigger challenge: how to feed 9 billion people in 2050. This challenge is even more complex when we look at the scarcity of our natural resources. We are consuming four times our planet. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, we can not rest on our laurels, action is urgently needed.

The 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in New York gave a clear message: agriculture is a crucial part of the solution. We have neglected agriculture too much in our international policies for sustainable development in the last decade. Agriculture is not only in the heart of sustainable development, but is the key to achieving food security and dealing with climate change, especially in Africa. Our host, Prime Minister Meles, clearly stated this in Copenhagen. For Africa dealing with climate change means investing in development and investing in development means investing in agriculture.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, investing in agriculture we need indeed. As MrsBrundtland clearly stated: "We must pursue development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs". But, the food insecurity, especially in your region, the daily loss of our forest and biodiversity show that old solutions do not longer fit. "If you do what you did, you get what you got."

A shift towards a home grown revolution (speach of secretary of agriculture, nature and food quality Mrs. Verburg during the African Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Addis Abeba).

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