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Ensuring Food Security in Asia-Pacific: Addressing Threats to Development Noeleen Heyzer Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP
2 Introduction High prices is a new crisis but food insecurity and hunger are old problems Impact of price fluctuations is aggravated by dysfunctional systems Economic, ecological and social challenges must be addressed Short-term causes cannot be addressed unless long-term underlying causes are also tackled
3 Hotspots 583 million undernourished people in Asia Subregions South Asia has 300 million under-nourished people. East Asia and South-East Asia have 160 and 65 million The percentage of children underweight in South Asia (46%) far exceeded that of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (29%). In South-East Asia 28% children underweight
4 Hotspots Countries Afghanistan, Cambodia and Mongolia: 35% of population Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, India, Lao PDR, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka: 20-25% 119 million hungry people live in China and 233 in India
5 Hotspots Global Hunger Index Nine countries classified as serious and 10 considered alarming SeriousAlarming Indonesia Mongolia Myanmar Philippines Sri Lanka Thailand Turkmenistan Viet Nam Uzbekistan Afghanistan Bangladesh Cambodia Democratic Republic of Korea India Lao PDR Nepal Pakistan Tajikistan Timor-Leste
6 Hotspots Agricultural productivity Nepal and Bangladesh: $100 per agricultural worker annually (vs. $22,066 in the US) Mongolias productivity in cereal: 690 kilograms per hectare (vs. >7,000 kgs and New Zealand) Rate of growth of yield (production per unit of land per season) dropped more than half, from 2.7% over 1970-90 to 1.2% over 1990-2005.
7 Dysfunctional systems Processes: fall in food production, climate change, demographic changes, changes in consumption patterns, urbanization Policies: neglect of agriculture, faulty public distribution system, subsidy and tax policies, residual social protection Institutions: unequal property rights (land and water rights), bad governance, distorted markets, mechanisms of exclusion
8 Challenges Economic Increase in agricultural productivity Self-sufficiency and self-reliance Ecological High energy prices vulnerability and biofuels Competing demands and decreasing water availability Crop losses due to climate change Social Demographic changes Diminishing resilience Strengthening social protection systems
9 The way ahead Agriculture Increased public investments Holistic policy approach; Complexity of food security: multisectoral interventions Short-term, medium term and long term strategies Responses tailored to specific countries, clusters of countries and subregions Multiple levels of interventions, i.e community, local, national, regional, global
10 The role of ESCAP In the next six months High level policy dialogue (Indonesia) ASEAN Summit ASEAN-UN summit Theme study Commission Session Develop a framework to ensure food security in Asia and the Pacific
11 Thank you
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