United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Troika (Kazakhstan, China and Indonesia)

Statement by Mr.Akan Rakhmetullin
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations
on behalf of China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan
at the Third Meeting of the Open Working Group
on Sustainable Development Goals
New York, 22 May 2013
Distinguished Co-Chairs,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me express my gratitude to the Co-Chairs, for their diligent preparations
for this third meeting of the OWG SDGs, which takes us one step further towards our
objective of defining and addressing the SDGs.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the troika consisting of China, Indonesia and
Kazakhstan in the three major areas of food security and nutrition; sustainable agriculture;
desertification, land degradation and drought.
First of all, we would like to express our support for the statement made by Fiji, on
behalf of the G77 and China.
We also express our concern with regard to the format of the work plan of the OWG
on SDGs. We are of the view that the OWG’s work should be intended to pave an
incremental phase toward the substantive deliberation on the elements of the SDGs, which
will be further discussed after February 2014. In this respect, we believe that in order to do
so, we need to build our common understanding on the areas of discussion, so as to see
where our views may be converging, and to identify areas where further discussions will be
needed. In this regard, we are of the opinion that the summary of discussions of each of the
OWGs meeting needs to be discussed to ensure that all concerns and views of Member
States are captured and addressed. We therefore support the view expressed by the previous
speaker that we need to dedicate a specific time slot, at the beginning of each OWGs
meeting, to briefly reflect and discuss the summary of the previous OWG meeting.
In regard to food security, we propose the following assessment and future actions for
our consideration:
• It is our deep conviction that transformation toward sustainable agriculture and
achievement of food security, which includes increasing food production in the developing
countries, are among the most important issues that need to be addressed in the discussion on
SDGs.
• We also noted that while substantial progress has been made in reducing extreme
poverty over the past two decades, mostly as a result of robust economic growth in the key
developing countries, the issues of hunger and malnutrition continue to persist.
• While the MDG target of reducing extreme poverty (MDG 1a) may have already been
reached at the global level, it is projected that achieving the target to reduce hunger (MDG
1c) by 2015, will be difficult. The target related to child nutrition (MDG 1c) is most
probably unlikely to be met and is off-track as confirmed by the World Bank’s progress
assessment.
• The main causes of this rise in global and national food insecurity, among others, are
due to trade barriers imposed by major food exporters, the existing biofuels policies, and
increased food commodity speculation, combined with inefficient national governance to
cope with such shocks.
• These crises have been further exacerbated by environmental and social problems,
such as climate change and rising food demand through changing dietary patterns. The evergrowing
populations have further strained international food markets and are expected to
lead to further rising food prices and unpredictable price volatility.
• The Rio+20 Outcome Document (para 108) reiterates the right of everyone to have
access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and
the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger.
• The Rio+20 Outcome Document further highlights the importance of revitalizing
agricultural and rural development, notably in developing countries, in an economically,
socially and environmentally sustainable manner.
• Food security is built on three pillars: the availability of food, the access to
appropriate foods for a nutritious diet, and the appropriate use of food according to the
knowledge and principles of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate access to
sustainable water resources, particularly for women, children and the elderly.
The focus on improved practices and higher shares of productive land and pastures,
without over grazing, and efficient irrigation systems will therefore positively impact yields,
employment and GDP.
• Therefore, while we consider that fulfilling food security is part and parcel of national
responsibility, we are also convinced that, considering the complex and inter-linked nature of
food security, multilateral cooperation and action should be the integral elements to
overcome this global challenge. In this regard, enhanced global partnership, as well as means
of implementation, are of the utmost importance.
• We are of the view that while addressing this challenge, we must revisit the key
structural issues that determine global food security, especially in the following spheres:
enhancing access to high quality research and technology; promoting trade and investment in
ensuring food security; and environmental-related challenges in the context of the global
food crises.
• It is therefore important that the SDGs address not only the need for sustained-targeted
investment to enhance global food production, but also the systemic problems by improving
global trade, food stock management, agribusiness (improving seeds, fertilizer, pesticides),
infrastructure development, and intellectual property rights for easing access and enhancing
agricultural growth in developing countries.
With regard to the issue of sustainable agriculture, we are of the view that sustainable
agriculture practices are closely related to the issue of food security, as well as, climate
resilience. The Rio Outcome Document (paras 110-113) reiterate the importance of
sustainable agriculture, and the need for increased investment in sustainable agriculture and
practices.
Development in the agricultural sector should also focus on enhancing the
participation of smallholder farmers; increasing the role of traditional sustainable agriculture
practices; and preventing food loss and wastage throughout the supply chain from initial
agricultural production down to final consumption. It also needs to maintain natural
ecological processes that support food production systems.
• Addressing food security will also mean recognizing its cross-cutting issues, among
others, such as effective and long-term land management systems, especially, for women,
together with those of rural development, trade, health, employment, social protection, water,
and biofuel energy vs food challenges.
And finally, the problems of desertification, land degradation and drought
(DLDD) which are the most overlooked, are absolutely vital in the overall consideration of
food security. Land is a central element that links energy, food, water and environmental
health together. Desertification and drought, especially, cause soil and land degradation,
which is closely linked to the two major crises of climate change and loss of biodiversity.
Land degradation is very costly and has very immense far-reaching impact. It has
brought direct effects on one in every four human beings. Soil erosion in the world’s
croplands depletes about 20 billion tons of fertile soil.
• In this regard, we are of the view that developing and implementing proactive national
drought management policies by dealing with impact assessment, preventive, planning and
risk management measures are critical, while at the same time, fostering science, appropriate
technology and innovation, public outreach and resource management.
• To tackle DLDD effectively, its drivers need to be addressed and instruments designed
to incentivize sustainable land management (SLM). Effective measures can only be
introduced by bridging the science-policy gap through knowledge transfers and capacity
building.
• Halting and reversing declines of land productivity by restoring and regenerating land
that is already degraded call for global processes and commitments to implement strategies
and interventions to combat the challenges of land degradation.
These are some initial considerations to set the way forward for our collective
thinking. We from the troika of China, Indonesia and my own country, Kazakhstan, stand
ready to fully contribute to the deliberations of the OWG SDGs as we continue to delineate
concrete and meaningful goals in the post-2015 development phase.
Thank you, Co-Chairs.