RIO DE JANEIRO, June 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- "We want to say that we live in a sustainable world, but we cannot claim this when we have one billion starving people. Eradicating hunger is a top priority for the United Nations. So I would like to congratulate Qatar for its leadership in changing this situation through establishing the Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA)." With this important statement, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon today set the tone for the last day of discussions in Rio at the Qatar Sustainability Forum.
The Secretary General joined other world leaders in a panel discussion on "Partnering for Food Security: the Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA)." The panel was hosted by the GDLA, an alliance of dry land nations collaborating on food security issues.
The Panel was attended by His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Chairman of the Qatar Administrative Control and Transparency Authority and head of Qatar's delegation to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, HE Dr. Khaled bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs and HE Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
"One of the key objectives of the UN is to feed the world's population," said the Secretary General. "At the moment, one-third of the food produced in the planet is wasted. This means that we have enough food, but the system is unable to ensure it reaches everyone."
His Excellency Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, Executive Chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme, led the day's discussion on food security by outlining Qatar's commitment to a master plan for renewable energy, water management and sustainable agriculture and called on other nations to participate in a collaborative effort for addressing global food concerns. "Qatar is committed to doing more than simply addressing our own food and water security concerns," said Chairman Al-Attiya. "We are proud to join with nations from around the world to share research, best practices and resources in a formal alliance of dry land states."
Joining him on the stage of the Qatar Pavilion at Rio+20 were major Qatari and world leaders such as the GDLA Director and Ambassador of the State of Qatar His Excellency Bader Al-Dafa; former president of the Government of Spain Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero; Senior Diplomatic Advisor to the GDLA Mr. Miguel Moratinos; UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director Parviz Koohafkan; World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin; Chief Development Strategist for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Mr. Carlos Sere.
Covering some 40 percent of the world's surface, dry land areas are home to two billion people. The GDLA programs will address the challenges that face these nations. "Our mission is to develop capabilities to achieve food security in dry land areas and also share technology with the less developed countries," stressed Ambassador Bader Al-Dafa.
More than 10 percent of these areas suffer from the effects of human activities, resulting in the erosion of arable land, rising water shortages, salinization, desertification and loss of biodiversity. In these countries, concerns about food security are on the rise, with sustainable integrated strategies for agriculture and heightened water usage awareness. "We must produce food while respecting the environment, we must learn from Nature in order to preserve it," said former President of the Government of Spain, Jose Luis Rodrigues Zapatero. "I commend the State of Qatar for their leadership on this issue Dry land nations must come together to address food security and Qatar has taken an important step by dedicating resources to get things started," added Zapatero.
Concluding the panel presentation, Miguel Moratinos, the Senior Diplomatic Advisor of the GDLA, emphasized the role to be played by the GDLA in global society in combating the threats of the 21st century by new innovative means. "The GDLA is our contribution to mitigating hunger and addressing water shortages."
About the Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA)
The GDLA is a collaborative undertaking by countries severely affected by dry land challenges. The treaty-based alliance is designed to combat the threat of food insecurity, create solutions to common food security problems, and provide mutual assistance in times of extraordinary need. In anticipation of sharing knowledge and best practices with populations suffering from hunger and poverty, the GDLA will engage in joint research and technological innovation; direct funding to existing organizations for specified research and program implementation; improve members' food security policies and planning; mitigate members' food security vulnerabilities; and create food crisis response capabilities. The alliance was initiated by His Highness the Heir Apparent of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani through the Qatar National Food Security Programme.
SOURCE Qatar Nacional Food Security Programme