by H.E. Dr. NGUYEN VIET THANG
Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
at the 16th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
New York, 14 May 2008
First of all, on behalf of the Government of Vietnam, I would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this important Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. You can stay assured of our Delegationâ€™s full cooperation with and support. Let me express the Vietnamese Government and peopleâ€™s deepest sympathy to the Myanmar and Chinese Governments and peoples for the huge losses of human lives and property caused by recent natural disasters. We are joining hands with the international community to help the victims.
This CSD-16 meeting is covering a wide range of topical and urgent issues, given the fact that during these early years of the 21st century all the countries of the world with no exception have faced alarming eco-environmental degradation and cross-border epidemics, further aggravated by the energy crisis and, most recently, the food crisis. My Delegation wishes to emphasize the imperative for closer cooperation betweeen all stakeholders in striving to resolve those problems, at global, regional and national levels.
Finding solutions to those problems also represents a development priority of the Government of Vietnam. Let me inform you of some of guidelines in the Vietnamese Governmentâ€™s policy to work together with other countries, in fulfilling agriculture-related objectives as stated in the Millennium Declaration.
1. Provide emergency food aid to countries affected by such natural disasters as droughts, typhoons, floods and earthquakes due to global climate changes in order to help them mitigate and resolve consequences, and to restore food and agricultural production.
2. Engage in transferring technologies to a number of other developing countries, particularly bio-technology as well as technologies in bio-diversification and bio-safety as they can be considered strategic tools in food and agricultural production to meet the increasing demands of mankind in the future.
3. Be supportive to South-South Cooperation Program proposals to help African countries within the framework of the Special Program on Food Security. Vietnam has signed agricultural cooperation agreements with Senegal, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Benin, Mali and Guinea to help their farmers develop crops, livestock, fisheries and water resources. This cooperation model has so far proved highly productive and fruitful, and therefore highly welcome and appreciated. Realities have shown that the tripartite cooperation under such programs, with an African country being a direct partner and recipient, Vietnam sharing its experiences and expertise in agricultural development, and an industrialized country or/and an international organization providing the necessary funds, has worked effectively and will continue to be important and necessary in the years ahead.
At present, Vietnam remains an agro-based country. However, with a view to ensuring sustainable agricultural development, the Vietnamese Government has given high priority to protecting and promoting the interests of farmers. In addition, numerous agricultural and rural development measures have been carried out to ensure national food security. As a result, our agriculture has become a great success story over the past twenty years. A net rice importer not long ago, Vietnam has now produced more rice than its consumption needs to become one of the worldâ€™s top three largest rice exporters. However, confronting the current global food crisis that has resulted in enormous price increases, the Vietnamese Government is making all-out efforts to ensure its own national food security while contributing to the worldâ€™s solutions to global food security.
Global climate change is yet another major concern of all countries, international organizations, NGOs and individuals on earth. As widely warned, Vietnam would be among several mostly affected countries. In response, our Government has been intensively working on the National Target Program on adaptation to climate change, to be followed by sectoral action plans in the years to come.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government and people of Vietnam, to thank the United Nations and international community for their cooperation and support that we have enjoyed over the years in agricultural and rural development of Vietnam. I believe that together and with the strong will and determination of the world community led by the United Nations, our MDG commitments will be fulfilled and poverty will be eradicated throughout the world.
I wish this Meeting a great success.
Thank you very much!