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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
General Assembly
3 December 2013



General Assembly
GA/EF/3390

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly
Second Committee
39th Meeting (PM)

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES 7 DRAFT RESOLUTIONS INCLUDING TEXT

ON REDUCING POST-HARVEST FOOD LOSSES, WASTE


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Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on several draft resolutions addressing sustainable development, globalization and interdependence, and eradication of poverty.

Action on Drafts

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A draft resolution titled “Agriculture technology for development” (document A/C.2/68/L.38 Rev.1) was then put before the Committee.

Since the document was only submitted this morning, the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly was waived.

The representative of Israel noted editorial changes in the document and thanked the delegations that took part in the negotiations.

A recorded vote on the resolution was requested by the delegation of Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Arab Group.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said there was no reason to present the draft resolution as its content had been covered by a resolution previously submitted by the G77 and China. The resolution did not take into account the needs of developing countries; including technology transfer requirements, financing and the elimination of obstacles created by agricultural commodities. There were many resolutions that requested Israel to refrain from its practices of occupation which were ignored by the occupying Power.

Israel should not manipulate the United Nations in such a fashion by attempting to hide their policies that had undermined agricultural efforts in the occupied territories since 1967, he said. Numerous United Nations reports described those practices and measures that went against moral rules and negatively impacted the living conditions of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. Israel’s practices that included the destruction of farmland, the construction of a separation wall and the creation of obstacles that prevented Palestinians from accessing natural resources, demonstrated Israel’s lack of commitment to agriculture for development. The Arab Group believed Israel only pretended to be interested in the sector, while their real objective was to destroy all agricultural activities in the occupied territories.

The representative of Syria said that Israel ignored the comprehensive draft resolution previously submitted by the Group of 77 and China. Instead, the Israeli delegation chose to submit another draft resolution, which diluted the focus of earlier commitments. The United Nations had approved a number of resolutions that emphasized that Israel should not continue with its practices of occupation, yet the country chose to ignore such resolutions.

Israel continued to take more of Syria’s agricultural land and deprived them of scarce water resources, he said. Israel allocated very small areas to the Syrians in the Golan, while allocating large quantities of water at reduced prices to Israeli settlers. Such practices were racist and inhumane. Syria called on all Member States to consider the real objectives behind the submission of the draft resolution as an attempt by the occupying Power to improve its image and spread its propaganda.

The Committee then approved the text, as orally corrected, by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 1 against ( Bolivia), with 34 abstentions.

The representative of Israel said that today’s resolution was about improving the lives and livelihoods of millions across the developing world. “Agriculture is about more than simply producing food, fibres and fuels, it’s about helping communities flourish,” he said. From China to Nigeria, more than one billion people worked in agriculture — making it the world’s second-largest source of employment. Yet, far too many farmers “don’t taste the fruit of financial fortune”. Most of the 1.4 billion living in extreme poverty were in rural areas and depended on agriculture for their livelihoods. Those struggling farmers had been trapped in a cycle of poverty, but given the right conditions they could break free and unleash a sustainable agricultural revolution.

A growing global population required technology to produce and preserve more food, he stressed. Today’s resolution would support farmers’ ingenuity, imagination and innovation and would provide them with the technology to progress from poverty to prosperity. Women comprised the majority of the agricultural workforce in many developing countries. As a result of persistent discrimination, female farmers have inferior seeds, fewer fertilizers and tools. “No business in any country can make healthy margins by marginalizing half the population,” he said. By investing in female farmers, it was possible to increase crop yields by 30 per cent and feed an additional 150 million each year. It was also crucial to address the struggle of rural youth.

Few countries could benefit more from agricultural technology than the Arab world, where “people are hungry for change and thirsty for progress”, he said. Yet, the Arab governments were stubbornly determined to put politics before people. The focus must be on people having the training, tools, and opportunities they needed to support their families and their communities. Developing countries held in their hands the seeds of the future, he said.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, exercising the right of reply, said that he was impressed with the rhetoric from the delegate of Israel. Those who had the ability to understand it would recognize that the statements were weak and had no objectives. Saudi Arabia was a prosperous State and the Government there was characterized by full stability. The country was developing in all fields and would never use technology provided by Israel, but instead worked with its Arab brothers.

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The Chair then gave the floor to an observer for the State of Palestine to make a statement with regard to the draft resolution titled “Agricultural technology for development” submitted by Israel and previously approved by the Committee. He said that Palestinian farmers were deprived from reaching their lands and waters as a result of the continued Israeli occupation. The draft resolution submitted by Israel did not have any financial implications, but it had moral implications.

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Israel said that taking cheap shots seemed to be the Palestinian delegation’s favourite sport. He said it was convenient that in his remarks the Palestinian representative failed to mention human rights abuses in the West Bank and similar violations in Gaza by the Hamas terrorist organization. It was unfortunate that the Palestinian delegation continued to politicize the discussion.

The observer for the State of Palestine said that Israel, the occupying Power, would shoulder full responsibility for its practices and violations of international laws. The representative of Israel must understand that the Palestinian people would never hesitate or surrender to their lies and occupation. The occupying Power would pay, sooner or later, the price of exploiting natural resources and its violations of United Nations resolutions.


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For information media • not an official record


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