Permanent representation of the RS to the UN /7 May, Agriculture & Rural Dev. /

Agriculture and Rural Development

7 May 2008




Sixteenth Session, New York, 05 – 16 May 2008





Statement by

Mr. Leonard MIZZI

European Commission



on behalf of the European Union

New York, 7 May 2008



The European Union (EU) believes that agriculture and rural development have an important role to play in meeting our Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) commitments and in realising the internationally accepted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Our JPOI commitments in the field of agriculture and rural development imply two major challenges:


-     The objectives of poverty eradication, food security and sustainable natural resource management need to be seen as inter-linked and addressed in a coherent and integrated manner.


-     Social, economic, cultural, health and environmental impacts must be taken into account throughout the lifecycle of agricultural and food production, including the sustainable use of fertilizers and pesticides. Basic standards of sustainable development in agricultural production are needed.


Internally, the EU is addressing these challenges:


Integration of environmental requirements into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is achieved through incentive-based measures under rural development policies, general requirements of cross compliance and the promotion of organic farming. Measures are targeted at encouraging better soil and water management, preserving biodiversity and landscapes and tackling climate change. Proper attention is being paid to rural communities, the quality of rural life and new opportunities for rural people.  


·          Under the EU climate change policy agriculture and rural development shall be encouraged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and initiate adaptation to climate change. Expanding the production of biomass and renewable energy sources can help to meet the EU greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol and can represent a new economic opportunity for rural regions. CAP measures promote the production and use of biomass. The EU is working to set minimum standards for the sustainable production of biofuels and emphasises the need for early assessment and monitoring of the social, economic and environmental consequences, especially as regards food security and biodiversity.


·          The EU supports a strong food quality policy with the aim to encourage diverse agricultural production, to protect product names from misuse and imitation, and to raise the awareness of consumers and producers.

·          Regarding market access and international trade, a subject matter which was discussed at length during yesterday’s panel discussion, it is important to reiterate that the EU actively supports policies that will enable developing countries benefit from better access to international markets, whether at a multilateral or bilateral level. The 1992 reform initiated a significant shift in the Common Agricultural Policy: reduction in price support and introduction of direct payments. The latest step was achieved with the 2003 reform and the move towards decoupled income support. Once the latest reforms will be fully implemented almost 90% of support will be decoupled from production. The EU has already significantly decreased its trade distorting support and through its cross compliance scheme encourages farmers to meet EU standards on the environment, food safety, plant health, animal health and animal welfare. On market access, the EU already granted Duty Free Quota Free access to Least Developed Countries in 2001, and the same approach has been extended to African-Caribbean and Pacific countries last year in the case of Economic Partnership Agreements with very limited transition periods for sugar and rice. This provided unprecedented market access to these countries.



Thank you.







Statement by


Deputy Head of Delegation


on behalf of the European Union

New York, 7 May 2008


Mr. Chair!


In addition to the statement made earlier for the previous session on Agriculture and Rural Development by the European Commission Slovenia would on behalf of the EU like to highlight some important challenges in the area of agriculture and rural development within the EU 27 and also worldwide.


·          In the EU a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection is designed to ensure the sustainable use of soil and to protect its vital functions. Explicit links with climate change and Integrated Water Resource Management are established.


·          The long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats is pursued by the Natura 2000 network. Biodiversity is also addressed by CAP measures, notably cross compliance and Rural Development Policy.


·          The EU launched in 2004 a Community Programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture.

The EU believes that actions are required at the international level. The further promotion of the precautionary principle in agricultural policies is vital for the achievement of sustainable development. We would also like to draw your attention to COP9 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) where the EU is promoting among other things the following three issues:


a. The establishment of sound policy frameworks which ensure the sustainable production and consumption of bioenergy, as well as the development of biodiversity-related guidelines under the CBD, and


b. Enhanced implementation of the CBD programme of work on agricultural biodiversity, including in the areas of assessment, adaptive management and capacity building, research, mainstreaming in wider policy frameworks, climate change as well as strengthening of international initiatives on pollination, food and nutrition and soil by cooperation of the CBD and FAO.


c. The close cooperation between the CBD and FAO in particular in implementation of the CBD programme of work on agricultural biodiversity and the Multi-year Programme of Work (MyPoW) of the FAO Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as there are strong linkages between both programmes.


·          The EU supports the sustainable production and consumption of sustainable biofuels by welcoming international initiatives on this matter, including partnerships operating in the context of the G8 Gleneagles' Dialogue such as the Global Bioenergy Partnership which promotes a shared understanding with a view to developing a voluntary and flexible framework on sustainable bioenergy and ways to achieve it.


·          The EU Water Initiative (EUWI), launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), aims to achieve WSSD targets for drinking water and sanitation within an integrated approach to water resource management.


·          The EU supports and promotes the implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Its objectives are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use. The Treaty’s implementation is essential for the achievement of MDG 1 and 7 and contributes to food security. We would like to urge countries that have not yet done so, to ratify or accede to the International Treaty, in order to further global cooperation. Furthermore, the EU supports and promotes the FAO Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and its Multi-year Programme of Work. In addition, support is given to the Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources and to the work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. The important role of the Global Crop Diversity Trust in the field of ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources worldwide is highly acknowledged. In this context, we would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Norway on the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.


With this intervention we complete the EU contribution to the session on agriculture and rural development.


Thank you for your attention.