12 January 2012
"World Food Programme - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Five decades of partnership"
Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“World Food Programme- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Five decades of partnership”
Palais des Nations, Mezzanine, E Building, 2nd floor
Thursday, 12 January 2012 at 1 p.m.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a pleasure to welcome you all for this exhibition which commemorates five decades of partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the World Food Programme. I would especially like to thank the World Food Programme for its organization of this special event. As you will see from the photographs, the generous contributions of Saudi Arabia to the work of WFP have had a direct impact on the lives of beneficiaries around the world. And I am particularly pleased to showcase this partnership here at the Palais des Nations. In this context, I would like on behalf of UNOG to express deep appreciation to Saudi Arabia for its large scale assistance to those who are in the greatest need.
Having always been seen as a critical issue, food security most recently caught the attention of the world last year with the crisis in the Horn of Africa. It also drew attention to the work of the United Nations in supporting people in crisis. During crisis situations, and at times in more permanent situations, food aid is needed to help to improve the lives of the poorest people. People are sometimes unable to produce enough food or do not have the resources to otherwise obtain the food that they and their households require for active and healthy lives. However, food security is also part of the wider agenda of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.
The United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon has highlighted sustainable development as a top priority – or “generational opportunity” – for his second term and beyond. Food security is one of the issues – interlinked with climate change, energy and water resources, and economic and social development - that form the sustainable development agenda. There is a need for these issues to be addressed comprehensively and the upcoming Rio plus 20 conference in June will give us the chance to do just that.
As we enjoy this exhibition, let us reflect on the efforts of the World Food Programme and other arms of the United Nations to combat hunger and promote sustainability around the world. Let us also express our appreciation for the contributions of Saudi Arabia to support this vital work.
Thank you for your attention.