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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Security Council High Level Open Debate on the Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security

2024-02-13 18:00

Mr. President,

Let me start by thanking you, President Ali for coming to the UN to preside over this high level meeting. I thank Secretary-General Guterres, Executive Secretary Stiell and Deputy Director-General Bechdol for their briefings. I have also listened attentively to the statement by Ms. Roesch.

Climate change is closely linked to the survival and development of humanity. China supports the international community in taking robust actions to respond to the challenges posed by climate change. With regard to the relationship between climate change and security, the Council has discussed this issue on multiple occasions in recent years, and some common understanding has emerged. However, the specific connection or interplay between the two has yet to be further analyzed and understood. Some conflicts, obviously, do not have a direct linkage to climate change. Therefore, each situation should be studied carefully based on its own merits, to determine the root causes of the problem and in what way may efforts be made to address it.

At the same time, we have also noticed that an increasing number of extreme weather events have dealt a heavy blow to global food production, and developing countries are bearing the brunt. Its negative impact should not be overlooked. China calls for targeted actions to help developing countries enhance climate resilience, ensure food security, and break the vicious cycle of climate, hunger and conflict.

First, strengthen global humanitarian assistance. The right to food is a basic human right, and should therefore be respected and guaranteed by all countries. At present, some countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are facing severe food crises and are in urgent need of international assistance. China calls on developed countries to provide more emergency humanitarian assistance in terms of food and finance to developing countries in need. At the same time, it must be emphasized that humanitarian assistance should not be used as a tool for pressure, nor should there be any political strings attached. In Gaza, access to humanitarian supplies including food are in severe shortage and still face mounting hurdles. In Afghanistan, tens of millions of people are suffering from lack of food and clothing in the middle of winter. This tragic reality is not acceptable. We call on relevant countries to heed the call for justice from the international community, and act responsibly to avoid greater humanitarian disasters.

Second, take accelerated action to bridge the developmental divide between the North and the South. Global food production is fully sufficient to feed the world’s population, but there are still nearly 800 million people who suffer from hunger. This is a reflection of unbalanced and inadequate global development, which can only be fundamentally resolved through common development. The international community should take full advantage of the Summit of the Future and other opportunities to address prominent issues faced by developing countries. Developed countries should not be content with only pronouncing slogans, but should effectively deliver on their official development assistance commitments and climate financing commitments, and eliminate unreasonable agricultural subsidies. We must firmly reject unilateral sanctions and neo-imperialistic attempts of decoupling, severing supply chains and technology barriers. We must create a fair and enabling international environment for developing countries to participate in the global market, share the dividends of emerging industries, and upgrade their agricultural industries.

Third, improve the global food and agriculture governance system. Entrenched ills such as pricing power monopoly by big international food dealers and high degree of financialization of agricultural products have created turbulence and imbalance in the global food market. Efforts must be made to remove the blockages and bridge the gaps in food production and supply chains, and make it safe, stable, smooth, efficient, open, inclusive, and mutually beneficial. It is necessary to enhance the representation, voice and decision making power of developing countries, to make international food and agriculture governance fairer and more equitable. UN food and agriculture agencies and international financial institutions should channel more support to developing countries in terms of situation analysis, policy recommendations, and assistance coordination, so as to enhance the ability of developing countries to participate in global food and agricultural governance. It is also necessary to help developing countries develop climate adaptative modern agriculture, and to enhance their agricultural efficiency and ability to cope with climate change.

Mr. President,

China attaches great importance to both combating climate change and maintaining food security, and has taken robust actions. With only 9% of the world’s arable land and 6% of the world’s freshwater resources, China produces 1/4 of the world’s food and feeds 1/5 of the world’s population. China has adopted the National Climate Adaptation Strategy 2035, and has focused on developing green and climate smart agriculture while promoting rural revitalization and achieving carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals. China has put forward the Global Development Initiative and the International Food Security Cooperation Initiative, with a view to helping developing countries improve their capacities in food production, storage, and the reduction of damage and loss. China also ranks first among developing countries under the South-South cooperation framework of the FAO in the provision of financial assistance, number of experts dispatched, and the number of projects executed.

At the end of last year, China, together with more than 130 countries, signed the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action in Dubai. China, as a real practitioner of climate action, is ready to work with all countries to implement the outcome of COP28, and make greater contributions to addressing climate change and maintaining food security.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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