Sri Lanka has urged for corrective measures to be taken to mitigate the effect of price volatility of food crops, in order to ensure food security. Addressing the 29th annual session of the Governing Council of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) in The Hague, The Netherlands yesterday (7th December 2017), the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to The Netherlands, Mr A.M.J. Sadiq made this call, in the National Statement on behalf of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Ambassador noted that over the last decade, there has been growing concern regarding the insufficient supply of commodities to meet increasing global demand. The negative impact of climate change, manifested by erratic weather patterns and environmental degradation, is making agricultural production and food prices less predictable and less stable.
Elaborating further, Ambassador Sadiq stated that, “Food is a basic human right. With more than a billion people currently facing under-nourishment, corrective measures are urgently required to end excessive market speculation in commodity trading to ensure that food is accessible at affordable prices at all times around the world. Since the vast majority of the poorest people of the world live in net food importing countries, international institutions, such as the CFC should support projects and programmes that mitigate the effect of price volatility of food crops, thereby ensuring food security.”
He commended the unique and important role of the CFC in combating poverty in developing countries by promoting greater productivity and increased income, as well as enhanced export earnings from commodities. He also appreciated the support extended by the Common Fund to commodity dependent developing countries in their socio-economic development through the financing of commodity focused projects.
Highlighting the importance of commodities to the economies of developing countries, especially the least developed countries, the Sri Lankan Ambassador noted, “It is estimated that out of the roughly two and a half billion people engaged in agriculture in developing countries, about one billion earn a significant part of their income from the production of export commodities. According to UNCTAD statistics, commodities account for about 80% of aggregate exports of the least developed countries.”
Speaking further, he said, “The Common Fund has consistently fostered sustainable commodity development. Unregulated and rapid trade liberalization within many developing countries has resulted in the value chain from farmer to exporter getting eroded or breaking down. Therefore, we welcome the initiative of the CFC that has facilitated the rebuilding of such trading structures with market orientation.”
Ambassador Sadiq deposited the Instrument of Ratification of Sri Lanka to the Agreement establishing the CFC, signed by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana at this Meeting. The Governing Council endorsed the appointment of Ambassador Sadiq as Executive Director and Mr Syed Mahmood Hassan of Pakistan as Alternate Executive Director for the constituency of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the CFC for the year 2018.
The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) is an autonomous inter-governmental financial institution established within the framework of the United Nations. The Agreement establishing the Common Fund for Commodities was negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1976 to 1980 and became effective in 1989. The first commodity development project was approved in 1991.
The Common Fund for Commodities forms a partnership of 101 Member States and 9 institutional members. Membership of the Fund is open to all States Members of the United Nations or any of its specialised agencies, or of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and intergovernmental organisations of regional economic integration which exercise competence in the fields of activity of the Fund.
The Common Fund’s mandate is to enhance the socio-economic development of commodity producers and contribute to the development of society as a whole. In line with its market-oriented approach, the Fund concentrates on commodity development projects financed from its resources.
The apex bodies of the CFC, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, are the Governing Council and the Executive Board. The Managing Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund. The Executive Board is advised by a Consultative Committee, comprising nine independent experts, on technical and economic aspects of projects submitted to the Fund. The Governing Council meets once a year, and the Executive Board and Consultative Committee biannually.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
The Hague, The Netherlands
8th December 2017