Statement by Mr. Md Faruk Hossain, Minister, Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the United Nations at the General Discussions on Agenda Item 23, Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition, 11 October 2023

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor.

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements of G-77 and China and the LDC Group.

Mr.  Chair,

Zero hunger is an important SDG goal. As per the Secretary General’s report, about 735 million people in the world faced chronic hunger in 2022. Nearly 20 percent of the population in Africa is facing hunger. Worldwide, 2.4 billion people were moderately or severely food insecure in 2022, and relatively more women and people in rural areas lacked access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food year-round. Over 1.3 billion people, despite their key role in global food production, cannot afford the cost of food and other necessities.

Mr. Chair,

The world is clearly off track in achieving the SDG goal of zero hunger. Food and nutrition are also intimately connected to many other SDGs. Food insecurity affects poverty alleviation, good health and well-being, and attainment of education. Food insecurity also affects the goal of gender equality as women and girls suffer disproportionately in the face of poverty, chronic hunger, and malnutrition.

Mr. Chair,

In Bangladesh, we are addressing food insecurity holistically. Despite being a small landmass with 170 million people, Bangladesh has become self-sufficient in food production through a combination of agricultural transformations, climate adaptation, and prudent use of land. We, however, need increased investments in our agriculture sector to enhance productivity, and for effective food storage and distribution systems. Developing countries need uninterrupted access to fertilizer and research collaboration for climate-resilient crops. Agriculture scientists in Bangladesh are now working on salinity-tolerant crop varieties for our coastal areas. Bangladesh stands ready to share its good practices with others on that.

Mr. Chair,

Many complex but interconnected factors drive the worsening trends of hunger, acute food insecurity and malnutrition. Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine, climate variability and extreme weather patterns impacting food production, rise of commodity prices in the world market, resource constraints, economic difficulties and social and political instability have all compounded the crisis.


Mr. Chair,

As a way forward, allow me to highlight a few points:

First, we must prioritize food security in countries in special situations-the LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS. These countries are disproportionately affected by the shocks of the pandemic, climate crisis, conflicts, and global food market volatility. The food stockholding mechanism as agreed in the Doha Programme of Action should be operationalized at the earliest.  There should be provisions for regional ‘food banks’ that could be activated during emergencies.

Second, Factors that affect food price and access such as export restrictions, stockpiling, and supply chain distortions must be addressed. In this regard, we fully support the Secretary General’s call to keep markets open, remove unnecessary export restrictions, and release food reserves to improve the food supply. We must try to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Third, Global food insecurity must be addressed at all levels through collective action. It’s crucial to mobilize all stakeholders, including major donors, international financial institutions, UN systems and other global and regional blocs, including G20, G7, EU, AU, to coordinate international and domestic financial, fiscal, industrial, agricultural policies and actions to address this crisis.

Finally, Mr. Chair,

Transforming the global food systems must be at the top of our agenda. We need to rethink how we produce, process, distribute, consume, and dispose of food and agricultural products.  We need to work in harmony with nature, not against it, to balance economic development, sustainability, and resilience, and manage biodiversity and natural resources.

I thank you.