Qatar Urges Creation of a Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA) at the 66th Session of UN General Assembly, September 2011
New York, 4th October 2011 – Representatives from the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP), led by Mr Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of the program, called last week for the establishment of a “Global Dry Land Alliance” at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking at the High-Level meeting entitled “Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” which took place on the 20th of September and was hosted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD.)
Mr. Al-Attiya expressed that the international community must confront the urgent problems of desertification, land degradation and drought, with a collective effort. Mr. Al-Attiya said, “These are among the most important issues the world faces today, and they affect the livelihoods and the future of more than two billion people who live on the forty percent of the world’s land that is classified as arid or semi-arid.” Mr. Al-Attiya also called on the international community to renew its commitment to combat desertification and land degradation, and to increase the resilience of countries faced with natural droughts. He noted that the State of Qatar supports the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to help countries severely affected by desertification.
On a national level and within international institutions, the State of Qatar has placed a high priority on improving food security, Mr. al Attiya explained to the other participants at the High Level Meeting. In this connection, Mr. Al-Attiya drew attention to Qatar’s efforts to work with other countries in pursuing food security objectives. He noted that Qatar now is proposing that a group of dry land countries at various stages of development join together in forming a “Global Dry Land Alliance.” (GDLA).
Mr. Al-Attiya said the Global Dry Land Alliance would be a collaborative undertaking by dry land countries most severely affected by challenges to food security and committed to investing in new responses. New research and innovation supported by the GDLA would be targeted to the specific conditions of the members; the knowledge and best practices thus developed could then be shared more broadly with dry land countries around the world. The GDLA members would be dry land countries with common challenges, and the GDLA would be open to partnerships with all countries and multilateral institutions.
Mr. Al-Attiya also had a meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations H.E Ban Ki-Moon and briefed him on the progress of the GDLA since the side-event that was hosted by QNFSP last year at the 65th Session of General Assembly. Mr. Al-Attiya briefed the Secretary General that Qatar would be hosting a Summit in Doha focusing on the issue of Food Security in the Dry Lands. QNFSP is working closely with members of the Secretary General’s High Level Task Force on Food Security to develop further the concept of the GDLA. Mr. Al-Attiya also stated that QNFSP is exploring dedicated innovative financing mechanisms such as UNITAID to provide stable and sustainable financing for Food Security issues and the GDLA.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his gratitude to QNFSP for its on-going efforts to address Food Security issues, both on a national and international scale. The Secretary General stated that the situation in the Horn of Africa is a prime example for the needed increase in global Agricultural output. The Secretary General encouraged the QNFSP to keep working closely with members of his High Level Task Force on Food Security. The Secretary General also stated that establishing another UNITAID initiative focused on Food Security would be an initiative with great potential.
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