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EOP by the United States – Resolution on the Food Crisis
October 1, 2009

Resolution: Followup to the Special Session on the Food Crisis UN Human Rights Council – 12th Session

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States is pleased to take the significant step of joining consensus on a resolution that discusses such an important topic. As Secretary Clinton has said, “Massive hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies, and borders. People who are starving, who have no incomes, who can’t care for their families, are left with feelings of hopelessness and desperation.” The United States is dedicated to promoting food security around the world. That is why we are committed to the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and who live in extreme poverty by 2015. The United States agrees with the sentiment in this resolution that the world food situation is a problem of profound significance and we agree with much of what is stated in this resolution, especially the need to work together to ensure greater access to safe and nutritious food.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets forth the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, which includes the opportunity to secure food without discrimination. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights provides for a right to an adequate standard of living for health and well-being and provides for a right to be free from hunger, which are to be realized progressively in accordance with available resources, and which means access to food should be non-discriminatory and states who have undertaken a legal obligation to progressively realize these rights should, in accordance with their available resources, aid their citizens that are the most vulnerable to hunger. While the United States is not a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and by joining consensus on this resolution does not recognize any change in the current state of conventional or customary international law regarding rights related to food, we are committed to human dignity and have established numerous programs both at the state and federal levels to assist our citizens in accessing food, which are particularly important in this time of economic difficulty. In the United States, our commitment to food and nutrition assistance programs has been guided by three straightforward principles: to reduce hunger and food insecurity by ensuring that all Americans who are eligible and wish to participate can receive program services easily, and with dignity and respect; to help citizens in-need to acquire not only good food but also the nutrition skills and motivation they need to improve the well-being of their families; and finally, to be conscientious and accountable stewards of the public investment in these sizable and important programs.

At the July, 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, together with more than 25 countries and organizations, we agreed on principles for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to support country-led food security strategies, and collectively pledged $20 billion to that effort. On September 26, Secretary Clinton co-hosted with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a meeting attended by representatives from more than 130 countries to discuss how best to address global hunger and food security. Our goal is to make sure that enough food is available to people everywhere, and that they have the resources to purchase it. This is a key foreign policy objective of President Obama and his administration. In this spirit we are pleased to join consensus in adopting this resolution.

Thank you.