Remarks by H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, at the Round Table I: "Poverty and Hunger" High-Level Event on the MDGs

Abdullah Gül 25.09.2008
Distinguished Co-Chairmen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no doubt that the Millennium Development Goals present a crucial test for us all.

In future, when we look back at this particular period, we would all want to be remembered as those who have risen to the challenge, rather than being seen as leaders who failed their responsibilities.

In fact, we have already made considerable progress in this direction. But, there is still a long road ahead of us, requiring collective efforts.

Addressing hunger and poverty holds a central importance in this regard. The latest increase in food prices provided a harsh reminder of this critical fact, as millions have been pushed into further poverty as a result.

We must now do everything possible to cut off this vicious circle and promote a truly global partnership to enhance food security. From a broader perspective, our success in alleviating the food crisis and defeating poverty will also contribute to our collective security.

In fact, the measures to be taken for that are already well-known. They range from enhanced agricultural productivity to supporting pro-poor growth strategies. Now is the time to act upon these ideas with a firm political will.

Turkey is ready to embark on this road. In fact, we are already doing more in this direction. For instance, our humanitarian and development assistance has increased over the years, exceeding 1 billion US Dollars per year.

In particular, we have become an important donor for the World Food Program and other food agencies which hold a special place in our fight against hunger and poverty.

Thus, I am pleased to announce today the Turkish Government's decision to create a strategic reserve fund of 50 million US Dollars for the next three years to support World Food Program and other related flash appeals.

Likewise, we have instructed the Turkish International Development Agency (TIKA) to further increase its activities related to food security, such as helping small and medium-scale agricultural enterprises raise their output, promoting school feeding programs and investing on yield-enhancing technologies.

Distinguished Co-Chairmen,

Allow me to conclude by reiterating Turkey's firm commitment to the Millennium Development Goals in general and eradication of poverty and hunger in particular.

Yes, the goals are ambitious. Besides, the circumstances we deal with are getting more demanding. But, this should not lead to detraction from our ultimate objective.

Our success today means a more peaceful, stable and prosperous world tomorrow. So, we have no other option than pressing on and succeeding.

Thank you.