HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim affirmed that the State of Qatar has made significant strides in the field of food security, while actively contributing to international efforts to promote sustainable development and food security in the least developed countries.
This came in a speech delivered by His Excellency at the 5th conference of the Arab Parliament and Speakers of Arab Councils and Parliaments, held today in Cairo and tackled the most important challenges facing Arab countries in food security and the role that parliamentarians can play to overcome these challenges, in addition to the state of instability, crises and conflicts that are sweeping some Arab countries.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar has made great progress in achieving food security, as it ranked first in the Arab world and twenty-fourth in the world in the food security index of 2021. Qatar's Food Security Strategy (2018-2023), which is currently being updated, aims to enhance national food production, diversify import sources, and establish a strategic reserve that balances food stocks, he indicated.
The State of Qatar has invested heavily in developing food and agricultural policies, infrastructure, market updates, ports, and storage reserves, His Excellency said adding that Qatar has attached great attention to food security research, established a fund to sponsor agricultural and food research, and intensified efforts to adapt to climate change, conserve various resources, and utilize renewable energy in the agricultural sector.
In the international context, HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al-Ghanim referred to the the State of Qatar's contribution to supporting international efforts to achieve sustainable development, and to assist the least developed countries in securing food as a strategic partner in the development of these countries, pointing to the Doha's preparations to host the second part of the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, slated for Mar. 5-9 and set to gather heads of state and government, representatives of civil society and other stakeholders.
His Excellency called on the Arab countries to tackle the problem of food security by enacting legislation, and exchanging experiences, studies and information related to this field .. stressing the importance of coordination between all relevant authorities within each country.
He pointed out that the Arab countries suffer from a food gap, caused by natural reasons such as the scarcity of water resources, climate change, epidemics and pandemics that have swept the world, or by human reasons such as population density, instability due to wars and conflicts and the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, stressing the importance of cooperation and integration, and setting joint plans, projects, and mechanisms to achieve them.
He stated that the Arab food gap amounted to about USD 35.3 billion in 2020, of which grains accounted for 47.8 percent, indicating that addressing this gap requires vertical expansion in the production of grains and oilseeds of various kinds, as well as improving animal production systems to provide more meat, dairy and dairy products.
HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim voiced hope that the draft document of the Fifth Conference of the Arab Parliament, entitled "Parliamentary Vision for strengthening Arab Food Security", after its revision, would be an important contribution to the 5th session of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit to be held in Mauritania later this year.
In the context of his speech, HE the Speaker of the Shura Council touched on the developments in the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which only get worse under each new Israeli government. He added that during the short period in which Netanyahu's extremist government assumed power, occupation forces and settlers killed dozens whilst more than 560 Palestinians were arrested, hundreds were injured, homes were demolished and farms were leveled, with the aggression continuing to grow ever fierce and criminal, with no consideration to the calls of the international community.
In this context, His Excellency reiterated the State of Qatar's condemnation of the crimes committed by Israel, calling on parliaments to intensify their efforts and moves in regional and international parliamentary forums to support the brotherly Palestinian people, to stop the repeated attacks committed by the occupation forces against them, which amount to war crimes. He expressed his certainty that the Arab and Islamic worlds will not experience stability and will not achieve the desired growth, as long as occupation, injustice, violations and the absence of justice continue, stressing that there will be no peace until the Palestinian people obtain their right to establish their independent state on their liberated land on the borders of June 4, 1967, with its capital Jerusalem.
On another issue, the Shura Council Speaker reaffirmed that the recent attacks on Islamic sanctities and the insulting of Islamic religious symbols, including the burning of copies of the Holly Quran in several European countries, are yet another episode and escalation in a series of previous attacks that occur from time to time. His Excellency added that for their insults to Islam and Muslims not to continue, it is imperative to carry on calling for the enactment of international legislation that distinguishes between the limits of personal freedoms and contempt for religions, and criminalizes offending the feelings of millions of people, insisting that some disapproving countries’ rejections of this must not deter the Islamic World from these endeavors.
In his speech, the Speaker of the Shura Council made a reference to the State of Qatar’s success in hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, despite the unprecedented attacks Qatar was subjected to by parties that were hostile to the Arab and Islamic worlds. He added that he had hoped that the Arab Parliament would have fulfill the will of the majority of its members to addressing these attacks early on by issuing a statement condemning and denouncing these malicious attacks against Qatar's hosting of the World Cup.
In this regard, His Excellency extended thanks and appreciation to HE the President of the Pan-African Parliament Fortune Charumbira for his support and to all parliamentarians who confronted these attacks.
In conclusion, HE the Speaker of the Shura Council stressed the responsibility of parliamentarians to fulfill the aspirations and wishes of their peoples and to strive for their causes, stressing the importance of finding an effective coordination mechanism amongst Arab parliaments, and unifying positions in the service of the Arab and Islamic nations.
HE the Speaker of the Shura Council had started his speech by referring to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey which left massive destruction behind, leading to the death and injury of tens of thousands, expressing his deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.