* Exposición realizada el 30 de julio de 2008 en la sede de la CEPAL por el presidente de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, Dr. Srgjan Kerim.
The history of CEPAL is the history of efforts to forge closer regional integration in Latin America.
As a European, I hope I can modestly claim that this model of regional integration is essential to overcome divides -whether ideological, political, economic or cultural. The European Union has made a very positive contribution to these goals and provided a template for others to follow. It is now a block of 27 countries, representing almost 500 million people and US$15 trillions GDP in PPP terms -second only to the NAFTA which has GDP of US$15.8 trillions. Considered as a single economy, the EU is the world's largest economy by nominal a GDP.
UNASUR, with 12 member States and four official language combines the strengths and energies of 370 million people and has a combined GDP of almost US$ 3 trillions in PPP terms.
It is clear from these developments that in the future regional integration will play an increasingly important role in global affairs.
However, regional solutions in themselves are insufficient to overcome the types of global challenges we are now confronted with. Regional actions must feed into a common effort through the web of existing international institutions, primarily the United Nations, and must be based on shared values and shared responsibilities.
This is the reason why poverty reduction and economic development have been such critical priorities of the 62nd session of the General Assembly; and, why we have debated the recent global food and energy crisis, because these are issues that affect all, and which we must all be part of, if we are to agree on sustainable global solutions.
Rising fuel costs have increased prices for fertilizers and pesticides, land and subsidies set aside for bio-fuels has taken food off the worlds table, and the growing demand for meat in Asia has diverted grain to livestock feed. Inflationary pressures have been unleashed even though there is enough food to go around.
However, the food crisis also offers a win-win opportunity for the international community to collectively agree to policies that promote trade efficiency while also boosting agricultural production and reducing the vulnerability of the poorest around the world.
The Secretary-General was right in establishing an interagency Task Force to address ,,the widespread hunger, malnutrition and social unrest, that soaring food prices have brought. About but we need to go further to identify the scope, nature and the implications of the food crisis, followed by concrete measures for its resolution.
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