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Volume 150 Number 6 - Wednesday, 18 November 2009
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WORLD SUMMIT ON FOOD SECURITY
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The third World Summit on Food Security continued on 17 November 2009 at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. Throughout the day, heads of delegations from 82 countries and organizations made statements. Two parallel round tables also took place: in the morning round table, delegates addressed the implementation of the reform of global governance of food security; during the afternoon round table, they discussed the challenges imposed by climate change adaptation and mitigation on agriculture and food security.

HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

Highlighting the negative effects of rising oil prices on investment levels, President Robert Mugabe, ZIMBABWE, said his country adopted a biofuels strategy using marginalized lands, and urged developed countries to make available inputs, including fertilizers. Emphasizing the need to make food policies more effective, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the CONGO, called on the Summit to define physical and financial performance criteria for results-based agriculture policies and to implement an emergency plan for countries suffering from food shortages. President Malam Bacai Sanhá, GUINEA-BISSAU, said his country needs capacity-building support to process primary products for increased export revenues. He urged a positive outcome for the Doha negotiations.

President Lugo Méndez, PARAGUAY, highlighted the role of women in agriculture and stressed the need to enable smallholder and large-scale agricultural production to operate simultaneously. He said oversight over the proposed CFS reforms is required to ensure improved global governance. President Abbas El Fassi, MOROCCO, emphasized the need to invest heavily in agriculture, particularly through financial and technical support to poor countries. Prime Minister Jim Marurai, COOK ISLANDS, said the world is becoming “too accepting of the word hunger,” and highlighted growing vulnerability to climate extremes exacerbated by human-induced climate change.

Emphasizing that the financial crisis has caused declines in development assistance, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, TURKEY, encouraged resource allocation to the agricultural sector, including prioritizing access to funds for smallholder farmers. Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, ARMENIA, expressed support for the Summit Declaration, and called for a rapid response to the food crisis. Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, SOMALIA, said finding solutions to the current crisis extends beyond developing countries’ capacities and called for increased international cooperation.

Other country and organization representatives also addressed the plenary.

Emphasizing that the world produces 2.5 times the food necessary to feed the global population, CUBA identified systemic reasons as the main cause of the current global crisis. VENEZUELA said the capitalist system is the cause of food insecurity. Other countries noted the need for: high-quality seeds (e.g. SENEGAL and KENYA); technology (e.g. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO and NIUE); access to credit (e.g. the GAMBIA); and targeted programmes for increased agricultural production for the LDCs (LESOTHO). CÔTE D’IVOIRE called on FAO to give special support to scientific research for agriculture in developing countries. UGANDA encouraged fertilizer production within Africa.

DENMARK argued that developing countries that invested in agriculture have made strides in halving the number of hungry people, and SLOVAKIA stressed the benefits of investing in smallholder farming. GUATEMALA and many others singled out the role of women in food provision. DJIBOUTI said African countries must increase investment in agriculture, while ALGERIA suggested that African countries recognize agriculture’s increasing role in driving development. SIERRA LEONE said agriculture and food security are his country’s top priority under its new Agenda for Change, and that Sierra Leone will invest 9.9% of its budget in agriculture in 2010. Many countries highlighted national food security efforts to promote agricultural and rural development and nutrition, including: a Crop Intensification Programme, which addressed land pressure and fragmentation (RWANDA); tax and rent removal for farmers, subsidies, and credit provision at advantageous rates (TURKMENISTAN); purchase of equipment for smallholder farmers (EQUITORIAL GUINEA); investments in rural infrastructure (MYANMAR); a national laboratory to evaluate food production quality (KYRGYZSTAN); and technology transfer to small- and large-scale farms (BOTSWANA). The PHILIPPINES highlighted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ recent agreement to establish an East Asian Emergency Rice Reserve. MAURITIUS outlined regional partnerships in which they have engaged to protect against food insecurity. The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the African Union Commission in Brussels described the Detailed Programme for the Development of African Agriculture, noting the involvement of FAO.

CROATIA noted the criticality of sustainable development when addressing food security. PANAMA, VIET NAM and many others stressed the links between climate change and food security. The SOLOMON ISLANDS and MONGOLIA said the Copenhagen climate change negotiations must address food security. MADAGASCAR called for bolstering resilience and safety nets for vulnerable groups. MAURITANIA described food security challenges in arid environments, and OMAN supported research on soil salinity. HAITI, SYRIA, LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, SAMOA, BHUTAN and others highlighted the impacts of natural disasters on food security in their countries. BARBADOS called for recognizing the special situation of SIDS. SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS highlighted damage to the marine food chain and IRAQ the challenge of transboundary water sharing and water scarcity. The NETHERLANDS warned that the food crisis is a threat to international security.

NEPAL said access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food is key to food sovereignty. The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES highlighted food security’s local, regional and global aspects. SAUDI ARABIA said he hoped the CFS will become the main international forum to develop food security solutions. The US and CAPE VERDE welcomed the Summit Declaration’s principles, and the US called for country-led programmes. ARGENTINA, THAILAND and others applauded reform of the CFS and the food security governance structure, and IRELAND called for action-oriented outcomes with clear responsibilities for civil society, UN agencies and the private sector. FINLAND emphasized a comprehensive approach to food security that involves all sectors and relevant multilateral organizations and stakeholders. LUXEMBOURG said the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, and ICELAND the FAO, has a major role to play. SWITZERLAND reiterated the need for reformed and effective global governance for global food security. BAHRAIN, the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO and others recalled that the goals of previous food security summits have not yet been achieved.

SUDAN and others urged concrete action on food security. MALAYSIA called on FAO to develop a roadmap to progressively reduce hunger, and, with CAMEROON, urged developed countries to make available in a timely manner the funding pledged in L´Aquila. ITALY stressed the need to define principles for investing funds committed at L’Aquila, emphasizing access of smallholder farmers to technology and fertilizers. ECUADOR said the funding must not be distributed as donations of food relief or agricultural transfers. CAMBODIA called for a new world food security order and increased investments, and PAKISTAN for innovative programmes, investment in infrastructure and farm mechanization. GHANA expressed hope for increased support to country-owned programmes.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA promised to continue contributing to safe food supplies as part of their emergency and long-term aid. CANADA said food security is one of her country’s three aid priorities and that her country has untied food aid. ISRAEL described technological solutions for agricultural production in a harsh climate, and stressed its willingness to extend food supplies and cooperation in the region. AUSTRIA highlighted her country’s support for theInternational Treaty on Plant Genetic Resourcesfor Food and Agriculture. The COMMON FUND FOR COMMODITIES described their aims, including to increase and diversify food production and mitigate the vulnerability of smallholder farmers.

Many countries called for a satisfactory outcome to the Doha round of trade negotiations. KUWAIT said an international trade order under the WTO must be typified by transparency and non-discriminatory processes. URUGUAY emphasized fair trade, access to markets for developing countries, technology transfer and elimination of subsidies. MOLDOVA opposed World Bank and IMF call to reduce the share of agriculture in the national economy, and NAMIBIA urged revision of the World Bank classification of economies to reflect on-the-ground realities. The ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN decried profiteering and corporate greed, and suggested that developed countries allocate 10% of their military expenditures to addressing hunger.

NIGERIA said many of developing countries’ food needs can be packaged as commercial and bankable proposals that will appeal to developed countries, and that developing countries should focus on trade and business transactions, not aid. JORDAN suggested specific responses to price increases in agricultural markets, inter alia not using basic food crops for biofuels.

ROUND TABLE 2

The round table discussed reform of global governance in support of food security strategies. Co-Chair Guilherme Cassel, Minister of Agrarian Development, Brazil, stated that with a reformed CFS and increased multilateralism and civil society participation, this is a decisive time in FAO. Co-Chair Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, highlighted the role of climate change, infrastructure, investments and partnerships. Maria del Carmen Squeff, Alternate Permanent Representative of Argentina to FAO, described the work of the contact group that negotiated the reformed CFS in an open and participatory process. She welcomed outreach to a greater number of decision-making actors and involvement of international agencies, and urged flexibility in the reformed governance system. Pat Mooney, Executive Director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, said the next few years are critical for FAO leadership, proposed that CFS employ a meta-evaluation of FAO, IFAD, WFP and CGIAR, and urged closer involvement of funding agencies. Uma Lele, Special Adviser, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation, welcomed the trend to bring in new actors, in particular civil society. Tesfai Tecle, Special adviser to Kofi Annan, Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, hoped the governance debate would lead to a convergence of actions, especially at the national level, and called for streamlined global governance.

During the ensuing discussion, government and civil society participants welcomed the reformed CFS and made suggestions, inter alia, on: coordination between national, regional and global levels; flexibility; avoiding duplication; the role of experts; and responding to price volatility. They discussed food security as restoration of dignity, self-reliance and reforming national food security structures in line with the CFS.

ROUND TABLE 3

This round table addressed the relation of agriculture and food security to mitigation and adaptation policies. Co-Chair Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, called for enhanced cooperation of the most vulnerable countries. Co-Chair Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia, identified the challenge of making agriculture contribute to mitigation while meeting global food demands.

M.S. Swaminathan, President, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation, discussed experiences with India’s proactive adaptation planning, including, inter alia: regional scenario building; broadening the range of genetic variability; developing crop varieties for different climate scenarios; and building water reserves for irrigation and livestock. Calling agriculture the solution to climate change, Mahmoud Solh, Director-General, ICARDA, identified three priority areas for action: resilience of food production systems and ecosystems; conservation of genetic resources; and integrated pest and disease management.

Florin Vladu, Programme Officer, UNFCCC, said sustainable forestry and agriculture policies can bring benefits for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, mitigation and adaptation. He urged financial incentives for farmers in the future climate change agreement. Suggesting that diversification of food production and water supply can be a cornerstone for adaptation, Ger Bergkamp, General Director, World Water Council, identified three areas for early action: high mountain regions dependent on glacier water; delta and low-lying areas vulnerable to flooding; and arid and semi-arid areas.

Participating ministers and delegates discussed, inter alia: the contribution of agriculture to mitigation; incentives for sustainable agriculture and forest management in the future climate regime; research and technology development for climate-friendly agricultural practices; and resilience building and adaptation related to agriculture.



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The World Summit on Food Security Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Alexandra Conliffe, Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., and Simon Wolf. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Editor is Leonie Gordon <leonie@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by FAO. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America. The IISD team at the World Summit on Food Security can be contacted by e-mail at <alexandra@iisd.org>.

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