FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 4 June 2003
Contact:
Primary Contact:  Judith Symonds (1-202 413-8322)
or Jason Wettstein (1-202 223-1313)

THE MEXICO ACTION SUMMIT: A CALL TO ACTION - A New Approach for a New Future

The Mexican Government and the Monterrey Bridge Coalition convened the Mexico Action Summit at the same time as the G8 Summit. The Summit is part of the continuing global momentum for sustainable development, spanning the Millennium Development Compact, the Doha Development Round, the Monterrey Consensus, the World Summit for Sustainable Development, the G8 and the WTO Ministerial in Cancun and beyond.

The participants issued a call to action challenging the G8 and other developing and developed world the leaders of developing countries to act now and decisively to address hunger and poverty while protecting and restoring the world's natural environment for future generations.

The Summit, conducted under the patronage of President Vicente Fox, included key world leaders and scientists. Among the leaders were Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani, Prime Minister of Mali, The Hon. Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation of Canada, The  Honorable Victor Lichtinger, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources from Mexico and the Honorable Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Program in Rome. Prominent scientists attending included Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, and Dr. Pedro Sanchez of Columbia University.  Representatives of national and international public agencies, private companies and NGOS attended the meeting and made significant contributions.

A Call to Action - the Framework:

  • The Millennium Development Goals must be the framework that unites all public and private action for alleviating hunger and poverty and restoring biodiversity.  The entire world has committed to these goals and must be achieved in a coherent way by 2015.
     

  • Achievement of these goals is perfectly possible by 2015 if we make the decision to do it.  We can afford it.  What is needed is political will and moral leadership.
     

  • Taking actions to meet these goals are critical if the world is to achieve the elimination of poverty and hunger in a manner which is compatible with the protection and restoration of the earth's natural assets.

A Call to Action - A New Policy Paradigm: Poverty Agriculture and Biodiversity.  The Summit concluded that radically new approaches to working together are needed in the policy arena at all levels to meet this urgent and ambitious agenda: first, by integrating policies and strategies for food production, improved livelihoods and biodiversity enhancement - and development assistance, and second by scaling up already proven ecologically responsible and socially productive agricultural practices.  UNDP calls for "deepening the connections between Environment and Development."

A Call to Action - Critical Next Steps:

  • Immediately restore agriculture and rural development as the priority sectors in regional, national and international and local public policies and commends the G8 for its Action Plan for Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.

  • Eliminate subsidies on agricultural products targeting the distortions in international markets affecting developing country trade.
     

  • Adequately value and promote healthy ecological systems that provide the basis for agriculture production and a well nourished population.
     

  • Promote and emphasize the importance of public-private partnerships, a viable north-south partnership and a multi-sector approach to sustainable development.
     

  • Integrate strategies that include the impact of  HIV/AIDS epidemic on past and potential progress in rural development and recognize the link between hunger and HIV/AIDS in assistance planning and funding.
     

  • Include strategies to create mechanisms for fair and equitable benefit sharing of the earth's resources and biodiversity.
     

  • Accelerate the creation of institutional, social, and economic enabling environments in the developing world to enhance their capacity as partners in development and stewards of the future.

In the case of tropical and subtropical countries and specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, the participants endorsed a three-pronged approach to be undertaken at the community scale:

  1. Drastically increase agricultural productivity primarily through investments in soil fertility, small-scale water management and protection and enhancement of local biodiversity.
     

  2. Make rural and national markets work for the poor with better storage facilities, farmer cooperatives and basic infrastructure such as roads.
     

  3. Make schools a vehicle in which better nutrition from locally produced food can be provided.