| NERC/02/3 |
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, 9 - 13 March 2002
Preparation for the WFS: Five Years Later - Regional Dimensions
II. FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT IN THE NEAR EAST REGION
III. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATIONS
1. The World Food Summit was called in response to the continued existence of widespread under nutrition and growing concern about the capacity of agriculture to meet future food needs. In 1974, governments attending the World Food Conference had proclaimed that "every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop their physical and mental faculties." The Conference had set as its goal the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition within a decade. For many reasons, among them failures in policymaking and funding, that goal had not been met. FAO estimated that unless progress was accelerated, there could still be some 680 million hungry people in the world by the year 2010, more than 250 million of that would be in sub-Saharan Africa.
2. Against this background, the World Food Summit took place from 13 to 17 November 1996. This historic event, convened at FAO headquarters in Rome, comprised five days of meetings at the highest level with representatives from 185 countries and the European Community. The Summit brought together close to 10 000 participants, and provided a forum for debate on the imperative of eradicating hunger facing world leaders in the new millennium.
3. The adoption by 112 Heads or Deputy Heads of State and Government, and by over 70 high-level representatives from other countries, of the "Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action", at a meeting which also witnessed the active involvement of representatives of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, among others, has helped to influence public opinion and has provided a framework for bringing about important changes in policies and programmes needed to achieve "Food for All."
4. The objective of the Summit was to renew global commitment at the highest political level, to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and to achieve sustainable food security for all people. In any event, the high visibility of the Summit has raised awareness among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, in the media and with the public at large. It has also set the political, conceptual and technical blueprint for an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries with the target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than the year 2015.
5. The Rome Declaration sets forth seven commitments, which lay the basis for achieving sustainable food security for all, and the Plan of Action spells out the objectives and actions relevant for practical implementation of these seven commitments.
6. The Summit made a number of commitments to achieve food security for all and to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people by half no later than 2015. The seven Commitments, embodied in the Summit Plan of Action, relate to the creation of an enabling political, social and economic environment; the eradication of poverty and inequality and the improvement of economic access by all people at all times; the pursued of participatory and sustainable food and agriculture and rural development policies and practices; ensuring that food, agriculture trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all; the prevention of, and in the event of their occurrence, preparedness for natural and man-made disasters.
7. The Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action lay the foundations for diverse paths to a common objective - food security, at the individual, household, national, regional and global levels. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. In this regard, concerted action at all levels is required. Each nation should adopt a strategy consistent with its resources and capacities to achieve its individual goals and, at the same time, co-operate regionally and internationally in order to organize collective solutions to global issues of food security.
8. A peaceful and stable environment is a fundamental condition for the attainment of sustainable food security in every country. Governments are responsible for creating an enabling environment for private and group initiatives to devote their skills, efforts and resources, and in particular investment, towards the common goal of food for all. This should be undertaken with the cooperation and participation of all members of society.
9. Poverty, hunger and malnutrition are some of the principal causes of accelerated migration from rural to urban areas in developing countries. The largest population shift of all times is now under way. Unless these problems are addressed in an appropriate and timely fashion, the political, economic and social stability of many countries and regions may well be seriously affected, perhaps even compromising peace and stability. It is necessary to target those people and areas suffering most from hunger and malnutrition and to identify causes and take remedial action to improve the situation. A more complete, user-friendly source of information at all levels would enable this.
10. Unless national governments and the international community address the multifaceted causes underlying food insecurity, the number of hungry and malnourished people will remain very high in developing countries, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara; and sustainable food security will not be achieved. This Plan of Action envisages an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to half present 1990/92 level no later than 2015, and a mid-term review to ascertain whether it is possible to achieve this target by 2010.
11. The resources required for investment will be generated mostly from domestic private and public sources. The international community has a key role to play in supporting the adoption of appropriate national policies and, where necessary and appropriate, in providing technical and financial assistance to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in fostering food security.
12. Reaching sustainable world food security is part and parcel of achieving the social, economic, environmental and human development objectives agreed upon in recent international conferences and stated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Food Summit Plan of Action builds on consensus reached in these fora and is based on the conviction that although the world is faced with major food insecurity, solutions to these problems exist. If all parties at local, national, regional and international levels make determined and sustained efforts, then the overall goal of food for all, at all times, will be achieved.
13. The Plan of Action of the World Food Summit is in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law and strives to consolidate the results of other UN conferences since 1990 on subjects having a bearing on food security.
14. The implementation of the recommendations contained in this Plan of Action is the sovereign right and responsibility of each State through national laws and the formulation of strategies, policies, programmes, and development priorities, in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, and the significance of and the full respect for various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of individuals and their communities. This should contribute to the full enjoyment by all of their human rights in order to achieve the objective of food security for all.
15. The Summit commitments continue to influence the substantive priorities and programmes of the Organization, as well as the work of all of its Technical Committees. The Regional Conferences now have WFS implementation as a standing item on their agendas. The theme of food security also serves as a major focus for FAO advocacy work through public information programmes, World Food Day and TeleFood.
16 The multi-dimensional nature of the follow-up to the World Food Summit includes actions at the national, intergovernmental and inter-agency levels. The international community, and the UN system, including FAO, as well as other agencies and bodies according to their mandates, has important contributions to the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
17. The "Right to Food" is a recognized human right under international law, in particular article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. FAO continues to actively support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in implementing objective 7.4 of the WFS PoA. The UN Development Assistance Framework has adopted a rights-based approach for the UN system country teams, of which the right to food is an essential component.
18. The FAO twenty-fifth Regional Conference for the Near East in 2000 devoted a one-day meeting to a discussion on WFS follow-up in which the views of NGOs were also heard. A Regional Consultation on the World Food Summit: five years later for the Near East and North Africa was held in October, 2001 in Cairo, and representatives of 36 NGOs and CSOs from 12 countries from the Regions participated. Specific WFS follow-up activities at country and regional levels are taking place. These activities include: FAO Field programme; FAO Special programmes; and FAO Co-operation with the UN System and Other Regional Institutions.19. The 1996 World Food Summit attributed great importance to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for achieving food security and sustainable agriculture. In the follow-up to the Summit, FAO member countries have completed the negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Thirty-first FAO Conference has approved the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, whose objectives are "the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, as well as a fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of these resources". The Treaty includes an article on Farmers' Rights. All countries and regions are highly inter-dependent in relation to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The agriculture of the Near East Region is highly dependent on the genetic resources of beans, maize, potato, rice and sunflower, which originated in other regions of the world. On the other hand, crops such as barley and lentil, which originated in this Region, are of great importance for agricultural development in other parts of the world.
20. The Treaty establishes a Multilateral System of Facilitated Access and Benefit-sharing for key crops, and makes provision for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their utilization. The Treaty will enter into force once ratified by 40 countries. The Governing Body of the Treaty will be composed of those countries that have ratified it. A number of important provisions of the Treaty related to Material Transfer Agreements, Intellectual Property Rights, mechanisms for the sharing of benefits, and the financial strategy for the implementation priority activities, plans and programmes have been left to be developed by the first session of the Governing Body. The Director-General has written to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of each country, asking them to accelerate the ratification process, and, if possible, to ratify the Treaty before the Summit in June 2002.
21. FAO activities implemented in the Region during the reporting period are adequately described in "Document NERC/02/2 - Action Taken on the Main Recommendations of the Twenty-fifth Conference for the Near East and Other FAO Activities in the Near East Region 2000-2001". The report stresses on the activities that contribute directly and indirectly to the WFS as reflected in the actions taken in response to past decisions, the ongoing programme of work and the future programme orientation to face priority issues in the Region.
Regional Strategies for Agricultural Development and Food Security
22. Though most of the critical issues related to poverty and food insecurity have national characteristics, to reinforce national policies and programmes and take advantage of synergies and complementarities at regional and sub-regional levels; FAO has undertaken to expand its co-operation with Regional and Sub-regional Economic Groupings (REGs) of developing countries or those in economic transition.
23. To pursue this commitment, FAO, in collaboration with the relevant regional and sub-regional institutions in Africa, Near East, Asia and Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Latin America and the Caribbean, is elaborating for each relevant Regional Group a Regional Strategy for Agricultural Development and Food Security (RSADFS).
24. Each Regional Strategy draws extensively, but not exclusively, on the findings, conclusions and key policy recommendations of the Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010. The Regional Strategy highlighted the commonalties of member countries with respect to agriculture and food security, identify major differences in resource endowment and policy parameters, recommend policy options and strategic thrusts for co-operative effort among members of the concerned economic grouping and propose tentative estimates of investment requirements in agriculture covering the period 1998-2010.
25. Regional Programmes complemented the Regional Strategies for Food Security (RPFS), designed to implement the key elements embodied in the RSADFS. World wide, thirty-four REGs have been invited initially to collaborate in the preparation of the respective RSADFS and RPFS, with draft strategies and project documents prepared accordingly.
26. Those strategies have been prepared for the following Regional/Sub-regional economic groupings that are of relevance to the Near East Region:
27. Other regional or sub-regional economic groupings, whose membership entirely overlaps with of the previously mentioned ones, have been informed of this initiative on the basis of short documents based on the main findings and recommendations of the Regional Strategies. This is the case of the Arab Common Market (ACM); the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC); the League of Arab States (LAS); the Organization of African Unity (OAU); and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
28. The " Strategies for National Agricultural Development - Horizon 2010" were prepared at FAO initiative for 150 developing Member Countries and countries with economies in transition, as an initial step in the preparation for the follow-up to the World Food Summit with a view to (i) help member governments implement at the national level commitments that have been made at the global level; (ii) create a close partnership with all collaborating United Nations (UN) system and other international development agencies in supporting member government agricultural strategy development and implementation; and (iii) help put investment in agriculture high on the national and international agendas.
29. Several workshops were held in Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, UAE, and Yemen during 2000-2001. FAO/Regional Office for the Near East provided guidance and full support to conduct these workshops. These National Workshops, organized by respective Governments, were well attended by all relevant Government officials, Parliamentary Commissions, actors of civil society, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
30. The emphasis of RPFS is to address, in the context of the respective National and Regional strategies, those issues that are regional in character and can be better addressed at regional level. The main objective of the Regional Programmes is to contribute and improve, on a sustainable basis, access by all the people of the Region at all times to adequate food required for a healthy and active life through increases in productivity, production and trade of food crops.
31. With respect to sustained increases in productivity and production of agricultural crops, the emphasis is on efficient land and water development and on support and expansion of Special Programmes on Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) and that for Food Security (SPFS). The Near East Region, with prevailing aridity, limited water resources and increasing environmental degradation, is facing a growing water constraint that limits water use, constrains socio-economic development and threatens water security in most countries of the Region. FAO continues to give support to national and regional programme and projects that place great emphasis on rational management and conservation of land and water resources including optimization of on-farm water management, the use of non-conventional water resources, improved irrigation technology and salinity control, drought mitigation and management, integrated soil and fertilizer management, conservation and rehabilitation of soils and promotion of appropriate land use planning policies.
32. EMPRES is a special programme that supports national and international action to prevent emergency situations caused by transboundary animal diseases and plant pests. The programme component on Plant Pests and Diseases focuses on the support to Desert Locust Control. The goal of this component is to control and minimize the risk of Desert Locust plaques emanating from the Central Region of the Desert Locust distribution area. This goal has been achieved through well directed surveys as well as timely and environmentally sound interventions. The programme component on Animal Diseases has the objective of developing early warning and advanced reaction systems that prevent the development of certain important animal disease epidemics. In this respect, the Animal Health Commission for the Near East, which was recommended by 25th Near East Regional Conference ranks high among Region priorities as an essential consolidating and complementary element for combating animal diseases.
33. With respect to trade, the focus is on harmonized policies and measures for trade facilitation by reducing sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, technical obstacles, promoting the reduction and harmonization of tariffs and adopting the international Codex Alimentarius norms and standards. Such trade facilitation measures could induce local and national specialization through enhanced competition, and allow for a better expression of the comparative advantage positions of the member countries of each regional group.
34. Executive Summaries of the relevant regional strategies have been presented at the National Workshops, so as to inform participants of FAO on-going endeavours to support regional economic groupings.
35. The Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) is a major focus for FAO field action which was Launched in 1994. It helps farmers in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) in increasing food production and improving access to food in order to meet growing market demand and to help eradicating food insecurity. It also assists in policy review and preparation of investment programmes/ projects in the related sub-sector of agriculture for domestic and external financing. As of May 2001, the Special Programme for Food Security has been operational in 62 countries, including 29 in Africa, 11 in Asia, 2 in Eastern Europe, 6 in Latin America, and 1 in Oceania.
36. The Special Programme for Food Security is an effective means of follow up to the goals of the World Summit Plan of Action and offers great opportunities for joint cooperation and action at country level.
37. Thematic Groups can support activities at the preparation, formulation and implementation stages of the Special Programme; from assisting in the selection of pilot zones to visiting field sites, disseminating information, monitoring progress and report writing.
38. The Programme main objectives are to assist LIFDCs to rapidly increase food production and productivity on a sustainable basis, reduce the year-to-year variability of production, and improve access to food, as a contribution to equity and poverty alleviation.
39. The core features of the SPFS strategy are national ownership, partnership with the development partners, including donor countries and multilateral financial institutions, participation of farmers and other stakeholders, emphasis on technical modernization, priority to small farmers and gender sensitivity.
40. To date, over 75 developing countries have applied to participate in the programme. The lessons learned and results obtained so far have led to the extension of on-going country programmes and a rapid incorporation of new countries.
Region Specific Recent SPFS Activities:
Sudan - Starting in 1998, the SPFS in Sudan was developed with the assistance of FAO and implementation of one of its components has been launched with the TCP/SPFS. Support to the other components as well as for the Expansion Phase of the Water Control Component (WCC) is sought from various sources including, the Islamic Development Bank and Libya, in addition to internal financing. An agreement has been signed between FAO and the Islamic Development Bank to support SPFS in food-deficit African countries, including Sudan. The SPFS National Program Document and National Plan of Operation, prepared with assistance from FAO, are being submitted to the Islamic Development Bank as the supporting documents for a formal request by the Government of Sudan for the release of US$ 5 million. FAO/TCI was assigned the task and has already formulated Phase One of the programme for Sudan. The TCP Project on the WCC was signed on 9 April 2001, and with the identification and recruitment of the National Consultant, field activities were initiated in early May.
Syrian Arab Republic - A TCP project proposal on water control was approved by FAO in February 1999, with a budget of US$ 321,000. The Governatorates of Homs, Aleppo, Hama, Idleb and Lattakia were selected to initiate project implementation. The SPFS is progressing very well and has overcome the initial difficulties. Support from FAO has been received in the first year of intensification phase and used for the purchase of seed and fertilizer for winter crops. Thereafter, the participating farmers funded all costs from their own resources. Support to current efforts for constraint analysis through a TCP project would further enhance the progress of the programme.
Tajikistan - So far, no mission has been possible due to security problems; the situation is now improved and the Ministry of Agriculture has recently officially requested to FAO to participate in the SPFS. A formulation mission will be sent as soon as possible.
Turkmenistan - A FAO/Investment Centre mission, fielded in Turkmenistan in October 1997, agreed the outline of the SPFS with the Government, established a National Formulation Team and prepared a draft version of a SPFS-Aide Memoir. The Government has appointed a National Food Security Committee, and a National Programme Co-ordinator was appointed coupled with a Working Group of specialists, which would address the SPFS themes. There will be a total of six pilot areas.
Yemen - Following the Aide-Memoir signed in November 1997, the first draft of the National Programme Document and of the National Plan of Operations and a TCP proposal duly discussed with the Core-Team members have been evaluated by FAO. The Programme is under way. Two training workshops on participatory rural appraisal (PRA) were held in April 2000 which were later on extended to five pilot sites including Monitoring Evaluation and Constraints Analysis of the project area.
41. The TeleFood and World Food Day 2001 message "Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty" was broadcast through television and radio programmes around the world. Following events took place in the Region in 2001:
The Beirut-based satellite channel LBC dedicated part of its16 October programme to hunger and food issues, followed by a 60-minute wrap-up on World Food Day celebrations in the Arab Region. Arab News Network (ANN) and the Arab Radio and Television (ART) also dedicated special programmes to World Food Day .Egyptian Satellite Television broadcast a live current affairs programme on food security issues specific to the Arab region. In addition the Rome-based satellite channel Orbit highlighted World Food Day celebrations in a special programme with the participation of the newly appointed FAO Ambassador, Singer Ms. Magda Al Roumi . Ms. Al Roumi was also special guest on the two-hour live broadcast organized by Dubai satellite TV on 18 October and dedicated to FAO and TeleFood achievements.
42. A four-hour celebrity-studded fundraising show was broadcast live from the Spanish broadcaster Radio television Espanola (RTVE) promoting TeleFood's grassroots projects and reaching almost 4 million viewers across Europe.
43. Groundwork 2001 was the first North American event to support the TeleFood campaign with a week-long series of concerts and community events in Seattle featuring world-renowned musicians. A number of other events spread the message of "Food for All", from a classical concert in Yokohama, Japan, to an auction in favour of TeleFood organized by the German Internet provider Planet Internet to the Italian Singers' yearly charity soccer game..
44. The generous and enthusiastic support from a wide variety of private companies and institutions, governments and non-governmental organisations, radio and television broadcasters was instrumental in spreading the TeleFood 2001 message.
45. As an illustration of how TeleFood funds are used, the TeleFood Fund donated US$7 878 to Mauritania for a fishing Cooperative in the capital Nouakchott to improve a fish drying operation. The catching of fish from the Atlantic coast to the vast hinterland is a problem because of spoilage. The project started with the identification of the site for the new drying plant and of experts who could teach 50 women how to process the fish. Within a few months time production got under way at the beachfront plant, a step towards improving the lives of the women workers and their families, and towards getting a good source of protein.
46. A TeleFood project provided Gulustan and 29 other Sahgeldi women in Turkey with four sheep each. The women are typical Anatolian "seasonal village widows," owning and earning nothing. Thanks to the project the women could raise and breed the sheep and fatten them by growing animal feed on nearby government land. This allowed them to sell cheese and milk and earn some income. Ironically, Gulustan's travails are the exception rather than the rule in Turkey. Half of Turkey's workforce is involved in agriculture, producing a great range of foodstuffs. But the problem of forest villages along the towering Toros Mountains is the same: rural poverty with "seasonal village widows". There, with a small contribution of just US$2 000 from the TeleFood Fund, some 160 families were given seeds and scions to grow cherry, peach and apple trees. They were also trained to grow them in a nursery.
47. The ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security brings together main development partners for focused and co-ordinated action at the country level. Established in April 1997 by the United Nations Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). The ACC Network has been endorsed and supported by the UN Secretary-General and the Heads of 20 UN organizations. FAO and IFAD jointly manage it, in close cooperation with WFP. The ACC Network is a mechanism for World Food Summit follow-up and aims to:
mobilize support for government efforts to implement the World Food Summit Plan of Action and rural development and food security programmes;
reinforce ties between UN organisations and other stakeholders;
foster synergy and avoid duplication of efforts; and
exchange and disseminate information, experiences and best practices.
48. At the country level, the ACC Network consists of national Thematic Groups working on rural development and food security within the UN Resident Co-ordinator System. At the international level, a network of interested UN organisations and associated international and regional NGOs supports these national Thematic Groups.
49. As of October 2001, 70 national Thematic Groups were established and 13 Thematic Groups were in their initial stages of development in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Near East. The Thematic Groups are working on specific themes to combat rural poverty and ensure food for all.
Country Thematic Groups In NE Countries
50. The Common Country Assessment (CCA) is a collaborative country-based process for reviewing and analysing the national development situation and identifying key issues as a basis for advocacy, policy dialogue and preparation of a common UN response: the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The CCA process allows countries to think and work together to achieve a common understanding for a country's development challenges and to identify new ideas and opportunities together with national authorities, civil society and development partners. The findings emerging from this exercise are then described in a CCA document.
51. The model of the ACC Network Thematic Group is therefore an ideal mechanism for initiating and co-ordinating the CCA process, as Groups typically encourage the participation of the main development partners in a given country for collective action to address country-specific needs, challenges and priorities. The most recent example of Group involvement in the CCA process is in Egypt, where the ACC Network-affiliated Donor Sub-Group is helping to co-ordinate inputs for the UN/CCA Egypt documents covering Agriculture; Water; Nutrition and Food Security; Water and Sanitation. In January 2001, the sub-group - under the joint chairmanship of FAO and the World Bank - convened a meeting of UN agencies, donors, and NGO, during which participants discussed the CCA documentation and donors delivered brief overviews of their ongoing and pipeline activities.
52. The ACC Network affiliated Thematic Group - known as the Task Force on Rural Development and Food Security - is noted for its strong collaboration with the Government: in fact the Group is co-chaired by the FAO Representative and the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. In 1999, the Task Force provided inputs for the reform of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MAI), known as the Aden Agenda, which targets field services, human resources and budgetary concerns. In the near future, the Thematic Group is to support the development of a national food insecurity and vulnerability information and mapping system (FIVIMS) in the country, in particular through the preparation of baseline data and sample participatory rural appraisal (PRA) questionnaires.
53. Two sub-groups: the Sub-group were formed in the country: 1 on 'Food Security and Rural Development' - co-ordinated by the WFP Country Representative for Morocco; and Sub-group 2 on 'Management of Natural Resources and Environment' - co-ordinated by the Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP. This joint mechanism is proving a dynamic forum for the exchange of information and experiences in common initiatives planned or underway in the agricultural sector. Recent meetings have reviewed and discussed current FAO-Morocco programmes of cooperation, including the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS); defined the key elements and issues to be considered in the formulation of the national Common Country Assessment (CCA) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework II (UNDAF II) on which the work of both sub-groups is focused; and debated the issues raised - and missing - from the National Report for follow-up to the World Food Summit (WFS) Plan of Action.
Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS)
54. A major component of WFS follow-up activities are related to FAO Regional Office for the Near East (RNE) assistance to Member Countries in establishing national FIVIMS. These national FIVIMS efforts aimed at: a) increasing national attention and priorities on food insecurity problems and issues and ensure their incorporation into national policies and programmes; b) improving reliability, quality, quantity and timeliness of national food in-security-related data analysis; and c) establishing a monitoring and mapping system for identifying the food insecure groups and those vulnerable to food insecurity, their location and the causes of their food insecurity/vulnerability.
55. As part of the above, RNE has continued to provide support to Member Countries in setting up FIVIMS at national level. These include a TCP project in Yemen which is assisting the Government establish a national FIVIMS information system. Once completed, this project will provide detailed information on food insecurity in the country. Data collection of the project is being conducted concomitantly with the ongoing agricultural census. Similar TCP projects are formulated for Syria and Turkey.
56. RNE continued to assist Member Countries food security units and their staff upgrade their technical capacity. In this effort, several training programmes on FIVIMS and Food Security Information and Early Warning System (FSIEWS) have been conducted in the region: UAE (during 2000) and Turkey (during 2001). Regional staff members have also supported a similar training workshop held in the Sudan for IGAD countries during 2000.
57. Food security continues to be priority issues in this Region including technical assistance to Member Countries in fulfilling those commitments made during the WFS. There are plans to publish a regional state of food insecurity (SOFI), similar to the current global SOFI.
58. FAO continued to provide support to its country offices in the Region and, in particular, a number of FAO Representations have been strengthened to take operational responsibilities for national projects. FAO also initiated the programme for the establishment of additional country offices by out posting of senior technical officers who could also act as FAO Representative, as approved by the Council at its 119th Session in November 2000. FAO has signed one host country agreement for the establishment of such a Representation in the Region and negotiations with three other countries are at final stage.
59. FAO continued supporting the establishment and operation of the Regional Network on Policy Assistance. Positive responses were received from Jordan, Oman, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Malta, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to join the Network. FAO/RNE continued support through the regional associations for the promotion of regional technical and economic cooperation among countries of the Region. FAO responded positively to formulation of technical assistance projects in member countries such as, Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Syria and Yemen.
II.E THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER - Regional Dimensions
60. Monitoring the world food insecurity situation shows that the WFS target of reducing the number of the poor in the world by one-half by 2015 is unlikely to be met. This target required the annual reduction of the number of undernourished by 20 million. (NOTE: if from the 1990/92 period it is 20, if from now on it is 22). However, the actual annual reduction is only 6 million. Achieving the WFS target needs a stronger and renewed political commitment. Accordingly, the Director-General has proposed to hold the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl) during 2001. Following the last cycle of FAO Regional Conferences in 2000, the Council at its 119th Session in November 2000 had supported the Director-General's proposal to hold the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl) as part of the proceedings of the 31st Session of the FAO Conference. At its 120th Session in June 2001 the Council had approved the detailed arrangements for this event, to be convened at the level of Heads of State and Government.
61. On 16 October 2001, Council Members were informed, with copy to all Members of the Organization, that in view of the current international situation and information received concerning the impact of this situation both on the composition of delegations and on the possibility of ensuring worldwide representation at the meeting, it was proposed that the arrangements for the meeting be postponed. . Further to this communication, the Council at its 121st Session in November 2001 approved the proposal for the convening of the WFS:fyl and related events from 10-13 June, 2002, at FAO Headquarters in Rome. It further agreed to reschedule the 28th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) from 6-8 June 2002, and delegated to the CFS the responsibility to convene on the Council's behalf the open-ended Working Group which will prepare the draft final outcome document for the WFS:fyl.
62. The original objective of the Meeting will remain unchanged, as should the resolve, which Members have repeatedly supported, to avoid re-opening debate on any part of the Rome Declaration and World Food Summit Plan of Action. The purpose of bringing Heads of State and Government together will be to consider and take action on measures to ensure the fulfillment of the undertakings contained in those two documents.
63. The CFS agenda will be limited to two substantive items - the Assessment of the World Food Security Situation, and the Report on Progress in Implementing the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The progress report to be tabled for the CFS will focus mainly on Commitments 3, 4 and 6, as called for by the monitoring procedure adopted by the CFS, and the Report of the Session will contain the Committee's findings, conclusions and recommendations on the Commitments under review.
64. FAO Regional Conferences, scheduled in the first half of 2002, are requested to provide a regional perspective as input to the CFS debate and substantive report on implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. In the light of the rescheduling of the WFS:fyl, the Conferences are asked to address the twin themes of mobilising the political will to fight hunger and of mobilising resources for agricultural and rural development.
65. Within the framework of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, member governments of the Region, in partnership with all actors of civil society, as appropriate, are urged to:
ensure the effective participation of national delegations at the highest possible political level at the WFS:fyl to be held in Rome, Italy during the period 10-13 June, 2002 to guarantee reaching the desired commitment for enhancing the efforts to fight hunger and food insecurity in the world;
assist Member States in approaching donors and international organizations to support their national efforts towards implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action;
enhance the exchange of expertise and information on SPFS among member countries;
respond positively to government requests to take part in the SPFS and to enhance technical collaboration between countries of the Region through the South-South cooperation (SSC) initiative;
support the setting up of FIVIMS at the national and international levels, in collaboration with concerned UN organizations, competent national institutions and non-governmental organizations; and
lend support to raising funds through the various activities of the World Food Day Special Events and the TeleFood Programme.
66. The Regional Conference may wish to recognize that the adoption by the Thirty-first Session of the Conference of a binding International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, whose objectives are "the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security", offers the region and the international community in general an important legal instrument dealing with resources on which food security depends. The Regional Conference may wish to recommend that countries ratify the Treaty soonest, possibly before the FAO Summit in June, as suggested by the Director-General, in order to ensure good regional representation in the first meeting of the Governing Body, where a number of crucial policy and financial provisions of the Treaty will be developed.