ROME, 11 June 2002 -- A total of 182 countries renewed their commitment to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world no later than 2015, according to the final declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later. Heads of State and Government unanimously approved the Declaration on the opening day of the four-day Summit, calling on governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector "to reinforce their efforts so as to act as an international alliance against hunger." These efforts are aimed at ending the tragedy of more than 800 million people going hungry around the world.
The countries invited the Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to "elaborate, in a period of two years, a set of voluntary guidelines to support Member States' efforts to achieve the progressive realization of the right to adequate food."
The Declaration said, "With a view to reversing the overall decline of agriculture and rural development in the national budgets of developing countries, in official development assistance (ODA) and in total lending in international financial institutions, we call for an adequate share for those sectors of bilateral and multilateral ODA, lending by International Financial Institutions and budgetary allocations of developing countries. "We urge developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance to developing countries."
The Declaration stresses that a "speedy, effective and full implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which should be fully financed through additional resources, is critical."
In addition, all countries are urged to implement the outcome of the Doha Conference regarding the reform of the international agricultural trading system.
The President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, said in his address that " all issues blocking the access of developing countries into the markets of developed countries have to be addressed. Speedy movement on this matter would yield early dividends with regard to the achievement of the goal of sustainable food security. We cannot go back on the gains of the Doha Development Round."
The Prime Minister of Spain, José M. Aznar López, said on behalf of the European Union that "the time has come for a new association between governments, civil society and the private sector aimed at the reduction of hunger in the world."
A favourable political, social and economic environment is an essential requirement in the pursuit of food security and in combating poverty, he said. Good governance and the rule of law should be strengthened within a democratic framework. "We understand that the responsibility for assuring food security is primarily incumbent on national governments, with the participation of civil society and the private sector."
The President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, said that the European Union is in favour of greater open markets for agricultural products. Measures that are distorting agricultural imports should be reduced, he said. He expressed his concern about the recently approved United States 'Farm Bill'.
The Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, said that industrialized countries have to open their markets for developing countries. No country should be excluded from the global economy, he said, adding that Italy has proposed a new programme to the G8 countries. The initiative would help developing countries reform their public administration, fiscal system, national statistics and judicial, public health and educational systems. Countries implementing the programme could achieve a high degree of transparency, democracy and efficiency.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, said: "Unless significant and fundamental changes occur in our countries, disparities in income levelsand economic growth rates are likely to continue and to lead to social unrest. There is, however, considerable opportunity to accelerate income growth rates in the slow-growing countries, especially those of sub-Saharan Africa, and to raise per capita incomes." He pointed out that Uganda not only produces enough food, but "we also have plenty for export." Mr Museveni said that the main causes of food shortages are wars, protectionism in agricultural products in Europe, the US, China, India and Japan and protectionism in value-added products.
The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the international community needs to assist developing countries in dealing with problems of food security. Increased efforts and capacity building in agricultural research and extension, biotechnology, pests and disease control, disposal of expired agrochemicals and environmental conservation will help developing countries to increase their agricultural production and productivity.
The US Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, said that the United States "is well on its way to cutting hunger at home by half by the year 2010." She said that the United States is the world's largest food aid donor and the leading donor responding to the food crisis now facing southern Africa. "Today we reaffirm the US commitment to ending global hunger," she said. "Open markets will do a far better job of getting food to people than excuses for unnecessary trade barriers can ever do," she said. The goal of ending hunger could be achieved with the help of both longstanding and new technologies, including biotechnology.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said that the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Agriculture still does not sufficiently take into account the concerns of the poor and vulnerable. "A right-to-food approach to the Agreement would stress the human rights principle of non-discrimination and consequently encourage affirmative action for the poor, allowing certain special trade rules for the protection of vulnerable people."