ANNEX III: REPORTS ON THE ROUND TABLES, THE MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE AND THE PARALLEL EVENTS
Three Round Tables were held on 11 June and 12 June 2002 on the theme: "The World Food Summit Plan of Action - results achieved, obstacles met and means of overcoming them"; they gathered a total of 117 participants including three Heads of State, seven Deputy Heads of State, Heads of Government or Deputy Heads of Government, 68 Ministers and one member of the European Commission. Round Table No. 1 was co-chaired by Mr R. Villalba Mosquera, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia and Mr J. Sutton, Minister for Agriculture and Trade Negotiations of New Zealand. Round Table No. 2 was co-chaired by Mr E. Lowassa, Minister for Water and Livestock Development of The United Republic of Tanzania and Mr L. Vanclief, Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada. Round Table No. 3 was co-chaired by Mr M. Duwayri, Minister for Agriculture of Jordan and Mr E. Boutmans, Secretary of State, Cooperation for Development of Belgium.
The conclusions of all the three Round Tables, the texts of which are reflected below, were reported to Plenary by the designated co-chairs: Minister Sutton for Round Table I, Minister Lowassa for Round Table II and Minister Duwayri for Round Table III.
The Round Table No. 1 discussion this morning was attended by delegations from 36 Member Nations. The Round Table was chaired by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia Mr R. Villalba Mosquera and myself. Twenty-seven very constructive and interesting interventions were made. We heard reports of notable progress in some regions and countries, but not enough to prevent us falling behind the World Food Summit targets overall.
There was general agreement that political will has been accurately identified by FAO as the critical deficiency. Official Development Assistance levels were below target. That said, it was acknowledged that ODA was effective when applied. The devastating effect of war and civil unrest was highlighted as being fundamentally incompatible with food security. Enough food was produced globally to feed the world, as witnessed by falling commodity prices. However, distribution and markets that were dysfunctional were targeted as areas needing more attention. Delays in the implementation of projects due to excessive bureaucracy were cited as a possible reason for not reaching targets. On the positive side of this, though, was the hope that as projects in their infancy came into effect, we could make better progress towards the World Food Summit: five years later targets.
Trade and trade liberalization were common themes for the vast majority of speakers. There were a couple of dissensions along the lines of liberalization not having delivered what it promised. This could, however, be because, to a large degree, liberalization in agricultural trade had not really occurred.
Concern was expressed about the possible use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures as barriers to trade. The need for capacity-building to create even standards and to meet SPS requirements was emphasized. A particular source of concern and frustration was the lack of policy coherence evident in the policies of rich nations, which effectively took away, through trade barriers on agriculture, what they gave with ODA and technical capacity- building. It was noted that OECD countries provided US$ 1 billion a day in support to their own agricultural sectors, six times more than all Official Development Assistance.
Delegates focused on some crucial elements needed to develop their agricultural sectors, including adequate infrastructure; improved technology to produce more nutritious crop varieties; agricultural research, science and technology; gender equality given the substantial role women played in agricultural production; education, again especially for girls; and, in some situations, debt-forgiveness.
Delegates stressed the value of South-South cooperation, stable macroeconomic parameters, rural democracy, rule of law, sound land policies and efficient markets. Additionally, they stressed the need to recognize special access for specialized agricultural exports from net food-importing countries. Another key element to come through was that not all developing countries were the same. Local solutions were needed for local problems.
It was recognized that it would take a long time to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture, but that this was a critical step to eliminate hunger and poverty.
Finally, we were reminded that food sufficiency was not enough, and that balanced, nutritious diets for all remained the ultimate goal.
Mr Chairman, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
As the Chairman rightfully observed, yesterday I had the privilege of co-chairing Round Table No. 2. I was asked to submit to you the Summary of our discussions, and I have the honour to do so now.
In 1996, the World Food Summit adopted the Rome Declaration on World Food Security which said: "We pledge our political will and our common national commitment to achieving food security for all and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries with an immediate view to reducing the number of undernourished people to halve their present level not later than 2015."
Round Table No. 2 addressed two basic questions.
First, why have we not done better to meet the goals of the World Food Summit? What were the barriers to reducing hunger and poverty? Some progress had been made, but much remained to be done. If progress were to continue at the current rate, it would take over sixty years to reach the goal of the World Food Summit.
Second, where do we go from here? What needs to be done that we have not been able to do in the past five years? Perhaps there is reason for cautious optimism. There is a growing recognition that hunger poses a direct threat to peace and security. However, our qualitative challenge is to move beyond slogans to actions.
Question number one was: Why have we not done better to meet the goals of the World Food Summit?
Firstly, the labour we invested in agriculture was too low. This was true, both for domestic investment in many countries and for international investment. This was especially true in low-income countries with an environment of poverty which often faced problems of high debt and political instability. There had been a general decline in Overseas Development Assistance investment in agriculture, and in many countries the private sector was underdeveloped. There was insufficient credit available for agriculture.
Secondly, some ecological problems were related to global and regular markets. There was a lack of full access to markets in developed countries for many agricultural products, especially those from developing countries. Some of the reasons could be legitimate concerns about the food sector, but in many cases developing countries believed the reasons for trade barriers were not valid. Commodity prices were often too low.
Thirdly, problems related to water were a major obstacle to food security in many countries, including poor water supply, water management or water access. A related issue was the degradation of natural resources, including deforestation, desertification and contamination of water.
Fourthly, assistance in the agricultural sector was sometimes not effective. In some countries, donors promoted different strategies in different sectors, which competed with each other. Many projects were top-down and not sustainable after they were completed. Food aid could be counterproductive by restricting the development of local food production.
Fifthly, in many countries, there was inadequate technology transfer or a lower technical capacity, including poor infrastructure, which had a direct impact on agricultural productivity.
Lastly, agriculture was also affected by problems outside the agricultural sector, such as illiteracy, population growth and poor health.
Question number two was: Where do we go from here?
Achieving the World Food Summit goals would require the mobilization of additional resources for investment in agriculture. Resources could come from private and public sources, both from within countries and from external sources. Direct investments were needed in agricultural production, but investment was also needed in reforestation and watershed management to ensure that development was sustainable.
ODA support for the agricultural sector including natural resources, forests and fisheries, needed to be increased. Partnerships needed to be fair, not one-sided. Projects needed to be developed from the bottom-up, not from top-down. Access to markets needed to be improved and trade barriers needed to be reduced.
It was estimated that the annual loss of income to developing countries from lack of market access exceeded US$ 100 billion, more than twice the amount of assistance to developed countries.
Developing countries and countries with economies in transition needed to take steps to address their own problems. National strategies needed to be both comprehensive and focused. Beneficiaries needed to be involved in the development of projects. Local NGOs could be strengthened. Women needed increased access to land and needed to participate in decisions that affected their livelihoods.
There was a need for improved education, extension and understanding of the problems of poverty and hunger. Increased literacy usually led to increased nutrition and reduced poverty. Investments were needed to increase human, as well as technical, capacities. Local institutions needed to be strengthened, and appropriate technology transfer needed to be promoted.
Regional approaches such as NEPAD and South/South collaboration needed to be supported and strengthened. Above all, sustained political commitment was required.
I thank you for your attention.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Mr Chairperson, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Its an honour and a pleasure for me, to give you a brief summary of the Round Table No. 3 discussion this morning that was attended by delegations of 42 countries and the European Community. I co-chaired the meeting with the Secretary of State for Cooperation and Development of Belgium, Mr Eddy Boutmans.
The discussions focused on two main topics: how to ensure the political will necessary to achieve the goals of the World Food Summit, and how to mobilize the necessary resources. All agreed on the need for a real partnership between developed and developing countries, and between agriculture and the other sectors in revitalizing agriculture. The partners needed to recognize and stress the importance of agriculture to the larger society and economy, without which food security could not be achieved. This would require educating policy makers and the public at the national and international levels.
Recognition of the fundamental human right to food was a great challenge and moral obligation for our generation. The target of reducing the number of hungry people by half by 2015 was ambitious, and it was agreed that it was imperative to reaffirm and realize the goals of the World Food Summit and the Millennium Declaration. A precondition to attaining food security was the prevention and resolution of violent conflicts. Although this was a shared responsibility, the primary responsibility lay with the groups involved.
To arrest the decline of the agricultural sector, and achieve food security, investment and agriculture and rural development needed to be made attractive to both national and international capital donors. Trade was an important tool in fighting poverty, and the objective should be to improve agricultural productivity in developing countries, and to increase their export capacity. It was necessary to create an enabling environment to direct investment in agriculture and rural development at national, regional and international levels. Governments should address more than just agriculture when addressing food security, and should put in place comprehensive food security policies that included infrastructural development, research priorities, land reform, water policy and national incentives for investment in agricultural development. Capacity-building in food distribution was also a priority.
Governments faced major challenges in ensuring coherence in responding to a wide range of international commitments under environmental, trade, agricultural and other agreements. In developing a coherent response to these commitments, agriculture and rural development should not be allowed to become a casualty. In certain cases, the liberalization of trade could actually increase poverty and food insecurity. In such cases, policies were needed to correct problems as they arose, and developing countries should be supported in taking the necessary steps, which the Doha development agenda would make possible.
Meeting environmental and food safety standards in trade to satisfy the demand of consumers for safe and nutritious food was an important challenge to developing countries. Capacity-building was needed to improve the market acceptance of their products in trade.
For many countries, water was the crucial element in agricultural development. The importance of water management and water governance was stressed. Water also often needed to be addressed as an aspect of conflict prevention.
Donors should support developing countries in giving much greater importance to agricultural and rural development in the poverty reduction strategies and programmes. The important contribution of regional integration in this effort was recognized.
The role of FAO in helping Governments in all aspects of food production, and the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action was stressed.
The Multistakeholder Dialogue held on 12 June 2002 was co-chaired by H.E. Ms Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Minister of Development Cooperation of Norway and Ms Sarojeni V. Rengam of the NGO Pesticide Action Network - PAN. Some 280 people participated in this Dialogue, of which 54 representing Governments, 173 representing NGO/CSOs and 6 representing UN institutions.
The report on the Multistakeholder Dialogue, the text of which is reproduced below, was presented to Plenary by Ms Sarojeni V. Rengam on Wednesday, 12 June, in the evening.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this afternoon a Multistakeholder Dialogue was held in the FAO premises between NGOs, CSOs and Governments in conjunction with the World Food Summit: five years later. The objectives of the Multistakeholder Dialogue were to exchange views, discuss and debate on issues pertinent to the various stakeholders on food security issues.
The NGOs and CSOs were represented by peasants, fisherfolk, farmers, women's organizations, indigenous peoples, youth and agricultural workers as well as by NGOs. There was general disappointment expressed at the outcome of the World Food Summit: five years later. Another issue of concern was the impact of globalization and trade liberalization processes and policies that promoted corporate control and that had displaced peasants, fisherfolk and indigenous communities throughout the world. It was felt that globalization increased hunger and malnutrition and eroded the environment, as well as genetic and cultural resources.
We also felt that agricultural trade should not be under the purview of the World Trade Organization, but under the purview of FAO which was mandated to address food and agricultural concerns.
The other concerns raised regarded biotechnology and its promotion without adequate studies of the health and environmental risks. Cases were cited in which the rapid advancement of biotechnology had led to the contamination of local genetic resources.
Others included: patenting of life-forms which the NGOs and CSOs felt was unacceptable; the industrialization of agriculture, which led to worsened conditions of farmers and workers; a reduction in family farms; an increase in pollution and food safety hazards without an increase in food security.
NGOs and CSOs felt that all this would erode the right to food, the right to seed security, plant genetic resources, indigenous and peasant rights. A root cause of food insecurity was the lack of access to land and productive resources.
Another issue that also came up was that in the areas of conflict and wars, the right to food should be supreme and food not be used as a political tool.
The recommendations from the NGOs and CSOs were to ensure and protect a rights-based approach, recognizing the empowerment of peoples and their communities; the right to food and production; access to productive resources and means of production; food choices; seed security; fair trade and access to local markets; and the right determine food and agricultural policies. It was the responsibility of nations to ensure these rights.
Another proposal was a convention on food sovereignty to protect these rights.
A further recommendation was a Code of Conduct on the Right to Food.
There was also a call for Governments to ensure the survival of smallholder agriculture as the basis of food security, and that there should be a Farmers' Summit to mainstream farmers' issues in development.
There was also a call to promote organic and agro-ecological agriculture and its research, and a request on a moratorium on genetically- modified organisms.
Another recommendation included developing and implementing a Code of Conduct on Biotechnology based on the precautionary principle, and providing labelling on products of GMO origin. There was also a recommendation to ratify and effectively implement existing treaties, including CCD, CBD, POPs, and to ensure core-labour standards of the ILO.
The full and meaningful participation of youth, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, peasants, fisherfolk and women in national decisionmaking processes and programmes was recommended.
Finally, the right to breastfeeding as the first element of food security was recognized and promoted.
Few Governments took part in the Multistakeholder Dialogue. Key areas discussed were trade liberalization and biotechnology and some of the suggestions from Governments included: repositioning agriculture and rural development to provide much more emphasis to agriculture and rural development than in the past and substantially increasing funding for this purpose; recognizing and supporting the role of NGOs and CSOs as partners in implementing policies and in development cooperation; promoting the conservation of genetic diversity; promoting studies to be undertaken on the health and environmental risks of biotechnologies, with a few Governments in favour of a moratorium on GMOs and others interested in implementing other regular trade mechanisms; promoting research on organic biological agriculture; ensuring adequate quantity, quality and safety, as well as access to food; supporting the crucial agricultural research being undertaken in the public sector on staple foods; promoting policies that prioritized local purchase of food aid; ensuring that more farm land was available to indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups; and that FAO should complement its technical work by further enhancing its role in fostering and facilitating dialogue among all stakeholders, and finally, promoting more effective donor-coordination in support of agriculture and rural development.
Thank you for this opportunity to have this Multistakeholder Dialogue, and to share the discussions here in this Plenary.
A series of Parallel Events took place during the World Food Summit: five years later.
The Private Sector Forum organized by the Consiglio Nazionale dell'Economia e del Lavoro (CNEL) took place at Villa Lubin (Villa Borghese). Mr Augusto Bocchini, spokesperson for the Private Sector Forum, informed the Plenary session of the World Food Summit: five years later on Thursday, 13 June 2002 on the outcome of the discussions.
In bringing you the Private Sector Forum's declaration, I would very much like to greet and thank the delegates, FAO, its Director-General, and the Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Silvio Berlusconi. On the occasion of the World Food Summit: five years later, the private sector organizations, in collaboration with FAO, held a parallel event in order to define the measures and projects that could make a positive contribution to combating the problem of hunger and poverty. The Private Sector Forum was held in Rome on 12 June at the Consiglio Nazionale dell'Economia e del Lavoro, producing extensive discussions involving Italian, European and international businesses and organizations. At the end of the Forum, the participants produced a drafted summarizing the discussions and the short- and long-term commitments that the private sector has undertaken to maintain in order to make a positive contribution to the global strategy of combating hunger.
The private sector organizations think the conditions are right for encouraging the development of agriculture and the food industry in the least developed countries, on condition that actions of private operators occur in synergy with those of public institutions and international organizations. It is necessary to work in partnership, to coordinate the efforts of the public institutions with those of the private sector, to work first and foremost from the bottom up, taking as our point of departure the principle that the rural populations of countries hit by the scourge of malnutrition and poverty must be actively involved. Nor should the requirements of the governments of developing countries be forgotten. They must work towards creating the conditions necessary to attract private sector investment and, above all, there must be no power conflicts or struggles; there must be a climate of security and a creation of infrastructure in these countries. In order to attract this investment, the representatives of 185 States set themselves the goal at the World Food Summit of 1996 of reducing the number of undernourished people in the world to half by 2015. Five years later, FAO has revealed that progress is still too slow – but if immediate action is taken it will still be possible to meet this challenge.
According to FAO, the representatives of the private sector who attended the Forum think that the achievement of the goal established at the 1996 Summit and reiterated at this Summit depends on two vital conditions: promoting global partnership, whereby not-for-profit and for-profit initiatives work towards the same goals; and associating public and private investment with support measures designed to combat hunger, reduce poverty and encourage development. The private sector is well aware of the important and decisive role it can play in resolving the problems of food security and poverty through projects and measures that could have a structural or fundamental impact. as a result of partnership between public and private operators. The instrument of debt offered to these nations by developed countries has so far proved unsuccessful at solving their problems and is indeed counterproductive in light of the serious nature of the problems and recognized objectives.
In cooperation with the international institutions and governments, the private sector will look into the possibility of defining new original actions to deal with the problems of poverty and hunger in the world. These will centre on medium- and long-term organizational, human and skills resources, with promotion of food production in countries where hunger is widespread, assistance in bringing land under cultivation, development of modern agriculture using innovative technology so that young people and rural populations may have some certainties and prospects for the future, and the easier dissemination of professional skills and of techniques for the production, storage, preservation, processing and distribution of food products. In addition, the private sector organizations undertake, in the short and medium term, to advance humanitarian initiatives that can help achieve the goals of combating malnutrition established by FAO and the United Nations, with particular regard to the goal of expanding the agricultural and food sector in the developing countries. The private sector organizations are prepared to take action to promote an agri-food system that meets the following requirements: increased agricultural production in keeping with environmental conservation, development of production and entrepreneurial systems in which workers' rights are protected, creation of production systems that ensure the participation of all components of the food chain, from farm to table, and that guarantee safe and nutritious food, reduced food risks and quality of varieties and organoleptic characteristics.
Finally, the development of agriculture, the food industry and the whole agri-food system in the developing countries would also have to be integrated into general rural development, so that agricultural activity focuses not only on producing food but is also geared towards creating and conserving valuable resources through land-use management, conservation of the environment and a renewed interest in traditional foods. With regard to potential areas of future activity for the private sector, I would like to mention the following: paying more attention to better understanding community cultures and traditions; contributing towards overcoming structural problems in transport, communications, roads; fostering the conditions needed to guarantee adequate energy supply in rural sectors of developing countries; creating the conditions for developing training systems; promoting markets for technical resources, fertilizer, mechanization and so forth, and creating logistics and trading structures for the harvesting, storage and processing of agri-food products; improving the management of water resources; working in the vocational training sector and providing technical assistance to the young, to women and to agricultural operators, in order to increase production and to ensure food security, while at the same time improving food quality.
The participating organizations made a number of specific commitments at the Private Sector Forum. This was how we chose to demonstrate our support and make our contribution to the work of FAO. And we are ready to join with FAO in a dialogue on policies and to undertake work in the field in synergy with governmental or decentralized cooperation. In this way, we hope to participate actively in resolving the greatest problem facing humankind at the beginning of the third millennium, working together with the United Nations, the other international organizations and the governments engaged in the fight against hunger and poverty in the world. To this end, the private sector organizations have identified the following commitments: encourage initiatives to define humanitarian intervention to be carried out with the joint participation of companies and workers in the agrifood sector; encourage at government and international organization levels the drafting of a proposed rural development plan for developing countries, which would envisage the direct involvement of private operators in projects and measures designed to ensure the development of the agri-food system; participate in carrying out projects and vocational training for rural populations and assist governmental organizations in conducting the specialized technical support activities of technology transfer projects in order to increase agricultural production and improve food hygiene and security; process raw materials and foodstuffs; effect conservation and distribution activities; define and implement plans for the management and rational use of water resources; participate in the definition of international criteria, regulations and codes of conduct in agriculture, fisheries and forestry; cooperate with the governments and private organizations of developing countries to formulate development programmes for the agri-food system, which will be implemented with the help of FAO and other UN agencies.
The NGO Forum took place at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Rome from 8 to 13 June 2002. Ms Sarojeni V. Rengam, Representative of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), informed the Plenary session of the World Food Summit: five years later on Thursday, 13 June 2002 on the outcome of the deliberations of the NGO Forum.
Thank you Mr Berlusconi, Mr Jacques Diouf and Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to read to you the Report of the NGO Forum for Food Sovereignty that is taking place at this very moment.
The social movements, farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, environmentalists, women's organizations, trade unions and NGOs gathered here in Rome express our collective disappointment in, and rejection of, the official Declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later. Far from analyzing and correcting the problems that have made it impossible to make progress over the past five years toward eliminating hunger, this new Plan of Action continues the error of more of the same failed medicine with destructive prescriptions that will make the situation even worse.
The 1996 Plan of Action has not failed because of a lack of political will and resources but, rather, it has failed because it supports policies that lead to hunger, policies that support economic liberalization for the South and cultural homogeneity, which are backed by military force if the first wave of prescriptive action fails.
Only fundamentally different policies which are based on the dignity and livelihoods of communities can end hunger. We affirm our belief that this is possible and urgently needed.
Since 1996, Governments and international institutions have presided over globalization and liberalization, intensifying the structural causes of hunger and malnutrition. These have forced markets open to dumping of agricultural products and privatization of basic social and economic support institutions. This political will has opened doors to the unbridled monopolization and concentration of resources and productive processes in the hands of a few giant corporations. The imposition of intensive, externally dependent models of production has destroyed the environments and livelihoods of our communities. Furthermore, it has created food insecurity and has put the focus on short-term productivity gains using harmful technologies, such as Genetically-Modified Organisms. The results have been the displacement of people and massive migration, the loss of jobs that pay living wages, the destruction of the land and other resources that people depend on; an increase in polarization between rich and poor and within and between North and South; a deepening of poverty around the world and an increase of hunger in the vast majority of nations.
There will be no progress towards the goal of eliminating hunger without a reversal of these policies and trends, but the current Declaration offers no hope of such reversal. Therefore, we are calling for the approach of food sovereignty which is the fundamental approach. Food sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities and countries to define their own agricultural labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally-appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally-appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies. Food sovereignty requires placing priority on food production for domestic and local markets based on peasant and family farmers, diversified and agro-ecologically based production systems. It also means ensuring fair prices for farmers, which means the power to protect internal markets from low-priced dumped imports. It includes access to land, water, forests, fishing areas and other productive resources to genuine redistribution, not by market forces and World Bank-sponsored, market-assisted land reforms. It means the recognition and promotion of women's roles in food production and equitable access and control over productive resources. It means community control over productive resources, as opposed to corporate ownership of land, water and genetic and other resources. It means protecting our seeds, the basis of food and life itself for the free exchange and use of farmers, which means no patents on life and a moratorium on the genetically-modified crops which lead to the genetic pollution of essential genetic diversity of plants and animals. It means public investment in support for the productive activities of families and communities geared towards empowerment, local control and production of food for people and local markets.
Food sovereignty means the primacy of peoples' and communities' right to food and to food production over trade concerns. This entails the support and promotion of local markets and producers over production for export and food imports.
To achieve food sovereignty, we have committed ourselves to strengthen our social movements and develop the organizations of farmers, women, indigenous peoples, workers, fisherfolk and the urban poor, in each of our countries. We will advance regional and international solidarity and cooperation and strengthen our common struggles. We will struggle to realize genuine agrarian and fisheries reform, rangeland and forestry reform and achieve comprehensive and integral redistribution of productive resources in favour of the poor and of the landless. We will fight for the strong guarantee of the rights of workers to organize, bargain collectively, and have safe and dignified conditions and living wages. We will struggle for the equal access of women to productive resources and the end to patriarchal structures in agriculture and social, economic and cultural aspects of food. We will fight for the right of indigenous peoples to their cultures, domain and productive resources.
We call for an end to the new liberal economic policies being imposed by the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and northern countries and other multilateral and regional free trade agreements. We demand the removal of agriculture from the WTO. We will fight to stop genetic engineering and the patenting of life and demand an immediate ban of terminator and similar genetic use restriction technologies. We also demand an end to the passing off of GMO food in food aid. We demand an immediate stop to the war on people and the land around the world and an end to the repression of people's movements, as well as an immediate end to the illegal occupation of Palestine, the embargoes on Cuba and Iraq and the use of food as an instrument of blackmail. We demand support for the development and dissemination of agro-ecological systems of production. We call for a Convention on Food Sovereignty in order to enshrine the principles of food sovereignty in international law and institute food sovereignty as the principal policy framework for addressing food and agriculture.
We would like to remember the hundreds of Chinese who have recently passed away because of the problems of drought and environmental problems caused by flooding which has increased the hunger problems. So, in remembering this, we call for the demands to be accepted and to be protected, the rights to be accepted and to be protected.
So thank you very much for this opportunity.
A Parliamentarians' Day took place at the Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Senate of the Republic of Italy, on Tuesday, 11 June 2002. The event was hosted by the Italian Parliament in collaboration with the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), and was open to all Members of Parliament attending the World Food Summit: five years later.
Nearly 200 Members of Parliament from over 80 countries attended the meeting which allowed them to receive first-hand knowledge of the main issues and orientations of the Summit, as well as information on last-minute developments with regard to the preparation of the Summit's outcome documents. Participants were able to exchange views concerning parliamentary strategies for effective follow-up to the Summit decisions, in particular through the adoption of appropriate legislation and the mobilization of adequate financial resources.
Mr Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Italy, informed the Summit on 13 June 2002 on the outcome of the deliberations by the Members of Parliaments.
First of all, I should like to congratulate the Italian Government, not for the fine weather - I don't think we can attribute the weather to Mr Berlusconi - but for the major undertaking assumed to report the Summit's position at the G-8 and within the European Union. The Parliamentary Union, which I have the honour of representing today, is convinced that the participation of the national legislative institutions is necessary in order to achieve the goal set by the States at the 1996 WFS: a significant reduction in hunger and poverty by 2015. It is above all the representative assemblies that give political legitimacy to government measures, that ensure them popular support and that see that the commitments made by States, such as those in Rome five years ago, are honoured.
That is why the Inter-Parliamentary Union, after its close involvement in the 1996 World Food Summit, carried out in 1998 an initial review of progress and felt itself duty-bound to contribute, during Parliamentarians' Day, to the assessment made at this new Summit. The Parliamentarian's Day hosted by the Italian Parliament brought together 200 parliamentarians from more than 80 countries. The participants expressed their concern that five years after the Summit, the declared target of halving the number of people suffering from malnutrition in the world by 2015 seems more distant than ever. Only a few countries have adopted adequate measures to achieve this goal. While the number of people suffering from malnutrition remains unacceptably high, the rate at which this number is falling remains just as unacceptably low.
During its recent session in Marrakesh, the Inter-Parliamentary Union had already drafted a message to the Summit. Reiterating the substance of the Marrakesh document, the parliaments belonging to the Inter-Parliamentary Union consider it of prime importance to: (i) reaffirm the right of every individual to have access to adequate food and to be free from hunger; (ii) implement as a matter of urgency national and international measures aimed at halving the number of people suffering from malnutrition by 2015; (iii) commit additional resources to reducing the threat of shortages, with particular emphasis on better planning of development assistance; (iv) agree on measures providing for the cancellation or at least easing of the debt of the developing countries, especially the least developed countries; (v) define sustainable national food strategies, taking into consideration the resources and capabilities of each country; (vi) establish, within the framework of multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture, the terms and conditions that will provide for enhanced food security.
We are pleased to see that many of these matters are contained in the Declaration of the World Food Summit: five years later. Regarding our own commitment, we undertake today, as we did five years ago, to encourage governments to adopt economic and social policies that are consistent with the commitments made during the World Food Summit. We wish to highlight, in particular, paragraph 10 of the World Food Summit Declaration, in which the countries are asked to establish guidelines for the progressive realization of the right of all to adequate food. We are convinced that these guidelines should reflect the mandatory nature of the right to food and suggest concrete ways for their implementation. They should also state the obligations that are to be assumed directly by the States, at both national and international level, as well as the responsibilities and contributions of other entities, such as international and even private organizations.
Strong commitment from all parties is required if the ambitious, imperative goal set at the World Food Summit is to be achieved. The parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union are ready to play their part in holding out to the disinherited of the earth the prospect of a life lived in dignity.