COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
Rome, 12 – 16 May 2003
ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
ANNEX TABLE I: Food, Nutrition and Health Indicators
ANNEX TABLE II: Changes in Global Food Security Indicators
ANNEX TABLE III: Food Security Indicators 1 and 2 with Expanded Country Composition as Exporters
ANNEX TABLE IV: World Cereal Stock-to-Use Ratios
ANNEX TABLE V: Value of Imports of Basic Food Commodities
ANNEX TABLE VI: Volum Index of Imports of Basic Food Commodities
ANNEX TABLE VII: World Trade and GDP Growth (percentage change from previous year)
ANNEX TABLE VIII: Economic Access sand Integration Indicators
This document summarises the main developments in the past year that have a bearing on the current world food security situation. Due account has been taken of the recommendations of the Committee with regard to the content of this document. Particular attention has been paid to the following recommendations made by the Committee, at its Twenty-eighth Session:
The work on food security information systems continues is reported in two documents: CFS:2003/Inf.7 - Report on the Development of FIVIMS and CFS:2003/Inf.11 - Information Note on the Status of FIVIMS at Country Level. The impact of climate change on food security has been selected as a key issue with more detailed information being provide in document: CFS:2003/Inf.13 - Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Implications for Sustainable Food Production. The other issues are directly addressed under the sections on economic access and food safety.
1. Nearly a year ago, the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl), was attended by delegations from 179 countries plus the European Commission -- 73 led by Heads of State or Government or their deputies. They renewed their commitment to the attainment of the goals set in the Rome Declaration of the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) and resolved to accelerate the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action. The latest estimates of the number of undernourished persons proved that such a gathering was indeed necessary and timely. Based on 1998-2000 data, the number of undernourished persons in the world is now estimated to be 840 million1 - of which 11 million are in the industrialized countries, 30 million in transition countries and 799 million in the developing world. Comparing this last figure to 819 million undernourished persons in developing countries in 1990-92, the WFS benchmark period, reveals a decrease of barely 2.5 million per annum over the 8 years, far below the diminution of 22 million a year required to achieve the WFS goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015.
2. Moreover, comparing the most recent two three -year periods of 1997-99 and 1998-2000 shows that there has been an actual increase of 15 million undernourished people in the world between the two periods. This is a disturbing development, reflecting a serious deterioration in the performance of countries in their battle against hunger. However, a comparison of the performance of individual developing countries in reducing hunger in relation to the WFS target reveals different outcomes. (Annex Table 1). If the WFS target is interpreted as applying to each individual country, the following observations can be made: out of a total of 96 developing countries, for which comparable data exists, 24 countries are on track to achieving their WFS target, 6 are lagging behind, 22 are slipping back, and 44 countries are off track.
3. Additionally, while 26 out of 61 developing countries achieved a reduction in the percentage of the population that are undernourished, the absolute number of undernourished people has continued to rise.
4. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the highest prevalence of undernourishment and also registered the largest increase in the number of undernourished people (See Figure 1). Most of the increase took place in Central Africa. West Africa, South East Asia and South America, have significantly reduced both the prevalence and the number of undernourished people. But Central America, the Near East and East Asia (excluding China) all witnessed increases in the prevalence as well as the number of undernourished.2
5. Given the WFS goal of reducing the total number of undernourished people to below 400 million by 2015 as well as the Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence by 2015, special attention must first be paid to countries most severely stricken by hunger, often termed the hunger hotspots.
Figure 1: Percentage of Population Undernourished in the Developing Regions
Source: SOFI, 2002.
6. As of March 2003, some 38 countries in the world were experiencing serious food emergencies, most of them (25) in Africa, 6 in Asia, 5 in Latin America and 2 in Europe (See Box 1). Two regions in Africa have faced the more severe shortages: the Southern and the Horn of Africa. In at least 17 countries –mostly African- the main cause of food shortages is civil striffe and the consequences of war linked with the displacement of people. Internally displaced population, refugees and returnees have been forced to abandon their homeland, disrupting their way of income earning and food production. In 15 cases, drought –and recurrent drought- reduced crops. Economic constraints and sharp declines in commodity prices (mainly coffee) also resulted in food emergencies in at least 6 countries. In many cases, the situation was exacerbated by the destabilizing impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. AIDS and famine are directly linked.
Box 1: COUNTRIES FACING FOOD EMERGENCIES
In eastern Africa, more than 13 million people face severe food shortages in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Grain production in 2002 declined by about 25 percent due to drought. Large amounts of food aid are urgently needed to stave off starvation. In Sudan, where conflict has been protracted, cereal production in 2002 declined by about 30 percent compared to the previous year and Tanzania faced drought in parts. In southern Africa (Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the tight food supply situation has eased with improved food aid distributions. Prospects for the next harvest are generally favourable but production is anticipated to be reduced again in Zimbabwe. Poor rainfall is also reported in southern Mozambique. In western Africa, the food situation remains extremely serious in Mauritania, following three consecutive poor harvests. Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia have been afected by successive poor crops and food shortages. Civil strife and internally displaced peoples continue to persist in Cote d'Ivorie and Guinea.
A serious humanitarian crisis persists in DPR Korea due to chronic food shortages and food assistance is urgently required. Relief food assistance is required for people affected by natural and man-made disasters in Iraq, Mongolia and Tajikistan. In the Near East, food assistance continues to be needed in Afghanistan despite improved harvest last year. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is grave due to continuing military operations and a tense political situation.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN:. Food assistance continues to be provided in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to rural families affected by the severe crisis in the coffee sector, on which the small farmers and the nations depend heavily for their income and foreign exchange earnings respectively. Food assistance is also being provided in Haiti to farmers in the southern departments affected by adverse weather. Heavy rains and flooding are reported in various parts of Bolivia and Peru with damage to crops.
EUROPE: Among the central and eastern European countries the prospects for the winter grains are mixed. In the European CIS severely cold weather conditions and inadequate snow cover have compromised larger than average areas under winter cereals.
SOURCE: FAO/GIEWS – Foodcrops and Shortages, No.1, March 2003
A recent joint mission to the west African region by FAO and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) estimated that there is a total cereal deficit of 611 350 tonnes in the area. Drought in Senegal, for example, has shrivelled harvests of peanuts, a crop used by many farmers to raise money to buy food, and forced up the prices of other staple crops. The peanut harvest is down over 70 percent from a year ago and over half of all households living in rural areas are short of food.
In Mauritania some 600 000 people face food shortages and, with the current estimates of harvests and pledges of aid, the country is expected to meet only two thirds of its cereal needs. Over 130 000 people who had settled in Mali are fleeing back across the border to war-torn Côte d'Ivoire and arriving empty-handed, dependent on their families and on aid. The influx of refugees risks worsening an economic situation where already 73 percent of the population live on less than a dollar a day. Mali has the worst cereal deficit of the area with some 213 000 tonnes of cereals needed.
An update on hunger hot spots will be provided to the Committee through document CFS:2003/Inf.6.
7. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), global food aid requirements in 2003 are expected to rise to at least US$3 billion. As of early December 2002, confirmed contributions to WFP totalled US$1.781 billion, which reflected 70 percent of the overall food aid requirements in calendar year 2002. Of the total contributions, US$197 million was contributed for development, US$1.1 billion for emergency operations, US$452 million for protracted relief and recovery operations (PRROs), and US$32 million for special operations to facilitate delivery of humanitarian relief.
8. Total cereal food aid shipments in 2002/03 (July/June) could remain at the 2001/02 reduced level of around 7.4 million tonnes (in grain equivalent). Shipments from the United States were forecast to decrease slightly as compared to the previous season in view of higher international prices and tighter domestic wheat supplies. Shipments from most other major donors are also anticipated to decline slightly. In December 2002, India pledged one million tonnes of wheat to the United Nations. This was initially targeted for Afghanistan but later expanded to cover other regions, including famine-stricken countries in southern Africa. Besides India, a number of other non-regular donor countries had also stepped up their pledges, including China, Oman, the Republic of South Africa and the Russian Federation.
9. Total cereal food aid shipments in 2001/02 reached 7.4 million tonnes. The overall shipments to the Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) fell to 6.3 million tonnes, down roughly 2 million tonnes from the previous season. This decline was mostly a result of smaller shipments to LIFDCs in Africa. The top 5 recipients of cereal food aid in 2001/02 included the DPR Korea, (1 million tonnes), Ethiopia (560 000 tonnes), Bangladesh (452 000 tonnes), Afghanistan (252 000 tonnes), and the Philippines (248 000 tonnes). The ranking of the first three of these countries remained the same as in 2000/01; but Kenya and the Russian Federation, which were the 4th and 5th largest recipients in 2000/01, moved down to 12th and 9th positions, respectively.
10. The past year saw a decline in food production at the global level, due entirely to cereals, as production of the other basic foods was either unchanged or increased modestly in 2002. As a result, and in light of increases in the consumption of most basic foods, carryover stocks have been drawn down, in particular for cereals, oils and fats and milk. Inventories held by the major cereal exporting countries have declined which has put upward pressure on cereal prices since the middle of 2002. This has been countered somewhat by large available supplies from a number of non-traditional cereal. Tighter supplies of milk and vegetable oils also put upward pressure on their international prices in 2002 and the same is expected for meats and pulses in 2003.
11. The Committee customarily reviews a set of indicators for cereals given their importance in the global food basket (Annex Table II).3 All of the indicators for the most recent season (2002/2003) indicate increased vulnerability of food security at the global level. This is due largely to the drop in production in several major exporting countries caused primarily by weather conditions.
12. The first indicator measures the ability of the five major grain exporting countries to meet the import demand for grains (wheat and coarse grains). Down slightly from the previous season it is still higher than the average of the previous years. For the current 2002/03 season, this ratio is forecast to further decline to 1.13, which implies that supplies will exceed requirements by only 13 percent. The driving factor behind this decline is weather-induced production shortfalls in 2002, which have severely reduced exportable supplies in Australia, Canada and the United States.
13. However, the past few years have witnessed the entry into the world cereal market of several countries that have been able to develop large exportable surpluses: namely, Brazil, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. If the first indicator were re-calculated, including these new grain exporting countries, the ratio would be significantly higher for all the years (Annex Table III).
14. The second indicator relates to the level of closing cereal stocks held by the five major exporters of wheat, coarse grains and rice to their total disappearance (domestic consumption plus exports). For 2002/03, this indicator reflects a worsening of the global cereal supply situation for all major cereals, especially since declines have been accompanied by an increase in international prices.
15. The third indicator measures changes in cereal production among the “once” major cereal importing countries of China, India and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) against the preceding year. For 2002, the values of this indicator fell, in contrast to a sharp rebound in the previous year. The decline in the combined cereal production of this group of countries was largely due to a significant drop in cereal production in India which more than offset the small increases in cereal output of China and most of the CIS countries. However, this indicator has become less relevant in recent years as most of those countries have become net grain exporters instead. For this reason, the Committee may wish to reconsider the use of this indicator.
16. The fourth indicator is used to evaluate changes in aggregate cereal production of the LIFDCs. For 2002, the indicator was negative, pointing to a decline in overall cereal production in this group of countries. As in the case of the third indicator, the decline reflects a sharp drop in cereal production in India, which fell by almost 9 percent relative to the previous year.
17. The fifth indicator measures the changes in aggregate cereal production of the LIFDCs excluding China and India. Using this measure, aggregate cereal output for this modified group of countries actually registered a modest growth of about 1 percent in 2002 following an even stronger performance in the previous year. Good harvests in most LIFDCs in North Africa and in Asia more than offset production shortfalls in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
18. The sixth indicator provides a snap shot of year-to-year changes in selected export prices for wheat, maize and rice. International wheat and maize prices during the first 7 months of the 2002/03 (July/June) marketing seasons averaged well above the quoted prices during the corresponding period in 2001/02. International rice prices staged a mild recovery in 2002, although this did not apply to all rice qualities and origins. Market intervention in some rice exporting countries led to the rise, while import demand remained generally weak.
19. The Secretariat proposes the continued use of the concept of stocks-to-use ratio as one measure of the global supply and demand changes for cereals from one year to the next, supplemented by further analyses of changing international prices of the commodities concerned. Annex Table IV shows the stocks-to-use ratios for total cereals, as well as for wheat, coarse grains and rice, for the past two decades along with the forecasts for 2002/03. The cereal stock-to-use ratio is expected to plunge to 23.5 percent this season, which would be the lowest in 22 years (below 31 percent in 1995/96 when the last major price surge occurred). The decline in the total cereal ratio is a sum of significant drops for each major cereal category, i.e. wheat, coarse grains and rice. With concomitant increases in international prices, there is likely to be an increased vulnerability to unexpected changes in global production.
20. Roots and tubers, the second most important staple after cereals, are a major source of energy intake in many developing countries, especially for the rural population. Global availabilities in 2002 are estimated at 686 million tonnes (184 million tonnes in grain equivalent), virtually unchanged from the previous year, reflecting smaller carry-over stocks from depressed 2001 crops that offset a production expansion of about 1 percent in 2002. Within the commodity group, global supplies rose for sweet potatoes and, to a lesser extent, for cassava, yams and other minor roots and tubers, while a contraction was recorded in the case of potatoes.
21. World production of roots and tubers decreased in the developed countries, while developing countries experienced a small overall increase. Production increases in LIFDCs, which are responsible for some 70 percent of global output, boosted their overall supplies by about 1.5 percent. As a result, the per caput availability for this group of countries remained in the order of 109 kilograms (27.3 kg in grain equivalent) in 2002, unchanged from the previous year, but 2.4 kg less than in 2000. Of special concern was a drop in the 2002 per caput cassava supplies in a number of African LIFDCs.
22. LIFDCs currently derive 11.2 percent of their calorie intake from various oilseeds, vegetable oils and animal fats as opposed to 9.5 percent a decade ago. International prices of oils and fats have appreciated considerably since early 2002, due largely to a decline in global supplies, resulting from both lower carry-in stocks and stagnating output, particularly for palm oil which is second only to soya oil in terms of global production and consumption. However, global supplies are anticipated to fall in marketing season 2002/03 (October – September) as a response to declining real prices – the first decline in over ten years. Output in the developing countries has been growing rapidly and is expected to expand by slightly less than 2 percent in 2002/03, and as a group would thus account for about 64 percent of world production. In contrast, exportable supplies are heavily concentrated, with a few developed countries (Canada, some EU countries and the United States of America) and four developing countries (Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia) accounting for about 80 percent of world exports.
23. Growth in animal inventories in LIFDCs has outpaced world averages by over 1 percent annually since 1995, with the strongest regional growth occurring in Africa. The share of total calorie consumption in these countries provided by animal products (meat, dairy, eggs and offals) averaged 10 percent in the 1998-2000 over the past ten years.
24. Meat production in the LIFDCs has grown by 4.7 percent annually since 1995, increasing this group’s share of world output from 33 percent in 1995 to an estimated 37 percent in 2002. Consumption in these countries, while rising from 20 to 23 kg/capita, is still significantly below the world average of 39.4 kg/capita. In 2002, international meat prices slid in response to strong meat output increases in the major meat exporting countries in a context of only mild growth in import demand. Upward price pressure in 2003 is expected to stem from a slowdown in meat supply; particularly from the major developed country exporters who supply nearly two-thirds of world trade in meat products.
25. World production of milk rose by 2 percent in 2002. Strongest rates of growth occurred in the developing countries, including the LIFDCs. Consequently, the share of developing countries in world milk production continued to grow and is currently estimated at 41 percent of total output. Reflecting higher supplies (and export subsidies), international dairy product prices fell from mid 2001 to August 2002 to their lowest level since 1990. However, reduced export supplies since mid-2002, mainly attributable to limited production growth and in some cases declining production (Oceania and South America), has caused a substantial rebound in prices, increasing by almost 40% by February 2003, and returning close to the average levels of recent years. Higher import demand has also supported price increases, particularly for milk powder in China and in South East Asia, for dairy products in Algeria, Central America and Mexico.
26. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people rely on fish as an important source of animal protein (30 percent and above). Dependence on fish is usually higher in coastal areas. About 56 percent of the world's population derives at least 20 percent of its animal protein intake from fish, and some small island states depend on fish almost exclusively.
27. The total food fish supply for the world, excluding China, has been growing at a rate of about 2.4 percent per annum since 1961, while population has been expanding at 1.8 percent per annum. However, since the late 1980s population growth for the world, excluding China, has occasionally outpaced the growth of total food fish supply, resulting in a decrease in per capita fish supply from 14.6 kg per caput in 1987 to 13.1 kg in 2000. In the early 1960s, per capita fish supply in LIFDCs was, on average, one-fifth that of the richest countries. This gap has gradually narrowed and in 1999 average LIFDC fish consumption was close to half that of the more affluent economies. If China is excluded, per capita supply in LIFDCs increased from 5.0 to 8.3 kg over the period - an annual growth rate of 1.3 percent.
28. Despite the relatively low consumption in LIFDCs, the contribution of fish to total animal protein intake is considerable (nearly 20 percent) and it may be higher than official statistics indicate, due to the contribution of unrecorded subsistence fisheries to food intake. Over the last four decades, however, the share of fish proteins to animal proteins has exhibited a slight negative trend owing to faster growth in the consumption of other animal products.
29. From the mid-1990s to 2001, the cost of importing food by the developing countries trended downward due to falling international prices for most basic food commodities (Annex Table V). During the same period, the volume of food imports by developing countries rose substantially, by 29 percent (Annex Table VI). The fastest growing imports, in volume terms, were oils, fats and oilseeds, followed by meat, sugar, cereals, and dairy. In 2002, however, the trend in the food import bill of developing countries was reversed, as it is estimated to have increased in nominal dollar terms by 6 percent to over US$68 billion. The food import bill of LIFDCs is estimated to have increased by 9 percent to US$34 billion, in nominal dollar terms. The increase in food import expenses in 2002 was mostly due to rising international prices, especially for wheat, coarse grains, oils, fats and oilseeds, although import volumes also grew modestly for all commodities, except meat, and for LIFDCs dairy products as well.
30. If recent international commodity price increases are sustained in 2003, and transmitted to internal market prices in developing countries, the demand for food imports in those countries will be affected negatively. The extent of their impact on import volumes will depend on income growth, domestic production and the elasticities of demand for and supply of the various products. For example, in some LIFDCs consumption tends to be more sensitive to price changes, thus import demand for certain products such as meats, oils, fats and oilseeds may be affected by rising prices.
31. According to the latest forecasts by the World Bank4, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of high-income countries is expected to grow at about 2.1 percent in 2003 while developing countries will grow considerably faster, at 3.9 percent. East Asia leads with a growth of 6.1 percent, followed by South Asia at 5.4 percent (See Annex Table VII). Other regions are expected to grow less than 4 percent, with Latin America managing a mere 1.8 percent. Outside of Asia and Eastern Europe, growth rates in most developing countries are too low to generate a marked effect on poverty reduction.
32. Access to food is highly related to income levels. In previous issues of this document, global poverty and inequality indicators were discussed. As no new global data on poverty has surfaced since the last assessment (see Annex Table VIII )5, the focus this year is on agriculture trade issues as there is an ongoing discussion on the potential for trade to contribute to overall economic and agricultural growth and the reduction of food insecurity.
33. With more than 70% of the poor living in rural areas, agriculture remains a key economic activity to provide people with the capacity to feed themselves by producing their own food, or by being a source of employment and income to access food supplies. The key issue is how developing countries, in particular the net food import countries –and their food insecure and vulnerable people- benefit from the new framework of agricultural trade, and what policies and programmes are needed to take advantage from trade opportunities created by trade reforms.
34. Through changing trade patterns, terms of trade and prices, trade reforms in general affect national income, wealth and their distribution, thus having a direct impact on the ability to access food. Likewise, they influence food supply and commodity availability at global, national and household level and the stability thereof.
35. The Declaration of the WFS:fyl states (paragraph 12): "We reaffirm the Monterrey Consensus and we urge all members of the WTO to implement the outcome of the Doha Conference, especially the commitments regarding the reform of the international agricultural trading system, with particular reference to paragraphs 13 and 14, given that international agricultural trade has a role to play, consistent with Commitment 4 of the WFS Plan of Action, in promoting economic development, alleviating poverty and achieving the objectives of the World Food Summit, in particular in developing countries".
36. The case for trade liberalization rests on the potential for large global welfare gains. The estimated magnitude of these welfare gains vary considerably depending on the base year for model simulations, and on the comprehensiveness of the reforms over sectors and participating countries.6 The likely impact of agricultural trade liberalization has also been examined in detail. FAO concludes that, in general, the results from all these studies suggest that the expected benefits of agricultural trade liberalization are less important for developing countries than for developed counties.
37. For example, according to a recent IMF study, if OECD countries removed completely all policy distorting interventions, the most significant impact would be on temperate zone commodities that account for the major portion of OECD distortions (60 percent)7. Japan, Norway, Switzerland and to a lesser extent the EU would reduce their production of such commodities while Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States would increase theirs. Some developing countries would also gain - Argentina (wheat, maize and beef) and Brazil (poultry). The majority of developing countries would reduce their imports of temperate zone commodities.
38. Developing countries are expected to gain more from reform of competing and tropical products which account for 40 percent of total support. Examples are - Argentina (vegetable oils), Brazil (sugar), China (fruits and vegetables), Indonesia and Malaysia (vegetable oils), Pakistan (cotton), Thailand (rice and sugar), and Zimbabwe (tobacco). Since the OECD countries are not major producers of tropical products the main benefits would accrue only if tariff escalation8 or abolition of specific consumer taxes on such products are removed as tariffs are already quite low.
39. Commodity-wise, the IMF analysis revealed the following:9
40. The estimates of the welfare gains from eliminating barriers to merchandise trade - in both industrial and developing countries - range from US$250 billion to US$ 620 billion annually, with about one-third to one-half accruing to developing countries.10 DFID has estimated that "total developing country gains from a 50 percent cut in tariffs, by both developed and developing countries, would be in the order of US$150 billion - around three times current aid flows". 11
41. It is generally agreed that freer trade in agriculture has the potential to make a powerful contribution to rural development and hunger reduction. The benefits from freer trade do not come automatically, however. Many developing countries need companion policies and programmes that help increase agricultural productivity and product quality in order to raise competitiveness in domestic and international markets. Examples of companion policies include institutional and market reforms, investments in roads, market information systems and related service industries, and policy measures to promote appropriate technological innovations. Above all, countries need to ensure that those vulnerable individuals, households and groups disadvantaged by the initial impacts of trade reforms are identified and cushioned through well designed measures and safety nets.
42. In view of the crucial importance of trade issues to food security, the CFS, at its Twenty-eighth Session, recommended that FAO should "actively and positively assist developing member countries to improve their capacity in complying with international food safety standards as well as participating in agricultural trade negotiations, backed by allocation of adequate resources for this purpose."12 Accordingly, FAO has given special attention to a large number of requests received in 2002 from Member countries for assistance in preparing for the new WTO negotiations on agriculture. FAO has formulated a new programme on trade-related capacity building for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, called “Umbrella II”. The programme provides for immediate support to member countries for the multilateral negotiations; and capacity building of institutions and human resources so as to enhance capacities over the medium term to take advantage of trading opportunities.
43. The Committee may wish to draw the attention of the donor community to the importance of this programme and seek their support.
44. As recommended by this Committee at its Twenty-eighth Session, a framework document for the development of comprehensive national food safety systems was prepared for discussion at the 17th Session of the Committee on Agriculture (31 March-4 April 2003) and is also being submitted to this Committee as document CFS:2003/Inf.9. The framework builds on existing food standards work, the associated risk assessments, scientific advice and capacity building of FAO, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and WHO. The Committee is invited to provide additional guidance on further initiatives to develop a revised food safety strategy based on COFI and COAG discussions (CFS:2003/LIM/1) related to the FAO food safety framework document.
45. Interest in follow-up to the first Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators (GF-1) and in conducting regional food safety conferences in other regions, was expressed at the last sessions of the Regional Codex Coordinating Committees for Asia, Africa and the Near East. The Council, at its 123rd Session, noted that regional discussions on practical actions to promote food safety issues could take place in connection with the forthcoming FAO Regional Conferences, including possibly Ministerial or high-level Round Tables. Decisions to convene further FAO/WHO Pan-Regional Conferences on Food Safety and Quality should be left to countries of the region”13
46. FAO and WHO convened a Preliminary meeting with representatives of G-8 countries and of the European Community on February 12th, 2003, in Geneva, to discuss arrangements for the convening of GF-2, including financial contributions to implement it. The meeting expressed general satisfaction with the outcome of GF-1 and recommended that GF-2 be convened with the same objective as GF-1. It further endorsed the recommendation of GF-1 for the main theme of GF-2, namely: “Building Effective Food Safety Systems”. A Preparatory Meeting for GF-2, with the participation of representatives of selected countries from all regions, is scheduled to be held in early July 2003 to finalise the arrangements.
47. In February 2003, FAO and WHO officially launched the FAO/WHO Trust Fund for Participation in Codex with a target 12-year budget of US$40 million. The Trust Fund will help regulators and food experts from all areas of the world participate in international standard setting work and enhance their capacity to develop effective food safety and quality standards, both in the framework of the Codex Alimentarius and of building national food safety systems in their own countries.
48. As a follow-up to the Joint Communiqué made by the Executive Heads of FAO, WHO, OIE, WTO and World Bank at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Doha, a Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) has been established in WTO with a seed financial contribution from the World Bank. The STDF will be operated by a permanent Secretariat located in the WTO, under the guidance of a Policy Committee and the direct supervision of a technical Working Group composed of representatives of the 5 sponsoring agencies. A document outlining the criteria to be considered in the selection of projects to be funded by the STDF has been developed and agreed by the sponsoring agencies.
49. Since the beginning of the 1980s climatologists have predicted significant global warming in the coming decades due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. A comprehensive study of FAO in the mid nineties14 discussed climate change impacts on crop yields; while in mid- and high-latitude regions the impact appeared to be positive or less adverse than those in low-latitude regions, it assessed the potential for a decrease in food security in developing countries.
50. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is projected to affect agricultural productivity, human health and the present natural resource base. IPCC findings show that developing countries are likely to suffer most from the negative impacts of climate change. The vulnerability is highest for the least developed countries (LDCs) in tropical and subtropical areas where, besides their exposure to disasters, human, institutional and financial capacity to anticipate and respond to the direct and indirect effects of climate change is limited. Anticipated sea level rise is expected to severely effect low lying coastal areas and small island countries.
51. New evidences reaffirm that policies are required to facilitate the adjustment of agriculture to the likelihood of environmental change and improving the resilience of food production. Such adjustments may include modification of agronomic practices, adoption of crops known to be heat-resistant and drought-resistant, increased efficiency of irrigation and water conservation, and improved pest management.
52. The impact of climate change on food security and implications for sustainable food production are covered more fully in document - CFS: 2003/Inf.12 in response to a recommendation made by this Committee at its 28th Session.
53. The Committee may wish to recommend:
1 FAO, SOFI, 2002. The figures reflect more recent and revised past data so they may not be comparable to previous FAO estimates. FAO regularly updates its earlier figures on undernourishment as corrected data are provided by member countries. The estimate for 1998-2000 should therefore not be compared with the estimate for 1997-99 (777 million hungry people in developing countries) published in the 2001 edition of the SOFI.
2 FAO, SOFI 2002
3 Based on an average for 1998-2000, cereals contributed 57 percent to the total caloric intake of LIFDCs and a similar share for developing countries in general.
4 World Bank, Global Economic Prospects 2003
5 Annexe Table VIII reproduces information of the Gross national income per capita, by country, the GDP per capita growth rate, and the PPP Gross national income per capita.
6 FAO, World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030, Earthscan Publications Limited, 2003. p. 249-251.
7 IMF, World Economic Outlook: Essays on Trade and Finance, September 2002. p. 80
8 IMF and World Bank, Market Access for Developing Country Exports - Selected Issues, September 2002, p.6. Escalating tariffs—duties that are lowest on unprocessed raw materials and rise sharply with each step of processing and value added—undermine manufacturing and employment in developing countries. A Chilean tomato exporter faces a US tariff of 2.2% on fresh tomato exports but nearly 12% if they are processed into sauce. Escalating tariffs help confine Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire to the export of unprocessed cocoa beans; Uganda and Kenya to the export of raw coffee beans; and Mali and Burkina Faso to the export of raw cotton.
9 The analysis was based on a partial equilibrium model to assess short-run effects of industrial country liberalization on the terms of trade on net trade flows for six commodities.
10 IMF and World Bank, Market Access for Developing Country Exports - Selected Issues, September 2002. p.5
11 Department for International Development (DFID), Trade Matters 13: Trade and Poverty, October 2002.
12 para.11, Report of the 28th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (Rome, 6-9 June 2002).
13 (Report of Council 123, part vii).
14 FAO, Global Climate Change and Agricultural Production: Direct and Indirect Effects of Changing Hydrological, Pedological and Plant Physiological Processes, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1996. See also Chapter 13 in FAO, Agriculture Towards 2015/30, 2003.