Hundred and Twentieth Session
Rome, 18-23 June 2001
REPORT OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
Rome, 28 May - 1 June 2001
1. The Committee on World Food Security held its Twenty-seventh Session from 28 May to 1 June 2001 at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The Session was attended by delegates from 117 out of 129 Members of the Committee, by observers from 2 other Member Nations of FAO, 4 other Member Nations of the UN, by the Holy See, by the Sovereign Order of Malta, by representatives from 3 United Nations agencies and Programmes; and by observers from 1 intergovernmental and 34 international non-governmental organizations. The report contains the following annexes: Appendix A - Agenda (as adopted); Appendix B - Membership of the Committee; Appendix C - Countries and organizations represented at the session; Appendix D - List of documents; Appendix E - Opening Statement delivered by the Deputy Director-General. The full list of participants is available from the CFS Secretariat.
2. The Session was opened by the Chairman Mr Aidan O'Driscoll (Ireland). He informed the Committee of the resignation, in early January, of Ms Ana Maria Deustua Aravedo (Peru) and Ms Patricia Garamendi (United States of America) from the CFS Bureau. The Committee elected the replacements of the outgoing members: Mr Miguel Barreto (Peru) and Ms Carolee Heileman (United States of America). Bureau members Mr Paul Ross (Australia) and Mr Bader Allawi (Iraq) continued to serve. In view of the importance of the special function of CFS in reviewing the arrangements for the World Food Summit: five years later a suggestion was made to enhance the membership of the Bureau to include representation from all regions. In response the Chairman invited representatives from the unrepresented regions of Africa and Asia to assist the Bureau in its work. Ms Neela Gangadharan (India) and Mr Costa Mahalu (Tanzania) were designated for this purpose.
3. Mr D.A. Harcharik, Deputy Director-General, delivered the opening statement on behalf of the Director-General.
4. The Committee appointed a drafting Committee composed of the delegations of Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cuba, Egypt, Guinea, Japan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States under the Chairmanship of Mr Fernando Gerbasi (Venezuela).
5. The Committee noted that Ms Barbara Huddleston, Secretary of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), would be retiring towards the end of the year, after having served the Committee for seventeen years. It expressed its deepest appreciation for her hard work, technical competence and dedication to the work of the Committee and wished her a happy and enjoyable future.
6. The document CFS:2001/2 provided the assessment of the world food security situation underlining, inter-alia, the causes and effects of food insecurity in the developing countries.
7. Attention was drawn to the precarious food security situation in the Palestine territories. Regrets were expressed that the West Bank and Gaza Strip were not mentioned in the assessment of the world food security situation.
8. Indicators proposed by the Secretariat for monitoring of the world food security situation by the Committee are accepted and should be used in future assessment documents. Various suggestions were made which are indicated in the recommendations.
9. The Committee made the following recommendations:
With regard to indicators, give consideration to:
With regard to evaluation of factors that may impact on food security, give consideration to:
For all concerned parties
10. The view was expressed that FAO, in collaboration with other partners, should launch, on an urgent basis, a fact-finding mission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to assess the severity of food insecurity and propose immediate and long-term solutions. A view was also expressed that the FAO has the mandate and expertise to determine the circumstances under which a needs' assessment mission should be sent to address a food emergency situation and should proceed using established criteria.
11. The increasing dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its devastating impact on nutrition, health, agricultural production, food security and economic and social development present an enormous humanitarian and development challenge for all nations.
12. HIV/AIDS can no longer be considered just a health issue and must be recognised as a major crisis that undermines the ability to meet the goals of the WFS and can pose a threat to society itself. A broad coalition of all sectors and development partners for concerted, rapid action to deal effectively with HIV/AIDS is required, and must be sustained by strong political commitment at the highest levels of government.
13. HIV/AIDS, when associated with poverty, malnutrition and social marginalization, establishes a cause and effect relationship whereby these are both outcomes of the disease and factors contributing to its spread. Integrated community-based initiatives should be an important component of national programmes aiming to prevent and mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS. Gender issues, including the social status and vulnerability of women, their inheritance rights and their access to resources such as land, knowledge, technology, agricultural inputs, health and social services, need to be specifically addressed.
14. Achieving good nutrition is essential for prolonging and promoting a more productive life among at-risk and affected populations. Nutrition education, dietary recommendations and livelihood support for orphans, the elderly and destitute households, are needed. Feeding programmes and food aid may be necessary. There is a need for the poor to have access to HIV/AIDS drugs at affordable prices.
15. In seriously affected countries HIV/AIDS undermines agricultural systems and affects the nutritional situation and food security of rural families. All dimensions of food security, i.e. availability, stability, access and use of food are affected, as adults fall ill and die, and families face declining productivity as well as loss of inter-generational knowledge about indigenous farming methods and depletion of assets.
16. Several countries have demonstrated their willingness and capacity to deal effectively with HIV/AIDS and to assist others in their efforts to do so. Lessons need to be learned and shared, and international co-operation intensified.
17. Some members pointed out that the role of FAO is primarily in agriculture, and felt that FAO has a limited role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
18. The Committee made the following recommendations:
For all concerned parties
19. The application of appropriate technologies can have positive impacts in the form of improved income and food security for small farming households. However, the necessary preconditions for sustainability and replicability include amongst others: peace and security, market opportunities, a favorable political and economic enviroment, an adequate level of education and the existence of an efficient agricultural extension service and farmer interest. On the basis of these preconditions, concerns were raised about the replicability and the value of example of the case studies presented.
20. The great variety of technologies available from research stations should be fully exploited, and the potential contribution of sophisticated as well as simple technologies should receive equal attention. The participation of farmers in sharing the cost of maintenance of infrastructure such as irrigation and rural roads could ensure their sustainability and their use. However, a good data analysis on the target populations and better monitoring of change processes would aid in understanding the true potential of new technologies to improve livelihoods and reduce food insecurity over the long term. New technologies could have different impact on different members of a given community. When introducing new technologies, the potential for negative as well as positive effects should to be examined. Impacts on the environment should also be considered.
21. The Committee made the following recommendations:
22. On this theme, three information documents were reviewed and certain findings and conclusions reached. Proposals were made by members of the Committee for the Secretariat to strengthen the documents, and the Secretariat indicated that it will seek to respond to these proposals while not diluting the main thrust and directness of the documents.
23. Document CFS:2001/Inf.6, "Fostering Political Will to Fight Hunger" is frank and direct in addressing an extremely complex issue, and, in general, the suggestions made as to how commitments could be translated into actions bear serious reflection. The document recognises that hunger is both a cause and an effect of extreme poverty and that hunger eradication is a vital step in alleviating deep poverty. Incorporation of measures towards hunger eradication into the Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers of developing countries should receive the full support of the relevant international organizations and/or countries, and the WFS target for 2015 should be included explicitly amongst the Millennium International Development Goals.
24. Suggestions made by members of the Committee to strengthen document CFS:2001/ Inf.6 include:
25. Document CFS:2001/Inf.7 "Mobilising Resources to Fight Hunger" analyses resource mobilisation and resource requirements for agriculture in support of food security. The paper presents information and analysis on this subject, within the limits of available data. Resources should be mobilized at a level sufficient to tackle all the causes of hunger, focussing on priority areas within agriculture and in sectors other than agriculture so as to achieve agricultural and rural development and food security for all.
26. Suggestions made by members of the Committee to strengthen the document CFS:2001/Inf. 7 include:
27. The information document "New Challenges to the Achievement of the World Food Summit Goals" (CFS:2001/Inf. 6 & Inf. 7/Add.1) serves as a companion document to the information documents "Fostering the Political Will to Fight Hunger" (CFS:2001/Inf.6) and "Mobilising Resources to Fight Hunger" (CFS:2001/ Inf.7). It provides a broad overview of a number of major issues affecting food security which have come to the fore since the WFS, and summarises some of the actions taken by FAO and its partners towards addressing them.
28. Suggestions made by members of the Committee to strengthen the document CFS:2001/Inf. 6 & Inf. 7/Add 1 include:
29. The secretariat is requested to take the proposals contained in paragraphs 23, 25 and 27 into account in finalising the three background documents for the WFS:fyl event.
30. As requested by the Council at its 119th Session in November 2000, the Committee considered the proposals contained in document CFS:2001/5 concerning the arrangements for the World Food Summit: five years later.
31. Members reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the process did not reopen debate on any part of the Rome Declaration and World Food Summit Plan of Action and that it remained focused on the concrete actions needed to achieve the WFS goals.
32. With regard to the preparations for the event, the Committee noted that two high level Panels were planned with extra budgetary financing, and that the reports of the Panel discussions would be made available in the form of background documents, as a contribution to the intergovernmental process. The Committee further noted that the Panels would report on their findings and conclusions at open meetings to which all countries would be invited.
33. The Committee noted the expectation that other organizations would host additional events around the time of the Summit, and requested to be kept informed of plans for such events as they became available.
34. With regard to extra-budgetary funding, the Committee was informed that support was being sought both for activities during the preparatory process and for the travel and accommodation of developing countries and non-governmental representatives to attend the WFS:fyl.
35. The Committee stressed its wish that the costs of the World Food Summit: five years later be contained as much as possible. It welcomed the assurance that the Council will consider any additional financial implications for the Regular Programme and extra-budgetary funding arising from the Committee's recommendations, inter alia on Round Tables, stakeholders and negotiations, as regards the WFS:fyl. A report on the costs of the event, covering all sources of funds, would be prepared on the same basis as had been done for the WFS itself, for presentation to the CFS at its session in 2002.
36. There was general agreement to the proposals contained in the document concerning arrangements for the conduct of the event as part of the Conference. The Committee noted in particular that the proposals regarding debates and related arrangements at Plenary meetings, as well as arrangements for the participation of observers (intergovernmental and non-governmental), were based on the precedents established at the WFS itself.
37. It was noted that the Council, in addressing the overall question of arrangements for the Conference, was best placed to decide on the specific arrangements for chairing the Plenary debate on the World Food Summit: five years later.
38. With regard to the resolution which would constitute the outcome of the World Food Summit: five years later, the Committee considered that it should be concise, focused and concrete. As proposed in the document, the Bureau undertook to identify the elements of a concise draft resolution, based on the views provided by Members of the Committee.
39. The need to ensure an event of an appropriate scale was emphasized and, following consultations among Members, the following recommendations were made for the consideration of the Council.
40. The Committee recommends that the following approach be adopted for the Round Tables:
41. The Committee recommends that a working group, open to all countries invited to the WFS:fyl, be established by the Council to undertake negotiations on the resolution at its June Session, and that the elements identified by the Bureau for the resolution be transmitted to this working group.
42. The Committee recommends that provision be made for a multi-stakeholder dialogue as a parallel event with voluntary attendance by member country delegations. This event would have two co-chairs and would take place on Thursday 8 November. A report would be provided orally to the Plenary.
43. The Committee considered document CFS:2001/6 - "Proposals for Thematic Issues to be Considered at CFS/28", prepared by the Bureau. It selected "The impact of disasters on long-term food security and poverty alleviation - policy implications" as the thematic issue to be discussed at the next Session; and "The impact of access to land on improving food security and alleviating rural poverty - a review of successful cases of land reform in selected countries" as the topic for the Informal Panel Discussion for the Twenty-eighth Session in 2002. It also decided to recommend to the in-coming bureau that the theme: "The role of aquaculture in improving food security at the community level - a review of sustainable cases" be considered as the Standing Item on Nutrition at the Twenty-Ninth Session in 2003.
44. The Committee agreed to hold its Twenty-eighth Session at FAO Headquarters in Rome at a time to be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairman.
I. ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS
(a) Adoption of Agenda and Timetable
(b) Statement by the Director-General or his Representative
(c) Membership of the Committee
II. ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
III. STANDING ITEM ON NUTRITION: THE IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS ON FOOD SECURITY
IV. THEMATIC ISSUE: THE APPLICATION OF APPROPRIATE AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY AND PRACTICES AND THEIR IMPACT ON FOOD SECURITY AND THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY - LESSONS LEARNED FROM SELECTED COMMUNITY BASED EXPERIENCES
V. WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER
VI. OTHER MATTERS
(a) Arrangements of the Twenty-eighth Session
(b) Any Other Business
(c) Report of the Session
(as at 1 June 2001)
Congo, Dem. Rep.
Democratic People's Republic
Korea, Republic of
Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
CONGO, DEM. REP.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
SAUDI ARABIA, KINGDOM
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNITED STATES OF
OBSERVERS FROM MEMBER NATIONS NOT MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE
BOSNIA AND HERZOGOVINA
PERMANENT OBSERVER TO FAO
SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA
UNITED NATIONS AND SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD)
UNITED NATIONS NON-GOVERNMENTAL LIAISON SERVICE
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO)
OBSERVERS FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (ECA)
OBSERVERS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
ASIAN NGO COALITION FOR AGRARIAN REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (ANGOC)
ASSOCIATED COUNTRY WOMEN OF THE WORLD (ACWW)
EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMISTS
FOODFIRST INFORMATION AND ACTION NETWORK (FIAN)
GENETIC RESOURCES ACTION
GLOBAL CROP PROTECTION FEDERATION
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WOMEN (IAW)
INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL ASSOCIATION (ICRA)
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE (ICID)
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATIVE ALLIANCE (ICA)
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN (ICW)
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF THE ENVIRONMENT FOUNDATION (ICEF)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS (IFAP)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF HOME ECONOMICS (IFHE)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE MOVEMENTS
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN IN LEGAL CAREERS
INTERNATIONAL FERTILIZER INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
INTERNATIONAL JACQUES MARITAIN INSTITUTE
INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT OF CATHOLIC AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL YOUTH
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE - CSD NGO CAUCUS
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FAMILY ORGANIZATIONS
NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF AGRICULTURE WORKERS
NETWORK OF WEST AFRICAN FARMER ORGANIZATIONS AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS
PESTICIDES ACTION ASIAN NETWORK
SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
WOMENS INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM (WILPF)
WORLD ALLIANCE FOR NUTRITION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
WORLD ASSOCIATION OF GIRL GUIDES AND GIRL SCOUTS (WAGGS)
WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (WFTU)
WORLD UNION OF CATHOLIC WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS (WUCWO)
|CFS:2001/1||Provisional Agenda and Agenda Notes||
|CFS:2001/2||Assessment of the World Food Security Situation||
|CFS:2001/3||The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Food Security||
|CFS:2001/4||The Application of Appropriate Agricultural Technology and Practices and their Impact on Food Security and the Eradication of Poverty: Lessons Learned from Selected Community Based Experiences||
|CFS:2001/5||Arrangements for the World Food Summit: five years later||
|CFS:2001/6||Proposals for Thematic Issues to be Considered at CFS/28||
|CFS:2001/Inf.1 Rev.1||Provisional Timetable||
|CFS:2001/Inf.2 Rev.1||List of Documents|
|CFS:2001/Inf.3 Rev.1||List of Members of CFS|
|CFS:2001/Inf.4||List of Delegates|
|CFS:2001/Inf.5||European Economic Community - Declaration of Competence||
|CFS:2001/Inf.6 & Inf.7/Add.1 Rev.1||New Challenges to the Achievement of the World Food Summit Goals||
|CFS:2001/Inf.8||Food Safety and Quality - Recent FAO-led Initiatives||
|CFS:2001/Inf.9||Report on the Developments of FIVIMS||
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the twenty-seventh session of the Committee on World Food Security.
With more than 792 million people undernourished in developing countries, the problem of hunger continues to pose a major challenge to mankind. It is, however, not an impossible one to overcome. The world can be rid of the scourge of hunger. And this Committee can help.
Since the Committee on World Food Security came into being after the World Food Conference in 1974, it has played a key role in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. It has helped to develop conceptual approaches to enhance international awareness and solidarity, to establish the moral grounds for action and to design practical strategies aimed at ensuring that every human being is free from hunger at all times and in all places.
As a forum in the United Nations system for issues concerning food security, this Committee will continue to be central in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. In particular, as the main body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, this Committee has the critical role of stimulating national and international measures to ensure that the goal of the 1996 World Food Summit is attained by 2015.
At its 26th session in September last year, the Committee noted that the yearly decline in the number of undernourished in the developing countries was too slow to achieve the target set by the Summit. It underlined that, to achieve the target, the number of undernourished would have to decline by at least 20 million, on average, per year. But it is declining by only 8 million per year, at best. The world community is nowhere near reaching the target set five years ago.
It was this lack of progress towards the World Food Summit goal, and the concern that the goal may not be achieved by 2015, that prompted the Director-General to propose that the Thirty-first session of the FAO Conference be used as a forum to review, five years after the World Food Summit, progress in implementing the Summit's Plan of Action, and to invite Heads of State or Government to lead their delegations to the Conference for this purpose. The Council last November endorsed the proposal. It also agreed that the Committee on World Food Security would consider, at this Twenty-seventh session, the substantive content and format of the Summit debate during the Conference and transmit its recommendations to the Council.
Therefore, a key item on the Committee's agenda at this session is the consideration of the arrangements for the WFS: five years later. The secretariat has prepared three background documents, namely:
We look forward to your views on these documents.
The specific arrangements proposed by the Secretariat for the Summit Agenda item of the Thirty-first Conference, are provided in document CFS/2001/5 for the Committee's consideration and decision. A particularly important issue to be decided concerns arrangements for preparing a draft text of a resolution to be submitted to the World Food Summit: five years later.
A second item on the Committee's Agenda is the assessment of the World Food Security situation. The Secretariat's assessment of the situation re-confirms the lack of adequate progress towards the target set by the 1996 World Food Summit.
Our assessment also shows that 60 million people in 35 developing countries are currently faced with food emergencies caused by natural disasters and civil conflicts. Usually it is the poor who are most vulnerable to, and who suffer most from, emergencies. Notwithstanding the fact that emergencies merit immediate responses to avoid human suffering, the escalation in the number and scale of disasters has tended to focus national and international attention on short-term damage limitation activities, diverting attention and resources from the less dramatic, but equally important, issue of long-term food security.
It must be stressed that failure to address the problem of chronic hunger and poverty effectively, and to achieve sustainable food security, renders a large number of households in the developing countries vulnerable to emergencies, whether natural or man-made.
Hunger eradication is also a first and vital step in alleviating poverty. As long as there is widespread hunger in a country, little progress can be made in other aspects of poverty reduction.
Where widespread hunger is present, the foundation for broad-based economic growth is weak. Thus, it is important that the national economic and social development strategies of developing countries, including poverty reduction strategies, give high priority to hunger eradication.
A third Item of the Committee's Agenda is the impact on food security of HIV/AIDS. The fact that 95 percent of the 36 million people affected by HIV are in developing countries, with the majority of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a cruel additional affliction on those who are already poor and malnourished. However, the disease also commonly affects the most economically productive members of society, and is thus having a detrimental effect on economic and social development. Apart from the immediate sad effects at the individual and the family level, the disease will surely prove to be a serious constraint to the achievement of the World Food Summit objective and other global development goals.
HIV/AIDS is finally attracting greater political attention. For example, in the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related infectious diseases, the African Heads of State and Government have resolved to set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budget to the improvement of the health sector. Also, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, to be held from 25 to 27 June this year, will help strengthen political and international solidarity against this epidemic. FAO, within its field of competence, is prepared to work with its member governments, other UN agencies, and NGOs in reducing the impact of this disease on the agriculture sector and on rural people.
In line with the Committee's recommendation at its last session, the Committee will also consider the lessons learned from selected community-based applications of agricultural technologies and their impact on food security.
The special importance of using community-based approaches to promote adoption of improved agricultural technologies is illustrated by the case studies presented for the Committee to review. Poverty in developing countries is overwhelmingly concentrated in rural areas. Raising the agricultural productivity of small farmers leads to improvements in household income, food security and nutrition in the rural communities. It also generates supplies to meet food demand in urban areas. The case studies in the document for this item show the effectiveness of community-based approaches in bringing about significant increases in agricultural productivity for small farmers and in improving incomes and food security at the community level.
Chairman, important preconditions for long-term success in achieving Summit goals also include peace and security, existence of physical and institutional infrastructure, credit facilities, market opportunities, and a favourable policy environment, including fiscal, investment and trade policies. Your task is to help prepare the ground that will enable countries to take more effective action in all of these areas to make this truly a millenium free from hunger.
Chairman, I doubt that we could have developed a more challenging agenda for the Committee: assessment of world food security, the impact of HIV/AIDS on food security, appropriate community-based agricultural technologies, and the preparation of the World Food Summit: five years later.
I wish you a successful deliberation.