COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
Rome, 20-23 September 2004
REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE
1. The Intergovernmental Working Group for the Elaboration of a Set of Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (IGWG) held its third session from 5 to 9 July 2004 at FAO headquarters. The Session was attended by delegates from 95 Members of FAO and the United Nations, by observers from the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta, one United Nations Agency, two representatives of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, two representatives of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, two intergovernmental organizations, and 12 international non-governmental organizations. The Voluntary Guidelines as adopted are attached to this report as well as the following appendices: 1. Agenda of the Session, 2. List of Countries and Organizations represented at the Session, and 3. List of Documents. The full list of participants is available from the Ad Hoc Unit, Right to Food Guidelines, Economic and Social Department, FAO, Rome.
2. Regional meetings and a Bureau meeting took place on 4 July 2004.
3. The Session was opened by Ambassador Mohammad Saeid Noori-Naeeni (Near East), Chair of the IGWG. Mr Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Department, FAO, delivered an opening statement.
4. The IGWG adopted the agenda proposed in IGWG RTFG 4/1 Rev.1 (Appendix 1).
5. Mr Richard W. Behrend (North America) was elected as a Bureau Member. He replaced Mr Robert Harris.
6. The Secretariat informed the meeting about inter-sessional activities, namely information papers related to the right to food, and case studies that were conducted in five countries. Mention was also made of a seminar held in Fribourg, Switzerland, on Justiciability and Access to Justice, a number of other conferences in which the right to food had been a topic, and a workshop on the Implications of the Right to Food for Economic Policy in India led by Professor S. Mahendra Dev, Director, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, India.
7. The meeting endorsed the method of work discussed by the Bureau and the Regional Chairs before the meeting.
8. Three working groups were established. Working Group I, chaired by the first Vice-Chair of the IGWG, Ambassador Christian Monnoyer (Europe), dealt with the Preface, the Introduction and Guideline 15 on Natural and Human-made Emergencies. Working Group II, chaired by Mr Noel De Luna (Asia), dealt with Part V on the International Framework. The Plenary suspended its activities and was transformed into Working Group III to negotiate the remaining Voluntary Guidelines (Parts II to IV, excluding VG 15). It was chaired by Ambassador Mohammad Saeid Noori-Naeeni (Near East). Friends of the Chair groups were established as required.
9. While the Working Groups were open–ended, regions were encouraged to limit themselves to a maximum of six country spokespersons from each region, with the possibility to rotate these spokespersons. In addition, delegations were encouraged to conduct negotiations on the basis of regional positions. The advancing of new proposals was discouraged. The support of at least two regions was required to consider new proposals. Proposals were regarded as “new” if they had not featured in the second draft Voluntary Guidelines prepared by the Bureau (IGWG/RTFG4/2 Appendix) or in the Compilation report (IGWG/RTFG 3/REP2).
10. In meetings of the Friends of the Chair, three spokespersons per region were present. NGOs and international organizations could be represented by silent observers, the number of which was limited to two representatives in the case of NGOs.
11. Proposals were projected on a screen. Brackets indicated text that was not agreed upon. Footnotes indicated, where necessary, which delegation or delegations supported or opposed a proposal.
12. Only the plenary was mandated to take decisions.
13. Arrangements for the participation of stakeholders in the sessions of the Plenary and the Working Groups remained the same as during previous meetings.
14. The Chair provided a short introduction to the Second Draft of the Voluntary Guidelines (IGWG/RTFG 4/2, Appendix) prepared by the Bureau during a meeting held from 26 to 29 April 2004 following instructions from the inter-sessional meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the IGWG that took place from 2 to 5 February 2004.
15. Subsequent to its opening session, Plenary met on 8 and 9 July to be informed about progress in the three Working Groups and, in an extra (unplanned) session on Saturday 10 July, to conclude the meeting.
16. Negotiations took place in the Working Groups and in meetings of the Friends of the Chair.
17. The three working groups of the IGWG approved a large part of the draft Voluntary Guidelines. Negotiation and adoption of the relatively few outstanding issues, on which consensus could not be achieved because of lack of time, will be conducted in a Friends of the Chair group and a final session of the IGWG still to be arranged.
18. The Chairperson of the IGWG will report to the 30th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (20-23 September 2004) on the status of negotiations regarding the Voluntary Guidelines.
19. The IGWG decided to continue negotiations of the balance of the Voluntary Guidelines within a Friends of the Chair group during the Thirtieth Session of the Committee on World Food Security (20-23 September 2004), and to adopt them at a final session of the IGWG, towards the end of October 2004, with a view to submitting them to the Council in November 2004. The dates of these two meetings will be communicated by the IGWG Secretariat.
20. Each region will be represented by three spokespersons at the meeting of the group of the Friends of the Chair.
21. While the principle of “nothing being agreed to until all is agreed” will apply, negotiations at both meetings will focus on the guidelines and paragraphs on which consensus has not yet been reached. Delegates undertook not to reopen discussion on guidelines and paragraphs for which agreed language was found by the Working Groups and Friends of the Chair during IGWG III.
22. The above arrangements are subject to the necessary funds being provided by donors and/or FAO.
23. The IGWG noted that the present report is issued as a report of the Chair.