Thirtieth Session

Rome, 20-23 September 2004


Table of Contents



1. This document has been prepared drawing from national reports on the progress of the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action (PoA) as well as from international reports related to food security. The national reports have been prepared on the basis of the Revised Reporting Format approved and recommended for provisional use in 2004 by the FAO Council at its 125th session.

2. The Revised Reporting Format was sent in mid-March to Governments, United Nations (UN) agencies, and other international organizations and regional bodies. As of 15 July 2004, when this document was being finalised, complete reports were received from 33 countries1, the European Union (EU), 3 UN agencies, and 2 international organizations. Although the number of reports received was limited, the information provided using the Revised Format showed a relative improvement in terms of focus and detail of the policies and programmes pursued under the various commitments to implement the WFS PoA. However, few of the reports provided specific information on the policies and programmes’ impact on poverty and food insecurity.

3. References or examples given in this document relate only to countries and organizations which provided reports this year. However, it should not be construed that countries and organizations which did not report this year are not taking measures to implement the WFS PoA.

4. This document captures some of the specific policies and programmes being undertaken to reduce poverty and food insecurity, and does not cover the full range of policies and programmes reflected in the national reports. All reports received by the Secretariat are made available on the FAO website for reference by interested delegates.2



5. As already noted by the Committee3, a considerable number of developing and countries in transition in all regions have made progress in strengthening governance through the development of participatory decision-making processes and greater accountability and transparency in public administration, in line with the recommendation of the WFS. The 2002 Human Development Report indicates that, since 1980, 81 countries have taken significant steps towards democracy, 33 military regimes have been replaced by civilian governments, and 140 of the world’s nearly 200 countries now hold multiparty elections.4

6. Most countries which reported to the Secretariat indicated that they have taken measures to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure human rights, with a view to creating a conducive environment for sustainable development and eradicating poverty and under-nutrition. In Africa, for instance, Madagascar, under the country’s revised constitution, has introduced decentralized local administration systems; Burkina Faso has taken steps to ensure democratic and transparent election systems by strengthening the Independent National Electoral Commission; Senegal, has adopted a Plan of Action against discrimination to protect the rights of women and children, and to promote economic, social and political rights; and The African Union has adopted the African Union Convention against Corruption in July 2003.

7. In Latin America, specific measures taken to improve democracy and governance include improving the functioning of the Human Rights Commission with a view to strengthening human rights (Honduras); the establishment of an office of the UN High Commissionaire for Human Rights (Mexico); policies to promote citizen participation to combat corruption and to improve governance (Nicaragua); strengthening democracy and governance, signing and adopting the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2003 (Peru and Mexico); and strengthening the judicial system and human rights institutions (Chile).

8. Unfortunately, there are also examples of setbacks. According to the 2002 Human Development Report, of the 81 new democracies which emerged since the 1980s, 47 countries are fully democratic; many others do not appear to be in transition towards democracy, or else have fallen back into authoritarianism or conflicts. A recent World Bank report underlines that public sector governance is unsatisfactory or moderately unsatisfactory in four-fifths of low-income countries5. Reports by international non-governmental institutions also show that abuses of human rights, poor governance and political corruption are prevalent in many countries.

9. The developed countries continued to provide support to developing countries to consolidate democracy and good governance. For instance, the EU, through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), supports efforts by countries to consolidate democratisation, the rule of law, and organizations of a pluralistic civil society. Specific support includes election monitoring, strengthening NGOs, supporting international justice, and protecting human rights.


10. The global trend in major armed conflict has decreased in recent years (Figure 1); even though current crises indicate that conflict prevention and resolution through peaceful approaches have not been satisfactory. During 1996-2002 the incidence of conflicts both new and ongoing averaged about 31 per year, most of them happening in Africa followed by Asia and the Near East. War and civil conflict continue to subject populations in affected areas to considerable suffering and to destroy institutions (administration, the rule of law, education and health) and infrastructures.

11. Conflicts are one of the most important causes of food insecurity and famine. In addition to the disastrous economic and social impact, human rights abuses are reported to be high in conflict areas. While there are relatively well-developed policy frameworks for humanitarian interventions (e.g. neutrality, impartiality) and development actions (sustainability, participation, cost recovery) these, however, appear inadequate in conflict situations where people’s livelihoods need to be supported and protected on a long term basis.

12. The overall number of internally displaced persons (IDPS) as a result of conflicts and/or human rights violation is estimated at almost 25 million, and the number of refugees at 9.6 million6. More than three million people were newly displaced primarily in Africa. In May 2004, it was estimated that more than a million people became homeless in the Darfur region of Sudan because of civil conflict.

13. Among the positive developments in the wake of the millennium, was the end of some of the protracted armed conflicts, notably in Angola and Sierra Leone. The process of consolidating peace is progressing, and the challenge remains setting a path of reconstruction and sustainable development.

14. Another positive development towards the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts in Africa is the establishment of a Peace and Security Council by the African Union (AU). The role of the Council is to facilitate the AU’s response to crises, promote and encourage democratic practices, good governance and the rules of law, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law as part of efforts to prevent conflicts.

Figure 1
Undisplayed Graphic

Source: Wallensteen and Solleberg, 1997. “Armed Conflicts; Conflict Termination and Peace Agreements, 1989-96”. Journal of Peace Research 34, United Kingdom; Ploughshares Project, 2003. “Armed Conflicts Report”, Canada.


15. At its 26th Session in 2000, the CFS reviewed the progress made in enhancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the recommendations of WFS and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995). The committee noted, inter-alia, that several countries:

16. Almost all countries have continued to take specific policy, legal and institutional measures to enhance the empowerment of women, using their own resources as well as the support of developed countries, the UN and its specialized agencies and other multilateral organizations. Nevertheless, despite the ongoing concerted efforts at national and international levels, the gender gap still remains wide. For instance,

17. The magnitude of the problem suggests that more concerted efforts are needed to achieve gender equality. Considering the crucial role and centrality of women in the development process, it is increasingly recognized that, unless special attention is given to the problems faced by women, the MDGs relating to universal primary education, reduced child mortality and improved maternal health will not be achieved.




18. Almost all countries have continued to strengthen policies to fight poverty in line with the WFS and the Millennium Declaration. Fifty four countries have adopted Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) which are now accepted by all donors as providing the co-ordinating framework for all donor programmes. However, countries which wish to fight poverty using their own resources do not have to subscribe to this process.

19. Most of the strategies to address poverty and food insecurity by the countries reporting to the secretariat focus on the creation of employment and income opportunities for the poor and vulnerable groups, including small and micro-enterprises in the urban and rural areas; providing rural credit (including revolving funds, micro finances) for small farmers and the rural poor in general; providing social services; protecting, clarifying and making more secure land ownership rights; and improving governance and administrative services.

20. To take a few examples, Mexico is completing a vast regularization programme to establish more clear and secure land rights in communities that are under the agrarian reform regime. Some strategies focus on particularly vulnerable groups (e.g. Peru’s “Equal Opportunity Programme” for the disabled to enhance their participation in the development process, and Honduras with specific programmes for the poorest 80 municipalities and indigenous people). In Sudan, the main components of the strategy to fight hunger are centred on agriculture productivity and output enhancement. Development of small and medium scale industries are encouraged through domestic and foreign investment in rural and urban areas.

21. Argentina and Colombia, which have been hit by economic crisis, have focussed on policies to revitalize their economies and to put people back to work through the creation of employment and income opportunities.

22. In countries emerging from civil conflicts and/or political crisis, emphasis has been given to rehabilitation and reconstruction and helping people resume a normal life through various programmes. In Congo for instance, social programmes created employment opportunities for 30,000 people and land regulations were adopted to ensure access to land and to protect ownership.

23. In transition countries like the Republic of Armenia, greater emphasis is being given to health and education improvements. That is also the case of Slovakia where health services address nutritional needs in a comprehensive manner.

24. Generally, governments of developed countries have policies and programmes to address domestic poverty and hunger issues and to support the efforts of developing countries. In the United States of America (USA), for example, “welfare to work programs” provides time-limited cash assistance to needy families with children. The USA Government also has programmes to help improve food security in developing countries, such as the International Food Assistance, and the Famine Fund created to provide rapid emergency relief at the first signs of famine and to address its root causes.

25. Within the global framework of the Millennium Summit Declaration, the European Commission has six cooperation priority areas for its intervention: trade and development, regional integration, support to macro economic policies and transport, food security and rural development, and institutional capacity building, in particular good governance and the rule of law. Their primary objective is the reduction and eradication of poverty in developing countries.

26. Among the international organizations, the World Food Programme (WFP) supports poverty alleviation through its Food for Work Programme (FFW), which helps prevent distress sales of productive assets by the poor and thereby preserve their ability to earn a livelihood. The International Labour Organization (ILO) supports the same goals through the strengthening of cooperatives and micro finance institutions.

27. FAO tackles poverty through a wide variety of interventions in the food, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors, and rural development (as outlined in Commitment III). Technical support in land policy is given to improve access to land, particularly by the poor. FAO also incorporates basic education within a comprehensive framework of sustainable rural development, aiming at reducing poverty in rural areas. FAO and UNESCO jointly launched the partnership flagship initiative on Education for Rural People (ERP) during the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. FAO has been appointed as the UN lead agency for the ERP partnership. This inter-agency approach, which since 2002 has attracted more than 100 partners, focuses on field programmes and research on basic education in rural areas. Together with partners, FAO has also promoted the further introduction of the Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger initiative which introduces information on hunger and malnutrition in curricula at primary and secondary schools in many countries.

28. Access to education has a pivotal role in overcoming rural poverty. Increasing funding for agriculture and education is one of the main challenges facing governments and civil society.


29. Different kinds of safety nets to support the poor have been adopted in several countries. Argentina provides food and financial support to poor households to help them meet their food needs. Colombia and Uruguay also have safety nets programmes to support access to food (including health in the case of Colombia) to vulnerable groups, especially women, the elderly and disabled people. In Mexico, a national programme provides food supplement and cash incentives to poor families that participate in education and health programmes.

30. Hunger cannot be combated effectively in regions ravaged by AIDS unless interventions address the particular needs of households affected and incorporate measures both to prevent and mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to UNAIDS, there has been an increase in the number of countries with comprehensive, multisectoral AIDS strategies combining HIV prevention and AIDS treatment and care. For instance, Chile has a programme of drug treatment and preventive measures, while Peru has a training programme on prevention, which is under implementation in vulnerable communities. Burkina Faso has introduced a system to promote social protection from HIV/AIDS infection. In Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Togo, national programmes to combat the epidemic are in operation.

31. Among the developed countries, the USA finances the “national nutrition safety net program” to support nutrition for children and low-income groups. To combat HIV/AIDS domestically, it provides grants to states and territories for medical care to support services and prescription drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS. To combat the threat of the global pandemic, the USA has already committed resources to enhance prevention efforts and improve access to care, treatment and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, especially orphans. In 2004, the USA committed $15 billion over the next five years to fight HIVS/AIDS.


32. Between 1996 and 2001 a large number of countries have made substantive efforts to increase school enrolment. Available data indicates that the proportion of countries that have reached over 80% of primary school enrolment in the various regions are as follows: South Asia, 50%; East Asia and Pacific 94%; Latin America and Caribbean 97%; Near East and North Africa 69%; Sub-Saharan Africa 29%.

33. Four in five countries worldwide have regulations that define compulsory education as extending beyond primary schooling. Among the countries that have submitted reports, Chile requires 12 years of education for every child. Morocco provides education for all children up to the age of 15 and has a specific project to promote girls’ education in rural areas. Honduras guarantees basic education for all. Most developing countries have programmes to expand education with their own resources and in collaboration with development partners.

34. The USA pays special attention to at-risk children under its domestic early childhood education programme. The US also provides funds to strengthen basic education in more than 25 countries. Other programmes include Peace Corps, Global Food for Education, Centers of Excellence for Teacher Training, and support to the African Education Initiative.

35. The EC has adopted a new policy on Education and Training in the context of poverty reduction. The main priorities of this initiative are to support and enhance basic education, vocational training, and higher education, mainly at the regional level.


36. Between 1990 and 2004, the number of extremely poor people living on less than one dollar a day in developing countries fell by 150 million (See Table 1). Much of the reduction in the aggregate figure reflects the significant progress made in Asia and the Pacific Region, though the progress within the region was also uneven. While the number substantially declined from 470 to 260 million in East Asia and the Pacific, it increased from 241 to 323 million in . in Sub-Saharan Africa. The success in reducing poverty in the East Asia and Pacific sub-region, in spite of the economic crisis in the late 1990s, was due to the fast rate of economic growth, which averaged 6.2 percent per year in per capita terms during the 1990s. In China, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita during the 1990s increased at a rate of 8.2 percent per year, and the number of the poor declined by about 150 million between 1990-2004.

37. In the South-Asia sub-region where GDP per capita in the 1990s increased at a rate of 3.3 percent per year, a rate normally adequate in the long-term per capita rate of growth to reduce poverty, and poverty declined from 466 in 1990 to 432 in 2004.

38. In the other regions, GDP per capita growth remained low, and the number of the poor has tended to rise. In the transition economies, growth was negative in the 1990s and poverty increased by more than three times. More recently, these countries have made a good recovery and are reversing the rise in poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there has been almost no economic growth in the last decade, and the number of people in extreme poverty has risen by 34 percent.

39. The success in reducing the number of the undernourished has also been uneven during the 1990s, not only among countries but also over time. While during the first half of the decade the number of undernourished people declined by 37 million, the number increased by over 18 million in the second half of the decade.

Table 1. Poverty and Undernourishment by Region

Food Security related Indicators

GDP per capita growth rate (% p.a.) 1]

People living wih less than $1 a day (Millions) 2]

People living with less that $2 a day (Millions) 2]

Number of people undernourished (Millions) 3]









Asia and the Pacific


936 4]

693 4]

2,065 4]

1,925 4]




Latin America and the Caribbean









Near East and North Africa









Sub-Saharan Africa









Developing countries









Countries in transition

- 1.9

6 5]

20 5]

31 5]

101 5]





1] FAO, 2004. The State of Food and Agriculture 2003-04, Rome.
2] World Bank, 2004. Partnerships in Development-progress in the fight against poverty 2004, Washington D.C.
3] FAO, 2003. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2003, Rome.
4] Afghanistan is included according to World Bank classification.
5] Includes Turkey. according to World Bank classification.

40. The latest FAO estimates show that only 19 countries have succeeded in reducing the number of the undernourished in a sustained manner. In these countries, the number fell by over 80 million over the last decade. In 26 countries where the prevalence of the undernourished was already high (greater than 20 percent), the number of the undernourished increased by almost 60 million over that same period.

41. A closer look at some specific indicators shows that the countries that succeeded in reducing poverty and hunger witnessed rapid economic growth and rapid growth in their agricultural sectors. They also had peaceful political environment, low levels of HIV/AIDS infection and slower population growth. As a consequence of sustained economic growth, many of these countries witnessed not only sustained reduction in poverty and food insecurity but also improvements in social indicators: reduction in child morality and maternally mortality, access to clean water, and other social services.

42. In contrast, in countries where the number of the poor and undernourished increased, the rate of economic growth was low or negative. Most of these countries suffered from lack of strong institutions, solid social and physical infrastructure, and were generally faced with incidences of natural and/or man-made disasters, high rates of HIV/AIDS and other epidemics.



Measures taken at national level

43. At the national level, almost all developing countries continue to pursue strategies and policies to intensify and diversify food production on a sustainable basis, with measures to restore and conserve soils, water resources, fish stocks, forest and vegetation cover.

44. The strategies of some countries give explicit emphasis on integrating their agricultural sector to the international economy. Chile encourages competitiveness and access to international markets by small and medium producers, while assuring that a balance between the production and sustainability of natural resources is maintained. Other countries, while recognizing the importance of integrating their agricultural sectors to the international economy, give more emphasis to policies which boost domestic food production. Colombia, for instance, aims to promote investments to increase food and agricultural production through better technology, agricultural insurance, and guaranteed minimum prices to safeguard farmers’ incomes from market failures. Countries prone to production instability due to droughts increasingly focus on introducing drought resistant crops on rain-fed agriculture and in expanding irrigation facilities. These lines of action are consistent with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, as are the preventive measures being taken by Burkina Faso, Mexico, Brazil and Chile. The last three countries are working in collaboration in developing a model for measuring and evaluating land degradation.

45. The developed countries, in particular the US and the EU and its Member States, have policies and strategies for sustainable domestic food and agriculture, and support the efforts of developing countries. Internally, the US Government is collaborating with local governments and non-profit organizations to plan and implement ‘green infrastructure’ conservation approach; a research and education program aims at improve the sustainability of agricultural systems. The US has given greater priority and funding (37 per cent increase since 1996) to agricultural related activities in developing countries as a key strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction. Specific attention has been given to research programs to maintain sustainable natural resources and increased agricultural productivity through programmes like the Initiative to End Hunger in Africa and the Water for the Poor Initiative.

46. In the EU, there has been a progressive shift away from policy tools centred on agricultural productivity towards instruments taking into account society’s demands and rural development. All EU policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), are integrating economic, social and environmental concerns. Such reforms were undertaken under ‘Agenda 2000’ in order to prepare for the enlargement of the EU and the reopening of multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture. Further reforms were carried out in June 2003.

47. The EU has a series of programmes and policies to support sustainable agricultural development, food security and poverty reduction in developing countries, which include environmental protection, protection of biodiversity, climate change, fisheries management and conservation of fishery resources, genetic resources in agriculture, water management and sanitation, and the safe use of hazardous chemicals.

Measures taken at international level

48. In light of the challenges posed inter alia by globalization trade liberalization inequities, most FAO programmes focus on smallholders, taking into consideration gender perspective.

49. The Organization has thus been promoting, inter-alia, integrated crop/pasture/livestock systems; participatory approaches - such as Farmer Field Schools- to enhance productivity and crop protection; peri-urban agriculture; economically viable technologies to enable small enterprises meet market expectations and to ensure quality and safety of food and other agricultural products; and simple, cost-effective technologies and systems for post-harvest handling, storage, processing and distribution.

50. FAO has also been providing assistance in developing countries to expand small-scale irrigation including the water control component of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) which has introduced simple low-cost technologies for improved water supply to crops in over 100 countries. Furthermore, the operation of large-scale irrigation schemes has been improved through the introduction of more efficient techniques and transfer of management to water users associations.

51. To promote the development and management of natural resources, methods to estimate soil fertility depletion, up-scaling from micro to meso and macro levels have been reviewed and disseminated. FAO has established an integrated information system to effectively monitor the implementation of the Global Plan of Action on conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources.

52. In the field of livestock, simple cost-effective interventions have been introduced to increase the productivity, especially of small stock such as poultry and small ruminants. In the area of fishery, FAO provides advice to government and fishing communities on strategies aiming to improve the livelihoods of fishery dependent households. FAO also provides assistance to developing countries in combating environmental threats to food security through research and technological transfer.

53. WFP, through the FFW programme, provides assistance to better manage natural resources in emergencies to combat environmental threats to food security. This assistance includes: rehabilitating degraded agricultural lands and forests; improving access to water; and strengthening the capacity of communities in resources management.

54. ILO helps increase food production through the support of cooperatively organized small scale irrigation schemes (West Africa) and lift-irrigation systems (India). ILO has also provided assistance in job creation through the implementation of local economic development programmes in Southern Africa, Ghana, the Balkans, and South America.



Progress in measures taken at national level to establish a well functioning internal marketing system to facilitate better links within, and between domestic and external markets

55. The nature of measures taken at the national level to promote trade differs from country to country. Some countries emphasize measures focused on improving infrastructure and developing and improving information systems. Other countries stress more on direct involvement with farmers to increase their productivity and diversify their agricultural systems. Almost all countries have modified their domestic policy environments to increase incentives for promoting trade.

56. Several countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Congo, and Mauritania, have taken measures to improve infrastructure, for example primary and secondary roads to link rural areas to markets. Colombia has established a fund for marketing and price stability, with the objective of increasing and stabilizing the income of farmers. In Guyana, the Marketing Corporation provides information on export opportunities, which effectively links farmers directly to overseas buyers, as well as to local agro-processors. Burkina Faso and Guinea have strengthened market information systems to disseminate data on prices of cereals and livestock to improve the functioning of markets. Honduras promotes small businesses in urban and rural areas, and provides special support for women.

57. Developing countries have also taken measures to ensure that national policies related to international trade and regional trade agreements do not have adverse impacts on food security. Even though, they have also stressed that liberalization of its trade regime has had a negative impact on production (e.g. Ecuador and Senegal). Countries have sought to ensure benefits from trade by being more proactive on bilateral trading arrangements. Morocco, for example, has concluded agreements with a range of countries (EU, US, Mediterranean Arab countries, Turkey and others) to promote trade and market diversification.

58. Some countries have focused on measures to strengthen the ability of local producers to increase the competitiveness of their products. Argentina has phased out subsidies in its agriculture sector. Under economic liberalization and structural adjustment programmes, many countries like Togo and Jamaica have reduced the market power of import and export (formerly, monopoly) enterprises.

59. Developed countries provide assistance to developing countries to improve their trade and foster policies conducive to food security. They also provide trade capacity building (US) through technical support to improve food safety, identification of markets, and establishment of business linkages with other firms.

60. Some of the key policies of developed countries are aimed at creating opportunities for increased market access for developing countries. In this regard, they are supportive of special and differential treatment measures for developing countries. This is reflected in many proposals tabled by EU that recommend, inter alia, no less than 50% of developed countries farm imports from developing countries would be at zero duty; duty-free and quota-free access for imports from Least-Developed Countries (LDCs); a significant reduction of tariff escalation on products of particular interest to developing countries by reducing the level of tariff protection; and the possibility to support their agricultural sector for developmental reasons.

Measures taken at international level

61. The WTO has provided a platform that promotes the integration of developing country economies into the international trading arena. The Uruguay Round, amongst other things, has strengthened the international rules of trading and has disciplined domestic market support, especially in developed countries, which should result in increased market opportunities for developing countries. The Doha Round is committed to establishing strong linkages between development and trade. The recent Framework text agreed by all WTO Members reinforces the importance of trade and food security stating that – ‘Having regard to their rural development, food security and/or livelihood security needs, special and differential treatment for developing countries will be an integral part of all elements of the negotiation’.

62. Among the international organizations, the ILO has taken initiatives to promote agricultural marketing cooperatives in developing countries, and to establish commercial links between cooperatives in the South and the North. The WFP, in order to promote stable food supplies, regularly provides the WTO Committee on Agriculture information on food aid flows to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDC).

63. The FAO has been actively involved in addressing and promoting the trading capacities of developing countries through establishing linkages between trade and food security, assisting developing countries to participate effectively in the multilateral trade negotiations and contributing to their trade reform process. Examples include the FAO Umbrella for Trade Related Capacity Building for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and FAO’s participation in the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Bank and WTO.



64. Coverage and quality of Early Warning Systems (EWS) has improved at national and international levels. Information is now more accurate and timely and there has been progress in the organization of better responses. Even so, the number of people affected by natural and man-made disasters reached the range of 600 million in 2003, with more than 200 million needing humanitarian assistance.

Measures taken at national level

65. A large number of countries have continued to strengthen their national early warning systems (EWS), complemented in some cases by EWS at regional levels, for advance information to help them make preparations for quick response mechanisms to mitigate possible emergencies when they occur. The nature of national EWS differs from country to country, depending upon the type/types of emergencies the country is prone to.

66. Major efforts to strengthen EWS are ongoing in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Near East, West Africa, and Latin America. While in West Africa, CILSS (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) and national EWS focus on drought (e.g. Mauritania and Togo), in Eastern and Southern Africa, EWS focus mostly on the interaction between man-made and complex natural disasters. Is the case of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional EWS, Mozambique, Angola, Somalia. Similarly, in Colombia, EWS covers various emergencies (floods, droughts, hurricanes, etc.) Colombia has also established in 2002 a Committee for Early Warning of human rights violations. In Morocco, the EWS monitor epidemics, animal transmitted diseases, droughts, floods and forest fires. The potential of natural, industrial, and even nuclear emergencies is reported to be high in the Republic of Armenia. In 1998, the national Assembly adopted a law to protect the population from emergencies. The Government has also introduced an agricultural insurance system to safeguard farmers from possible risks which could affect agricultural output and incomes.

67. In addition to EWS, countries are continuing to strengthen Disaster Preparedness Plans to respond quickly to the needs of affected populations in the event of emergencies, though, in many cases these plans are not fully operational. The responsibility for executing disaster plans is often placed at the highest political office. In Nicaragua for instance, the committee in charge of handling emergency is chaired by the President of the Republic. In Togo, an inter-ministerial committee is responsible for co-ordinating and executing emergency plans and programmes.

68. The developed countries have put in place institutional mechanisms to monitor and respond to natural and man-made emergencies in their own territories, as well as strategies to provide assistance to other countries. Programmes have been extended to cover food safety and protection of food supply against terrorist acts – as is the case in the US.

69. To assist developing countries in detecting and responding to emergencies, the US and the EU provide satellite imagery services. In1986, the US established the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) and now the FEWS information network (FEWS NET) shares US satellite data on precipitation, river levels, crop growing and rangeland conditions, and major food commodity prices in 17 countries. FEWSNET also forecasts floods, cyclones, and droughts, which helps to assess household and community food security and vulnerability.

70. The EC had been active in disaster preparedness through its DIPECHO ("Disaster Preparedness EC Humanitarian Aid Office”) programme since 1996. In 2003, the EC reinforced its disaster preparedness policy. The new strategy aims to support populations to prepare against natural catastrophes, to develop practical preventive measures; and to mainstream disaster preparedness measures into relief operations and into development cooperation. ECHO also runs an EWS to monitor the disaster situation worldwide (conflicts, earthquakes, floods, etc.) on a daily basis. In addition, the EC provides assistance to populations of countries affected by natural disasters and by conflicts, ensuring linkages between relief, rehabilitation and development.

Measures taken at international level

71. FAO contributes to efforts to prevent and reduce the impact of natural disasters through various programmes. The Global Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) monitors food supply and demand in all countries in the world, reports on their status through regular publications, and provides early warning of impending crises. Special monitoring attention is given to over 30 countries, which are in frequent crisis situation. In the event of potential food shortages, FAO undertakes needs assessments in collaboration with WFP; the results are rapidly communicated to the government and to the international community for immediate assistance to avoid human suffering. About 25 such assessments take place every year. To strengthen monitoring of the food production and food security situation at national and local levels, FAO also assists member countries to develop Early Warning and Food Security Information Systems as well as analysis of vulnerability to food insecurity.

72. Through the Emergency Prevention System for Trans-boundary Animal and Plant pests and Diseases (EMPRES), FAO provides early warnings on animal diseases and plant pests to minimize the risk of damages, which in the past have been catastrophic, leading to famines and sometimes triggering trade restrictions. Assistance is also provided to member countries to improve their national early warning and early control of transboundary, migratory plant pests, such as desert locusts.

73. WFP has a unit dedicated to programming timely responses to emergencies. A second unit, the Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM), provides information for target relief food aid programmes. VAM specialists cover 43 countries in collaboration with relevant national institutions.

74. The importance of conflict prevention programmes to reduce internal and cross-border tensions, has also led FAO, in collaboration with other UN agencies and development partners, to put more efforts in peace building interventions and in contingency planning for anticipated peace settlements. FAO provides emergency assistance in the form of the delivery of seeds, fertilizer and tools, essential fishing gear to artisanal fisheries, and assistance to the livestock sector to enable farmers, fishermen and livestock owners to resume normal activities. Humanitarian assistance is being handled through a collaborative effort of the entire United Nations System and other international organizations, as well as NGOs, donors, and recipient governments as appropriate. In the agricultural sector, FAO works particularly closely with WFP, but also implements joint activities with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and many others.



Measures taken at national level

75. Some developing countries which have adopted PRSPs have indicated that the allocation of public resources for social and infrastructural development is made on the basis of the PRSP. Most developing countries have reported that in the allocation of their national budgets priority is given to human resource development as well as to agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors, though the degree attached to these sectors varies from country to country. The national report of Morocco, for instance, shows that the share of the national budget allocated to agriculture in 2002 ranged from 10-15 percent. In the case of Chile, allocation for human resource development amounted to 15.4 percent, and for agriculture and fishery 2 percent of the national budget in 2003.

76. Some countries indicated that their public and private investment have not been optimal and have been characterized by non-sustainable types of investment. In Senegal, in order to promote optimal allocation, measures are being taken in the country to improve infrastructure facilities in remote areas and to re-enforce management capacities. Other countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported that budgetary allocation and expenditures remain low due to a lack of institutional capacity, high expenditures on recurrent expenses, and a lack of management and control over decentralized budgets; this in turn appears to hinder private investment and the overall development prospects of the country.

77. In the Republic of Armenia, education is given the highest priority, and the share of spending in the total budget is planned to increase progressively to about 13 percent in 2006, and to 16 percent by 2015. Agriculture, second in order of priority, is planned to increase ten fold by 2015.

78. Among the middle-income countries, Turkey has given priority to a strategy of watershed development through investment on water resources management, and has made significant progress in expanding irrigation, power generation, and flood control. Creation of dams and reservoirs has enabled Turkey to save water for multiple purposes, contributing substantially to the country’s overall development. Water infrastructures also enabled Turkey to regulate the flow of rivers and to release sufficient amounts of water to downstream countries even during dry seasons.

79. In developing countries in general, public expenditure in agriculture remains generally low. In Africa, it is estimated that on average it represents around 5 percent of national budgets. An important political step was taken by the African Union at the 2003 Maputo Summit when they committed to implement the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) and to allocate, within five years, at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agricultural and rural development.

80. In Asia, government expenditures on agriculture have declined since 1990, from around 7 percent to just 4.5 percent, and sector contribution to GDP has dropped from around 10 percent to 6 percent. In Latin America, public expenditure on agriculture averages 0.8 percent of the total, being highest in the Caribbean (2 percent). However, there has been a marked shift in public expenditure towards rural infrastructure. In the Near East, there are enormous variations in the role that agriculture plays in national economies, contributing less than 1 percent of GDP in the Gulf States, but over 30 percent in the Horn of Africa and Central Asian nations.


Measures taken at international level

81. The Monterrey Consensus underlined that ODA plays an essential role as a complement to other resources of financing for development, especially in those countries with the least capacity to attract private direct investment. The critical role of ODA in the achievement of the development goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration was also recognized. The Heads of State and Government who attended the Conference urged developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of allocating 0.7 per cent of GNP as ODA to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent to the LDCs.

82. Overall, net ODA has remained rather stable in real terms during the 1990s and in recent years at US$50-55 billion. The most recent data indicate a rise between 2001 and 2002 of 7 per cent in real terms, to US$58 billion. Aid to agriculture in developing countries has dropped from 20 percent of total aid (1980-84) to just 8 percent (1996-2000). In 2001, aid to agriculture in absolute terms amounted to only US$3.7 billion. World Bank/IDA, which accounts for 16 percent of all external assistance to agriculture, has increased lending to the rural sector from US$5 billion in 2002, to US$7.5 billion in 2003. Agriculture’s share of total lending also increased from 30 percent to 51 percent in the same period. The increase has been mainly oriented to rural infrastructure, healthier and more educated farmers, and better management of natural resources. The World Bank is expected to raise its loans for research and extension, forestry, crop production, fisheries, and irrigation and drainage, from US$1.3 billion in 2003 to US$3.4 billion in 2005.

83. The Monterrey Consensus also called for speedy debt relief under HIPC Initiative. Of the 38 poor countries with large debt overhangs, 27 have reached decision point and are benefiting from debt relief. As a result, their external debt is expected to decline by about two-thirds in net present value terms, and debt-to-export indicators have improved. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF/IDA), savings from debt service payments have contributed to a substantial increase in poverty reducing expenditures.7

Measures taken by developed countries

84. The European Union, in line with the eight commitments it pledged at the Monterrey Conference and adopted at the EU Council in Barcelona in 2002, is on track to meet its 2006 target to increase ODA as a share of GNP. Member States, which have not yet met the UN ODA target of 0.7 percent of GNP, have set a timetable for reaching this goal. The EC envisages that in 2006 all the current members will reach or exceed the individual ODA target of 0.33 per cent of GNP. The projected collective ODA target of the first 15 Member States in 2006 is 0.43 percent. As regards to debt relief, the EC has been supporting the HIPC initiative since its inception in 1996 and supports the enhancement mechanism endorsed at the G7 Summit in Cologne in 1999.

85. In 2003 the US increased its ODA by 16.9 percent in real terms and has announced its intention to increase core development assistance to be managed by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) – a new compact proposed by the US for global development- to link greater contributions from the developed countries to greater responsibility from the developing countries. Participating countries will be selected based on performance on 16 indicators related to political governance, economic policy and investment in people.8

86. The US also channels development assistance through the Global Development Alliance, and HIPC debt relief. In addition, the US provides debt relief for low and middle-income countries to support conservation of endangered forests through a programme authorized by the Tropical Forest Conservation Act.


87. The commitment to implement, monitor and follow-up the Plan of Action covers a wide series of actions. FAO’s policy assistance to developing countries aims to reinforce coherence between strategies, policies and field programmes and seeks to help countries make the best possible decisions regarding investment in agriculture given their limited financial and human resources.

88. The Committee may wish to note that an account of developments in the realization of the right to food is provided in the Document - CFS:2004/6. A summary of developments on FIVIMS is provided in Document CFS:2004/Inf.7.

89. The Committee may also wish to note that a report on the establishment of the International Alliance Against Hunger is provided in document CFS:2004/7. The Alliance will help facilitate the sharing of responsibilities in achieving world food security, as envisaged by the WFS under this commitment.


1 11 countries from Africa, 2 from Asia, 10 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 3 from Near East, 1 from a country in transition, 5 from Europe and 1 from North America.


3 CFS:2000/3-Rev.1

4 UNDP, 2002, “Human Development Report – Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World”. New York, Oxford University Press.

5 World Bank, 2004, “Partnership in Development – Progress in the Fight Against Poverty”, Washington D.C.

6 Source: UNHCR, 2004. “Internally displaced persons”, Geneva; UNHCR, 2004. “Basic Facts”, Geneva.

7 IMF & IDA- HIPC Initiative- Status of implementation

8 Countries identified as eligible to apply for MCA assistance in 2004 are Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu.