Hundred and Sixteenth Session
Rome, 14-19 June 1999
REPORT OF THE 25th
SESSION OF THE
MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED AT THE SESSION
LIST OF DOCUMENTS
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL
GENERAL COMMENT ON THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE FOOD (CESCR)
FORMAT FOR REPORTING PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION (COMMITMENTS ONE, TWO, FIVE AND RELATED SECTIONS OF SEVEN)
1. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) held its Twenty-fifth Session from 31 May to 3 June 1999 at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The session was attended by delegates from 109 of the 128 Members of the Committee, by observers from one other Member Nation of FAO, the Holy See, the Sovereign Order of Malta, by representatives from 6 United Nations Agencies and Programmes and by observers from 5 intergovernmental and 23 international non-governmental organizations. A list of the present members of the Committee is shown in Appendix B. The countries and organizations represented in the session are shown in Appendix C. The full list of participants is available from the CFS secretariat (Ext. 53069).
2. The Session was opened by the Chairman H. E. Mohammad Saeed Nouri-Naeeni (Iran). He was ably assisted in the conduct of the meeting by the Vice-Chairmen, Albano L.T. Asmani (Tanzania), Mr. Etsuo Kitahara (Japan), Mr. Ronald Rose (Canada) and Mr. Khairuddin Md. Tahir (Malaysia). In his opening remarks, the Chairman stressed the importance of the task facing the CFS in deciding on a reporting format for monitoring implementation of the World Food Summit (WFS) Plan of Action (PoA) that would contribute in concrete ways toward achieving the objective of reducing the number of undernourished by half by 2015. In concluding he expressed appreciation to all members of the Bureau for their dedicated effort, including during the inter-session period, and paid special tribute to Mr. Kitahara, who would be leaving Rome to take up a new assignment in Japan. The Committee agreed that Mr. Kitahara's successor, Mr. Masato Ito, should take up the Vice-Chairmanship for the remainder of the biennium.
3. Mr. D.A. Harcharik, Deputy Director-General, delivered the opening statement on behalf of the Director-General. He highlighted the importance of peace, political stability and sustainable social and economic development for tackling food insecurity, and called for stepped-up efforts at national and international levels to implement the World Food Summit Plan of Action. He pointed out that while there was an increase in net flow of private capital to developing countries and countries in transition, official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture had stagnated. In fact, in 1997, 14 donor countries had actually reduced their ODA to least-developed countries. The share of agriculture in total ODA was halved (from 30 percent to 15 percent) between the 1980's and the first half of the 1990's. He stressed the importance of food quality and safety for people's health, and for meeting international trade standards. Finally, he stressed the importance of the Committee's role in monitoring implementation of the WFS PoA, and recalled that its first report through FAO Council to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) would need to be approved at this session. The opening statement delivered by the Deputy Director-General is reproduced in Appendix E.
4. Mr. Philippe Texier, member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), presented the General Comment on the right to adequate food adopted on 11 May 1999 by the CESCR. The General Comment is reproduced in Appendix F. The Committee welcomed the General Comment as an important step in implementing Objective 7.4 of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Committee noted the reference in the General Comment to the need for UN agencies, including FAO, to provide assistance to developing countries, upon request, and noted that this assistance should draw fully on the expertise of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Committee commended the collaboration between FAO and CESCR. The Committee welcomed the proposal that the cooperation between these institutions should be strengthened on a continuing basis.
5. The Committee adopted its Agenda which is presented in Appendix A. The list of documents considered by the Committee is given in Appendix D.
6. The Committee appointed a Drafting Committee composed of the delegations of Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Cameroon, Chile, Finland, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Syria, and the United States, under the Chairmanship of Mr. P. Ross (Australia).
7. The Committee considered this item on the basis of document CFS: 99/2, "Assessment of the World Food Security Situation". It welcomed the document in its new structure, which established an improved framework for monitoring progress towards achieving the World Food Summit target and goals.
8. The Committee recognized that difficulties of data availability and accuracy created problems of reliability for point estimates, and accepted the proposal to use range estimates for monitoring progress toward the target of reducing the number of undernourished by half no later than 2015. However, it stressed that this should be done in conjunction with continued use of annually updated point estimates. Several delegates regretted that the most recent estimate contained in the document still represented a time period predating the Summit. They stressed that the Committee needed to know the current situation, noting that developments since the Summit might well have led to a further increase, rather than a decline, in the number. They expressed the wish that, in the future, some methods could be found to give a forecast of the probable current status when reporting on the number of undernourished people, despite the difficulties involved.
9. The Committee recommended a number of improvements in the indicators to be used for monitoring the current situation at global and regional levels. It recalled its past recommendations to broaden the commodity coverage of the global assessment to cover all staple foods, and not only cereals. In this regard a suggestion was made to incorporate an indicator reflecting changes in composition of the diet. The Committee also stressed that, while useful, the global supply side assessment needed to be complemented by information about access issues. Indicators recommended for this purpose include poverty index, income distribution and purchasing power, trade position, terms of trade, external debt, private capital flows and ODA.
10. The Committee accepted the general approach followed to identify intermediate outcomes and vulnerability factors related to achievement of the Summit target, and to monitor trends for selected indicators of these outcomes and factors. While appreciating the effort that had been made, it expressed a number of reservations about specific indicators presented in document CFS:99/2, and encouraged the secretariat to further refine them.
11. In this regard, the Committee stressed the importance it attached to the work of the Inter-Agency Working Group on FIVIMS, and recommended that further development of the indicators to be used by the CFS for its monitoring work be undertaken within that context. The Committee requested to be informed annually about the progress of FIVIMS, and recommended that an item on this subject be included in the agenda for its next meeting. Such a report should include, inter alia, technical information about methodological developments, criteria used for selecting indicators, data sharing with other organizations and specific applications of the FIVIMS approach at country level.
12. The Committee considered that the method adopted for classifying countries according to the proportion of undernourished was useful, and recommended that it should also be applied to countries not included in the initial list, in particular to countries in transition. Several delegates also felt that information on the situation and performance of individual countries should be included in future assessment reports.
13. A number of suggestions were made regarding specific improvements that should be considered. These included classification of indicators according to short, medium, or long-term conditions; better coverage of production, imports and stocks indicators for staple foods in monitoring performance of the food economy; greater use of composite indicators; introduction of gender and age-disaggregated indicators and indicators of relevance for specific vulnerable groups; better coverage of environmental and climatic conditions; and attention to ethnicity and its effects on dietary patterns and social behaviour. While recognizing that individual countries might need to select indicators specific to their own conditions for internal monitoring, it was stressed that for CFS, indicators used should be comparable across countries. It was also emphasized that the focus of the monitoring within countries should be on the food security status of individuals, with additional monitoring of food security at household level where possible.
14. The indicators used in document CFS: 99/2 to represent food availability and accessibility at national level, namely per caput DES and per caput GNP, were not considered satisfactory for reflecting what was happening within countries. It was recommended that more systematic use be made of household consumption and expenditure surveys for periodic updating of information about food intake and access. Use of a purchasing power parity measure would also be preferable to exchange rate-based GNP per caput.
15. The Committee noted that the policy implications of observed changes in selected indicators needed to be spelled out clearly, as otherwise there could be misinterpretation and wrong policy decisions. In particular, several delegates stressed that the association of high rate of rural to urban migration with lower proportion of undernourished in a country should not be interpreted to mean that a policy of encouraging rural exodus would solve the problem of under-nutrition.These delegates considered that the policy remedy might instead involve greater support for the development of the rural areas.
16. The Committee was informed that FAO will hold a Symposium in September 1999 in Geneva with a view to supporting developing countries in preparing for the next World Trade Organization round of negotiations, focusing on food security. The Committee expressed its appreciation for the extra-budgetary support provided by Japan for this Symposium. Furthermore, the secretariat was requested to provide information about the Symposium well in advance so that members could participate fully.
17. Some delegations referred to the relevance of the idea of an alliance for agricultural development between the Rome based UN organizations.
18. The Committee welcomed the report on the outcomes of the Fourth Ibero-American Forum of Agriculture Ministers held in Havana, Cuba, from 15-17 May, 1999. The Committee appreciated the contribution this meeting has made to the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Havana Declaration is reproduced in Appendix G.
19. One delegate requested that the Secretariat prepare an overview of the SPFS, containing the estimated number of people that have benefited from the programme, and the total costs involved, which should be submitted to the FAO Council or Conference in November 1999.
20. The Committee recognised the importance of food quality and safety as an integral component of food security, as confirmed in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and in the World Food Summit Plan of Action. It stressed the complementary roles of government, industry, consumers and civil society in general, in ensuring the quality and safety of the food supply.
21. The Committee noted the economic and health impacts of food quality and safety problems faced by many developing countries. It noted, in particular, that the high of food-borne diseases caused economic cost and human suffering. The Committee further noted the problems faced by many developing countries in meeting the requirements of the World Trade Organization's agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), while recognizing that these agreements aimed at improving food safety in international food trade.
22. The Committee noted that food quality and safety control systems and programmes in developing countries often lack resources and suitable infrastructure to adequately test the quality and safety of food. It noted the lack of well-trained human resource to carry out the various food quality and safety control tasks, and the insufficient coordination among different institutions involved in food quality and safety control activities. It stressed the need for increased involvement of academia, industry and consumers in food quality and safety control policy.
23. The Committee endorsed the general conclusions and recommendations contained in document CFS:99/3. It stressed the importance for developing member countries to participate more actively in the work of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and noted that while the level of this participation has increased in recent years, more effort was needed to improve the quality and impact of such a participation, particularly through the establishment and operation of National Codex Committees, with possible financial and technical support of donor countries. The Committee stressed the importance of the work of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification in providing guidance to member governments on the establishment of equivalence agreements between trading partners.
24. The Committee supported the work of FAO in providing technical assistance to developing member countries to strengthen and upgrade their national food control systems and programmes, including through the Technical Cooperation Programme. It also noted the support provided by several member countries to similar activities at national and regional levels. It called for the mobilization of additional resources to assist developing countries to improve the quality and safety control of locally-produced and imported food, and to meet the quality and safety standards required for export trade. It noted that in this regard, the World Trade Organization's SPS and TBT agreements called for developed countries to provide relevant assistance to developing countries.
25. The Committee noted the need to take into account the work of other institutions in this field, and called for continued effective cooperation with international agencies such as WHO, UNICEF, IAEA, the World Bank and others. It also recognised the need to include nutritional value as a critical component of food quality, and to address the issue of quality and safety of subsistence foods.
26. The Committee recalled the decision of the FAO Conference in Resolution 19/77, and the conclusions of the Council at its 115th Session in November 1998 regarding the use of languages in the FAO and its subsidiary bodies, and requested, through the Council, that the FAO Conference draw its decision to the attention of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and request that this decision be implemented by that body.
27. The Committee considered Item IV of the Agenda on the basis of document CFS:99/4. It welcomed the work undertaken by the secretariat in preparing the reporting format, and noted that the proposed format attempted to correspond to the approach agreed at the 24th Session of the Committee. Several delegates appreciated the fact that the format was designed (i) to obtain information for a qualitative analysis based on key indicators for outcomes and results of actions undertaken within the framework of objectives of the Plan of Action and (ii) to ensure that country reports provide the relevant information required for analysis of the actions being undertaken, and for identification of practices which have proved successful in pursuance of the WFS goals. They however pointed out that the proposed format was not sufficiently simple, straightforward and flexible.
28. The Committee expressed the importance of adopting a reporting format that provides a meaningful indication of progress while at the same time remaining understandable and flexible, and it agreed that the format should form the basis for all future reporting on the progress of the implementation of the Plan of Action.
29. Some delegates expressed concern that the format was not appropriate for reporting by donor countries on the support they provide to individual countries to improve their food security situation. The possibility for providing such information in a separate paper, by countries wishing to do so, was emphasized.
30. Some delegates pointed out that their countries have already established a central unit or an inter-ministerial committee to monitor the implementation of the Plan of Action and to report to the CFS. The Committee, recognizing that the implementation of the Plan of Action falls under the responsibility of different institutions and that the reporting on the implementation of the Plan of Action calls for the involvement of various ministries and institutions, recommended resort to existing appropriate co-ordination mechanism when possible. It stressed that national arrangements for reporting should remain flexible to allow members to adopt internal reporting arrangements that are most appropriate to their national government structures.
31. It was stressed that the responsibility of implementing the Plan of Action rests with national governments. In this connection, some delegates expressed concern that a report synthesizing national reports would not have much meaning. They suggested that the CFS, in monitoring the Plan of Action, could review voluntary, country reports. Other delegates, while not objecting to a synthesised report, recommended that each country should make its individual report available to all other interested countries. It was also stressed that it was important that all countries should submit reports on the implementation of the Plan to make the CFS discussion at its 26th Session and beyond meaningful. As regards the content of national reports, it was suggested that each country would contribute fruitfully by providing examples and information on actions taken since the Summit, under the relevant commitments, from which lessons learned and best practices identified could be derived.
32. The Committee recognized that member countries are requested to report on follow-up actions to a number of other Summits and Conferences. Concern was expressed that multiplication of requests for reporting may overburden and fatigue member countries. The need for harmonizing indicators and for forging appropriate links to the existing monitoring and reporting in other relevant UN bodies, especially with regard to Commitments One and Two, was emphasized.
33. The Committee agreed that a standard set of indicators was needed to enable measurement of progress in the achievement of the WFS Plan of Action Objectives and for comparison of results in different countries. Delegates recalled that at the 24th Session of the Committee it was pointed out that FIVIMS should be used to follow-up the WFS Plan of Action. Several delegates emphasized the need to integrate information to be generated by FIVIMS in the reporting process.
34. Several delegates stressed that the proposed reporting format is in the right direction for obtaining information for the monitoring process. It could provide information for analysing whether and why national governments consider and implement the different policies and actions recommended in the Plan of Action, and what are the internal and external limitations for food security. The Committee established an open-ended, regionally representative working group to refine the format for its consideration and approval at the Session.
35. The open-ended working group, with regional representatives, developed a revised format, shown in Appendix H, which the Committee endorsed.
36. The Committee examined this item on the basis of Document CFS/99/5.
37. The Committee recognized that the document had been prepared by the secretariat in accordance with the guidelines provided by the CFS at its 23rd and 24th sessions. The Committee noted that a general review of FAO policy and strategy for NGO/CSO cooperation was in progress, the results of which were not yet publicly available. It was made clear that only matters relating directly to the work of the Committee had been taken into consideration in the four main topics examined in this document. These were accepted as relevant to the reinforcement and improvement of relations between the NGOs/CSOs and the CFS.
38. The Committee acknowledged the importance of the work of NGOs/CSOs in food security and encouraged the NGOs/CSOs to collaborate with governments in national follow-up actions to the WFS recommendations. Some delegations encouraged other delegations to include competent and representative spokespersons of local NGOs/CSOs in their delegations to CFS, and to facilitate participation of NGOs/CSOs from developing countries. Many delegations questioned just how and with what funds this facilitated participation would take place. National reports, the drafting of which is coordinated by governments, could include both governmental and NGO/CSO actions.
39. The Committee agreed that, during the debate on Agenda item 5 of the current CFS session on relations between the CFS and NGOs/CSOs, the floor should be given without restriction to any NGO/CSO representatives who wished to speak, according to prevailing rules and regulations and time constraints. The NGO/CSO representatives made liberal use of the right to speak granted them during this session of the CFS and expressed their views on the four subjects under discussion. The Committee stressed that this arrangement, limited to the discussion of the current item, did not create a precedent for any other meeting of CFS or FAO governing bodies
40. The Committee, which has been given responsibility for follow-up to the WFS, invited the NGOs/CSOs to be closely involved in the follow-up process and suggested that, in each subsequent session, the NGOs/CSOs present a report on their activities related to WFS follow-up and make any necessary suggestions. To this end, the Committee called on the NGOs/CSOs to prepare a report that constitutes a synthesis of the different opinions and actions, within a constructive framework.
41. Several delegates stressed that primary responsibility for implementation of the WFS recommendations belonged to national governments and that the NGOs/CSOs helped this implementation within the context of their respective areas of competence, responsibility and operational resources. The Committee, taking due account of what is established by the World Food Summit, requested that national coordination between governments and NGOs/CSOs be increased to achieve the goal of WFS.
42. The Committee noted that the term "NGO" employed during the discussions corresponded to the official definition of the United Nations (ECOSOC), but that the concept of CSO was broader and required clarification. This was however beyond the competence of the CFS and a matter to be dealt with at United Nations level.
43. Some delegates advocated the participation of representatives of the private sector and research institutes in the CFS. Other delegates argued that the CFS has the responsibility to establish criteria which ensure an appropriate and balanced representation of all categories of NGOs on a regional sectoral basis. No conclusion was reached on the number or type of representatives who should be allowed to participate. It was suggested that NGOs/CSOs determine the method by which their spokespeople be selected.
44. The issue of NGO/CSO participation on the drafting committee was raised by some delegates. Most delegates were of the view that this would not be appropriate for an inter-governmental meeting.
45. The Committee commended the secretariat for its work on improving the communication of information and for the facilities made available to NGO/CSO representatives on FAO premises to facilitate their participation.
46. Some delegates asked for clear quantification of the financial implications of the proposals put forward in document CFS/99/5.
47. The Committee recalled that actions undertaken by the secretariat to improve communication with the NGOs/CSOs should not incur additional costs to FAO and that these actions should make only marginal additional use of the working time of its staff. It also recalled that the participation of the NGOs/CSOs should be governed by existing rules and regulations.
48. The Committee recommended that FAO representatives be encouraged to help local NGOs/CSOs gain access to information and documentation available on the Internet and other documentation available for food security and convey their views and comments to the CFS secretariat.
49. The Committee noted with interest the suggestion to hold a broad consultation of NGOs/CSOs in 2006, within the framework of the mid-term review of follow-up to the WFS.
50. The Committee commended the commitment of NGOs/CSOs to the implementation of WFS Plan of Action and their commitment to food security, and noted their interest in coordination meetings held in parallel to the FAO regional conferences scheduled for the year 2000.
51. Some delegates suggested that the discussion of the NGOs/CSOs be continued at the next session of the CFS, but the representatives of the secretariat drew attention to the heavy agenda at the session in the year 2000. The Committee however asked the secretariat and Bureau to pursue the process of direct communication with NGO/CSO representatives and to report back on the matter at the next session of the Committee. In addition, the secretariat was requested, on said occasion, to circulate a comparative document covering NGO/CSO participation in other UN fora, with special emphasis on follow-up to Major Summits and Conferences.
52. Some delegates stressed the cooperation of FAO with the private sector in the field programme and resource mobilization.
53. The Committee recalled that at its last session, it had agreed that decisions on thematic issues should be taken by the Committee with, where appropriate, input on emerging thematic issues from the technical committees, regional conferences and the Bureau. The Committee considered document CFS:99/Inf. 9 "Procedures for the Identification of Thematic Issues by the Committee on World Food Security" prepared by the Bureau, following the Committee's request at its last session. The Committee approved the Bureau's proposal of a two-step approach to reviewing thematic issues.
54. The Committee agreed in line with the Bureau's proposal set out in paragraph 8 of the document, that (i) the Bureau should meet in the first quarter of the year to identify possible themes, (ii) the possible themes should be circulated to member governments for information and reflection and (iii) the Bureau should then have a special meeting during the meeting of the CFS to review issues raised in the course of the meeting, complete the list of options for a thematic issue and prepare a recommendation to the CFS so that the Members can make a decision on the last day of the meeting.
55. The Committee agreed to the suggestion of the Bureau, that the thematic issue for consideration at its Twenty-sixth Session be "who are the food insecure", linked to a thorough debate on FIVIMS. It was noted that this subject would provide additional information for monitoring the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and the progress towards the objectives.
56. The Committee noted that the impact of the financial crisis on food security in the Asia region would be covered in the World Food Situation document for the FAO Council in June 1999 and in the State of Food and Agriculture report to be considered by the FAO Conference in November 1999.
57. The Committee agreed to hold its Twenty-sixth Session at FAO Headquarters in Rome in September of the year 2000. The exact time will be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairman.
58. The Committee recalled that, the FAO Conference at its Twenty-ninth session in November 1997, in accordance with Objective 7.3 (a) of the WFS Plan of Action, requested the Committee "to provide through the Council, a first report on implementation of the WFS Plan of Action to ECOSOC in 1999". It also recalled that the United Nations Economic and Social Council in its resumed organizational session in March 1999 invited the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "to transmit to the Council every four years, starting in 1999, a report prepared by the Committee on World Food Security on progress in implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, highlighting its linkages with the coordinated and integrated follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits undertaken by the United Nations system" (ECOSOC decision 1999/212 of 25 March 1999). Accordingly the Committee decided that the document CFS:99/LIM/1 "Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action: Report of the Committee on World Food Security through the FAO Council to ECOSOC" be submitted to Council for transmittal to ECOSOC within the context of Objective 7.3 (a) of the WFS Plan of Action, and in line with the request of the FAO Conference.
59. One delegate enquired about the criteria for selection of participants in the
preparatory in South Africa for the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the Multifunctional
Character of Agriculture and Land in the Netherlands in September 1999. The secretariat
explained that for budgetary and practical reasons, two countries per region were invited.
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|
|IV.||REPORTING FORMAT FOR MONITORING PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION|
|V.||BROADENED PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND OTHER PARTNERS IN THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY|
Arrangements for the Twenty-sixth Session
|(b)||Any Other Business|
|(c)||Report of the Session|
MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
(as at 3 June 1999)
Congo, Rep. of
Republic of Korea Denmark
Korea, Republic of
Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
United States of America
COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED AT THE SESSION
CONGO, Republic of the
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
IRAN, Islamic Republic of
KOREA, Republic of
SAUDI ARABIA, Kingdom of
UNITED STATES OF
OBSERVERS FROM MEMBER NATIONS NOT MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE (da controllare)
PERMANENT OBSERVER TO FAO
SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA
UNITED NATIONS AND SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP)
INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD)
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION (ILO)
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO)
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (CESCR)
UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTRE (UNIC)
OBSERVERS FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION (IOM)
ORGANIZATION OF AFRICA UNITY (OAU)
ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD)
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC)
OBSERVERS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
ASIAN NGO COALITION FOR AGRARIAN REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
ASSOCIATED COUNTRY WOMEN OF THE WORLD (ACWW)
CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS (CI)
GLOBAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL SECURITY
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WOMEN (IAW)
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMISTS (IAAE)
INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL ASSOCIATION (ICRA)
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE (ICID)
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATIVE ALLIANCE (ICA)
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN (ICW)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS (IFAP)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WOMEN (IFBPW)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HOME ECONOMICS (IFHE)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN IN LEGAL CAREERS (IFWLC)
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FAMILY ORGANIZATIONS (IUFO)
LIAISON COMMITTEE OF DEVELOPMENT NGOs TO THE EUROPEAN UNION (NGDO-
EU LIAISON COMMITTEE)
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL (RI)
SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (SID)
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM (WILPF)
WORLD ASSOCIATION OF GIRL GUIDES AND GIRL SCOUTS (WAGGGS)
WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (WFTU)
WORLD UNION OF CATHOLIC WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS (WUCWO)
LIST OF DOCUMENTS
|CFS:99/2||Assessment of the World Food Security Situation||II|
|CFS:99/3||The Importance of Food Quality and Safety for Developing Countries||III|
|CFS:99/4||Reporting Format for Monitoring Progress in Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action||IV|
|CFS:99/5||Broadened Participation of Civil Society and Other Partners in the Work of the Committee on World Food Security||V|
|CFS:99/Inf. 1||Proposed Timetable|
|CFS:99/Inf. 2||List of Documents|
|CFS:99/Inf. 3||List of Members of the Committee on World Food Security|
|CFS:99/Inf. 4||List of Delegates|
|CFS: 99/Inf. 5||European Community Declaration of Competence and Voting Rights|
|CFS: 99/Inf. 6||Report on Work in Progress for the Identification of Vulnerable Groups|
|CFS:99/Inf. 7||Investment in Agriculture for Food Security: Situation and Resource Requirements to Reach the World Food Summit Objectives|
|CFS:99/Inf. 8||Results of the Ministerial Conference on Agriculture in Small Island Developing States and Preparation for the FAO/Netherlands Conference "Cultivating Our Futures: The Multifunctional Character of Agriculture"|
|CFS:99/Inf. 9||Procedures for the Identification of Thematic Issues by the Committee on World Food Security|
|CFS:99/LIM/1||Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action: Report of the Committee on World Food Security through the FAO Council to ECOSOC|
|CFS:99/LIM/2||Outcome and Process Indicators of the Achievement of Objectives and Recommended Actions under Commitments I, II, V and Relevant Parts of Commitment VII|
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL
Distinguished Delegates and Observers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, I am pleased to welcome you to the Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on World Food Security.
The very First Commitment of the World Food Summit Plan of Action stressed that peace, political stability and a sustainable social and economic environment are indispensable for reducing poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition. We have tried to keep this axiom at the forefront of our thinking when preparing the background documentation for this session of your Committee, especially when proposing appropriate indicators for monitoring the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and when designing a reporting format for Summit follow-up. Indeed, under item II of the agenda - Assessment of the World Food Security Situation - you will be invited to review the current situation using not only the global food security indicators that you have traditionally used , but also indicators that assess underlying structural factors - demographic, environmental, economic and social conditions - which are likely to affect the number of the undernourished at national level.
The document for this agenda item also reports results from monitoring food availability and food access, and from monitoring selected vulnerability factors for the period 1991 - 1996. Revised estimates for the periods 1990-92 and 1994-96 show a slight increase in the number of undernourished in those years leading up to the World Food Summit. Although it is premature to suggest that this indicates a continuing or future trend towards an increasing number of the undernourished, it does seem to confirm our serious concern that without effective implementation of the WFS Plan of Action, the future number of undernourished people is unlikely to decline at a rate needed to achieve the target of the Summit, i.e. to halve the number of undernourished not later than 2015. In fact, as stressed by the Summit, in some countries the problem of hunger and food insecurity may persist and even increase dramatically, unless concerted and determined actions are undertaken, because of the anticipated increase in the world's population and the pressures placed on natural resources. I must, therefore, re-iterate the need for stepping up efforts at national and international levels to implement the Summit's Plan of Action. This committee's role in stimulating national and international efforts to facilitate the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action is indeed critical.
In this connection I wish to draw your attention to the paper tabled for information ( CFS:99/Inf 7) entitled "Investment in Agriculture for food security: situation and resource requirements to reach the World Food Summit objective". The information provided in the document shows that the net flow of external financial resources to the developing world and transition countries increased two-and -half fold during the seven year period 1990-1997. However, nearly all of this spectacular increase was the result of the inflow of private capital, which increased from around U.S.$45.0 billion to U.S.$250.01 billion, whereas official development finance stagnated at around U.S.$80 billion during the same period.
The poorest developing countries hardly benefited from the remarkable growth of private capital flows. In 1997 private direct investment to the 48 Least Developed Countries was just U.S.$1.8 billion or 0.5 percent of total private capital flows. Also disturbing is the fact that 14 donor countries decreased their ODA to the Least Developed Countries in 1997.
In addition, aggregate external official assistance to agriculture has declined some 32 percent in real terms over a ten-year period from approximately 1985 to 1995, and the share of agriculture in total ODA was halved (from 30 percent to 15 percent) between the 80's and the first half of the 1990s. These negative trends are indeed disturbing and need to be reversed if the WFS objective is to be attained, especially in the Least Developed Countries, where capital resources are a severe constraint.
Mr Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates, the standing item on nutrition this year addresses "The Importance of Food Quality and Safety for Developing Countries". You will consider this subject under item III of the agenda. Needless to say, the issue of food quality and safety in developing countries is important both from the stand point of people's health, and from the stand point of meeting international standards to ensure market access to exports from these countries. Specific measures to improve food quality and safety, that need to be undertaken domestically and at international levels, are put forward in the document for your consideration.
Under item IV of your agenda, you will consider the draft reporting format to be used by countries and by regional and international bodies, for reporting on actions taken to implement the WFS Plan of Action and the progress towards the main objective of the Summit. The monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Plan of Action by the Committee can serve several useful purposes: for example, to understand the degree of effectiveness of the actions being undertaken in reducing the number of the poor, to identify specific areas of success which can be replicated and expanded, to identify areas of weakness which need to be rectified, to promote exchange of experiences among countries, and to enable the Committee to make, as appropriate, recommendations for action at national, regional and international levels to facilitate the implementation of the Plan of Action.
In line with guidance provided by the Committee at the preceding session, your agenda also includes a discussion paper CFS: 99/5 on "Broadened Participation of Civil Society and Other Partners in the Work of the CFS". In this connection, I wish to point out that FAO is developing a Policy and Strategy for Cooperation with Civil Society and Non-governmental Organizations. It will address four areas, namely: information sharing and analysis; policy dialogue; field programmes; and resources mobilization. The discussion paper that has been placed before you for this agenda item builds on that draft and suggests specific actions that can be taken to enhance the role of civil society in supporting the work of the CFS in monitoring and reporting on progress in the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
With regard to the reporting responsibilities of the
Committee, you may recall that the FAO Conference in 1997 requested the Committee to
provide to ECOSOC, through the FAO Council, a first report on the implementation of the
WFS Plan of Action. Under other business, you will be asked to approve the forwarding of
the background document on this subject that was considered at your 24th
Session, together with relevant extracts from the Report of this session. I wish you a
successful meeting and, for those of you who have come from your capitals, a pleasant stay
Thank you very much.
|Economic and Social Council||
12 May 1999
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
Geneva, 26 April-14 May 1999
Agenda item 7
SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES ARISING IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS:
GENERAL COMMENT 12 (Twentieth session, 1999)
The right to adequate food (art. 11)
Introduction and basic premises
1. The human right to adequate food is recognized in several instruments under international law. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights deals more comprehensively than any other instrument with this right. Pursuant to article 11.1 of the Covenant, States parties recognize "the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions", while pursuant to article 11.2 they recognize that more immediate and urgent steps may be needed to ensure "the fundamental right to freedom from hunger and malnutrition". The human right to adequate food is of crucial importance for the enjoyment of all rights. It applies to everyone; thus the reference in Article 11.1 to "himself and his family" does not imply any limitation upon the applicability of this right to individuals or to female-headed households.
2. The Committee has accumulated significant information pertaining to the right to adequate food through examination of State parties' reports over the years since 1979. The Committee has noted that while reporting guidelines are available relating to the right to adequate food, only few States parties have provided information sufficient and precise enough to enable the Committee to determine the prevailing situation in the countries concerned with respect to this right and to identify the obstacles to its realization. This General Comment aims to identify some of the principal issues which the Committee considers to be important in relation to the right to adequate food. Its preparation was triggered by the request of Member States during the 1996 World Food Summit, for a better definition of the rights relating to food in article 11 of the Covenant, and by a special request to the Committee to give particular attention to the Summit Plan of Action in monitoring the implementation of the specific measures provided for in article 11 of the Covenant.
3. In response to these requests, the Committee reviewed the relevant reports and documentation of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on the right to adequate food as a human right; devoted a day of general discussion to this issue at its seventh session in 1997, taking into consideration the draft international code of conduct on the human right to adequate food prepared by international non governmental organizations; participated in two expert consultations on the right to adequate food as a human right organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in Geneva in December 1997, and in Rome in November 1998 co-hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and noted their final reports. In April 1999 the Committee participated in a symposium on "The substance and politics of a human rights approach to food and nutrition policies and programmes", organized by the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination/Sub-Committee on Nutrition of the United Nations at its twenty-sixth session in Geneva and hosted by OHCHR.
4. The Committee affirms that the right to adequate food is indivisibly linked to the inherent dignity of the human person and is indispensable for the fulfilment of other human rights enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights. It is also inseparable from social justice, requiring the adoption of appropriate economic, environmental and social policies, at both the national and international levels, oriented to the eradication of poverty and the fulfilment of all human rights for all.
5. Despite the fact that the international community has frequently reaffirmed the importance of full respect for the right to adequate food, a disturbing gap still exists between the standards set in article 11 of the Covenant and the situation prevailing in many parts of the world. More than 840 million people throughout the world, most of them in developing countries, are chronically hungry; millions of people are suffering from famine as the result of natural disasters, the increasing incidence of civil strife and wars in some regions and the use of food as a political weapon. The Committee observes that while the problems of hunger and malnutrition are often particularly acute in developing countries, malnutrition, under-nutrition and other problems which relate to the right to adequate food and the right to freedom from hunger, also exist in some of the most economically developed countries. Fundamentally, the roots of the problem of hunger and malnutrition are not lack of food but lack of access to available food, inter alia because of poverty, by large segments of the world's population.
Normative content of article 11, paragraphs 1 and 2
6. The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, have physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement. The right to adequate food shall therefore not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with a minimum package of calories, proteins and other specific nutrients. The right to adequate food will have to be realized progressively. However, States have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger as provided for in paragraph 2 of article 11, even in times of natural or other disasters.
Adequacy and sustainability of food availability and access
7. The concept of adequacy is particularly significant in relation to the right to food since it serves to underline a number of factors which must be taken into account in determining whether particular foods or diets that are accessible can be considered the most appropriate under given circumstances for the purposes of article 11 of the Covenant. The notion of sustainability is intrinsically linked to the notion of adequate food or food security, implying food being accessible for both present and future generations. The precise meaning of "adequacy" is to a large extent determined by prevailing social, economic, cultural, climatic, ecological and other conditions, while "sustainability" incorporates the notion of long-term availability and accessibility.
8. The Committee considers that the core content of the right to adequate food implies:
The availability of food in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture;
The accessibility of such food in ways that are sustainable and that do not interfere with the enjoyment of other human rights.
9. Dietary needs implies that the diet as a whole contains a mix of nutrients for physical and mental growth, development and maintenance, and physical activity that are in compliance with human physiological needs at all stages throughout the life cycle and according to gender and occupation. Measures may therefore need to be taken to maintain, adapt or strengthen dietary diversity and appropriate consumption and feeding patterns, including breast-feeding, while ensuring that changes in availability and access to food supply as a minimum do not negatively affect dietary composition and intake.
10. Free from adverse substances sets requirements for food safety and for a range of protective measures by both public and private means to prevent contamination of foodstuffs through adulteration and/or through bad environmental hygiene or inappropriate handling at different stages throughout the food chain; care must also be taken to identify and avoid or destroy naturally occurring toxins.
11. Cultural or consumer acceptability implies the need also to take into account, as far as possible, perceived non nutrient-based values attached to food and food consumption and informed consumer concerns regarding the nature of accessible food supplies.
12. Availability refers to the possibilities either for feeding oneself directly from productive land or other natural resources, or for well functioning distribution, processing and market systems that can move food from the site of production to where it is needed in accordance with demand.
13. Accessibility encompasses both economic and physical accessibility:
Economic accessibility implies that personal or household financial costs associated with the acquisition of food for an adequate diet should be at a level such that the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs are not threatened or compromised. Economic accessibility applies to any acquisition pattern or entitlement through which people procure their food and is a measure of the extent to which it is satisfactory for the enjoyment of the right to adequate food. Socially vulnerable groups such as landless persons and other particularly impoverished segments of the population may need attention through special programmes.
Physical accessibility implies that adequate food must be accessible to everyone, including physically vulnerable individuals, such as infants and young children, elderly people, the physically disabled, the terminally ill and persons with persistent medical problems, including the mentally ill. Victims of natural disasters, people living in disaster-prone areas and other specially disadvantaged groups may need special attention and sometimes priority consideration with respect to accessibility of food. A particular vulnerability is that of many indigenous population groups whose access to their ancestral lands may be threatened.
Obligations and violations
14. The nature of the legal obligations of States parties are set out in article 2 of the Covenant and has been dealt with in the Committee's General Comment No. 3 (1990). The principal obligation is to take steps to achieve progressively the full realization of the right to adequate food. This imposes an obligation to move as expeditiously as possible towards that goal. Every State is obliged to ensure for everyone under its jurisdiction access to the minimum essential food which is sufficient, nutritionally adequate and safe, to ensure their freedom from hunger.
15. The right to adequate food, like any other human right, imposes three types or levels of obligations on States parties: the obligations to respect, to protect and to fulfil. In turn, the obligation to fulfil incorporates both an obligation to facilitate and an obligation to provide. 1/ The obligation to respect existing access to adequate food requires States parties not to take any measures that result in preventing such access. The obligation to protect requires measures by the State to ensure that enterprises or individuals do not deprive individuals of their access to adequate food. The obligation to fulfil (facilitate) means the State must pro actively engage in activities intended to strengthen people's access to and utilization of resources and means to ensure their livelihood, including food security. Finally, whenever an individual or group is unable, for reasons beyond their control, to enjoy the right to adequate food by the means at their disposal, States have the obligation to fulfil (provide) that right directly. This obligation also applies for persons who are victims of natural or other disasters.
16. Some measures at these different levels of obligations of States parties are of a more immediate nature, while other measures are more of a long term character, to achieve progressively the full realization of the right to food.
17. Violations of the Covenant occur when a State fails to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, the minimum essential level required to be free from hunger. In determining which actions or omissions amount to a violation of the right to food, it is important to distinguish the inability from the unwillingness of a State party to comply. Should a State party argue that resource constraints make it impossible to provide access to food for those who are unable by themselves to secure such access, the State has to demonstrate that every effort has been made to use all the resources at its disposal in an effort to satisfy, as a matter of priority, those minimum obligations. This follows from Article 2.1 of the Covenant, which obliges a State party to take the necessary steps to the maximum of its available resources, as previously pointed out by the Committee in its General Comment No. 3, paragraph 10. A State claiming that it is unable to carry out its obligation for reasons beyond its control therefore has the burden of proving that this is the case and that it has unsuccessfully sought to obtain international support to ensure the availability and accessibility of the necessary food.
18. Furthermore, any discrimination in access to food, as well as to means and entitlements for its procurement, on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, age, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status with the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of economic, social and cultural rights constitutes a violation of the Covenant.
19. Violations of the right to food can occur through the direct action of States or other entities insufficiently regulated by States. These include: the formal repeal or suspension of legislation necessary for the continued enjoyment of the right to food; denial of access to food to particular individuals or groups, whether the discrimination is based on legislation or is pro active; the prevention of access to humanitarian food aid in internal conflicts or other emergency situations; adoption of legislation or policies which are manifestly incompatible with pre existing legal obligations relating to the right to food; and failure to regulate activities of individuals or groups so as to prevent them from violating the right to food of others, or the failure of a State to take into account its international legal obligations regarding the right to food when entering into agreements with other States or with international organizations.
20. While only States are parties to the Covenant and are thus ultimately accountable for compliance with it, all members of society individuals, families, local communities, non governmental organizations, civil society organizations, as well as the private business sector have responsibilities in the realization of the right to adequate food. The State should provide an environment that facilitates implementation of these responsibilities. The private business sector - national and transnational - should pursue its activities within the framework of a code of conduct conducive to respect of the right to adequate food, agreed upon jointly with the Government and civil society.
Implementation at the national level
21. The most appropriate ways and means of implementing the right to adequate food will inevitably vary significantly from one State party to another. Every State will have a margin of discretion in choosing its own approaches, but the Covenant clearly requires that each State party take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that everyone is free from hunger and as soon as possible can enjoy the right to adequate food. This will require the adoption of a national strategy to ensure food and nutrition security for all, based on human rights principles that define the objectives, and the formulation of policies and corresponding benchmarks. It should also identify the resources available to meet the objectives and the most cost effective way of using them.
22. The strategy should be based on a systematic identification of policy measures and activities relevant to the situation and context, as derived from the normative content of the right to adequate food and spelled out in relation to the levels and nature of State parties' obligations referred to in paragraph 15 of the present general comment. This will facilitate coordination between ministries and regional and local authorities and ensure that related policies and administrative decisions are in compliance with the obligations under article 11 of the Covenant.
23. The formulation and implementation of national strategies for the right to food requires full compliance with the principles of accountability, transparency, people's participation, decentralization, legislative capacity and the independence of the judiciary. Good governance is essential to the realization of all human rights, including the elimination of poverty and ensuring a satisfactory livelihood for all.
24. Appropriate institutional mechanisms should be devised to secure a representative process towards the formulation of a strategy, drawing on all available domestic expertise relevant to food and nutrition. The strategy should set out the responsibilities and time frame for the implementation of the necessary measures.
25. The strategy should address critical issues and measures in regard to all aspects of the food system, including the production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of safe food, as well as parallel measures in the fields of health, education, employment and social security. Care should be taken to ensure the most sustainable management and use of natural and other resources for food at the national, regional, local and household levels.
26. The strategy should give particular attention to the need to prevent discrimination in access to food or resources for food. This should include: guarantees of full and equal access to economic resources, particularly for women, including the right to inheritance and the ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technology; measures to respect and protect self-employment and work which provides a remuneration ensuring a decent living for wage earners and their families (as stipulated in article 7 (a) (ii) of the Covenant); maintaining registries on rights in land (including forests).
27. As part of their obligations to protect people's resource base for food, States parties should take appropriate steps to ensure that activities of the private business sector and civil society are in conformity with the right to food.
28. Even where a State faces severe resource constraints, whether caused by a process of economic adjustment, economic recession, climatic conditions or other factors, measures should be undertaken to ensure that the right to adequate food is especially fulfilled for vulnerable population groups and individuals.
Benchmarks and framework legislation
29. In implementing the country specific strategies referred to above, States should set verifiable benchmarks for subsequent national and international monitoring. In this connection, States should consider the adoption of a framework law as a major instrument in the implementation of the national strategy concerning the right to food. The framework law should include provisions on its purpose; the targets or goals to be achieved and the time frame to be set for the achievement of those targets; the means by which the purpose could be achieved described in broad terms, in particular the intended collaboration with civil society and the private sector and with international organizations; institutional responsibility for the process; and the national mechanisms for its monitoring, as well as possible recourse procedures. In developing the benchmarks and framework legislation, States parties should actively involve civil society organizations.
30. Appropriate United Nations programmes and agencies should assist, upon request, in drafting the framework legislation and in reviewing the sectoral legislation. FAO, for example, has considerable expertise and accumulated knowledge concerning legislation in the field of food and agriculture. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has equivalent expertise concerning legislation with regard to the right to adequate food for infants and young children through maternal and child protection including legislation to enable breast feeding, and with regard to the regulation of marketing of breast milk substitutes.
31. States parties shall develop and maintain mechanisms to monitor progress towards the realization of the right to adequate food for all, to identify the factors and difficulties affecting the degree of implementation of their obligations, and to facilitate the adoption of corrective legislation and administrative measures, including measures to implement their obligations under articles 2.1 and 23 of the Covenant.
Remedies and accountability
32. Any person or group who is a victim of a violation of the right to adequate food should have access to effective judicial or other appropriate remedies at both national and international levels. All victims of such violations are entitled to adequate reparation, which may take the form of restitution, compensation, satisfaction or guarantees of non repetition. National Ombudsmen and human rights commissions should address violations of the right to food.
33. The incorporation in the domestic legal order of international instruments recognizing the right to food, or recognition of their applicability, can significantly enhance the scope and effectiveness of remedial measures and should be encouraged in all cases. Courts would then be empowered to adjudicate violations of the core content of the right to food by direct reference to obligations under the Covenant.
34. Judges and other members of the legal profession are invited to pay greater attention to violations of the right to food in the exercise of their functions.
35. States parties should respect and protect the work of human rights advocates and other members of civil society who assist vulnerable groups in the realization of their right to adequate food.
36. In the spirit of article 56 of the Charter of the United Nations, the specific provisions contained in articles 11, 2.1, and 23 of the Covenant and the Rome Declaration of the World Food Summit, States parties should recognize the essential role of international cooperation and comply with their commitment to take joint and separate action to achieve the full realization of the right to adequate food. In implementing this commitment, States parties should take steps to respect the enjoyment of the right to food in other countries, to protect that right, to facilitate access to food and to provide the necessary aid when required. States parties should, in international agreements whenever relevant, ensure that the right to adequate food is given due attention and consider the development of further international legal instruments to that end.
37. States parties should refrain at all times from food embargoes or similar measures which endanger conditions for food production and access to food in other countries. Food should never be used as an instrument of political and economic pressure. In this regard, the Committee recalls its position, stated in its General Comment No. 8, on the relationship between economic sanctions and respect for economic, social and cultural rights.
States and international organizations
38. States have a joint and individual responsibility, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to cooperate in providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in times of emergency, including assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons. Each State should contribute to this task in accordance with its ability. The role of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and increasingly that of UNICEF and FAO is of particular importance in this respect and should be strengthened. Priority in food aid should be given to the most vulnerable populations.
39. Food aid should, as far as possible, be provided in ways which do not adversely affect local producers and local markets, and should be organized in ways that facilitate the return to food self-reliance of the beneficiaries. Such aid should be based on the needs of the intended beneficiaries. Products included in international food trade or aid programmes must be safe and culturally acceptable to the recipient population.
The United Nations and other international organizations
40. The role of the United Nations agencies, including through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) at the country level, in promoting the realization of the right to food is of special importance. Coordinated efforts for the realization of the right to food should be maintained to enhance coherence and interaction among all the actors concerned, including the various components of civil society. The food organizations, FAO, WFP and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, the World Bank and the regional development banks, should cooperate more effectively, building on their respective expertise, on the implementation of the right to food at the national level, with due respect to their individual mandates.
41. The international financial institutions, notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, should pay greater attention to the protection of the right to food in their lending policies and credit agreements and in international measures to deal with the debt crisis. Care should be taken, in line with the Committee's General Comment No. 2, paragraph 9, in any structural adjustment programme to ensure that the right to food is protected.
1/ Originally three levels of obligations were proposed: to respect, protect and assist/fulfil. (See Right to adequate food as a human right, Study Series No. 1, New York, 1989 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.89.XIV.2).) The intermediate level of "to facilitate" has been proposed as a Committee category, but the Committee decided to maintain the three levels of obligation.
IV IBERO-AMERICAN FORUM
Havana, May 1999
1. The Ministers of Agriculture of the Ibero-American countries, meeting in Havana on 15, 16 and 17 May 1999 at the IV Ibero-American Forum on Agriculture in preparation of the IX Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Ibero-American Countries, for the purpose of examining the theme "Perspectives of Ibero-American Agriculture Towards the New Millennium" to maintain and reinforce the bases of cooperation and give continuity to the Declarations of Santiago, Maturín and Evora.
2. Taking into account that one of the great challenges of the third millennium for humanity will be to reconcile the supply of food to a disproportionately growing population with the conservation of natural resources.
3. Taking into account that all those of us who work in this sector do so under the menaces of unfair practices in world trade, which affect the interests of the countries of the Ibero-American community and undermine the possibilities of progressively raising the standards of living of our rural workers and population in general.
4. Considering that agriculture has a far more pertinent role to play in development than traditionally credited, on account of its contribution to the social and economic dynamics of our countries.
5. Considering that globalization, greater regional integration and the expansion of international trade of sylvo-agricultural products represent an important challenge for the agricultural sector of the Ibero-American countries, calling for change and transformation.
6. Recognizing that Ibero-American farmers are paying high social costs, with the result that agricultural policies need to look beyond productive aspects and also incorporate social considerations.
7. Considering that States are playing an important role in the promotion and support of initiatives that can lead to closer ties of cooperation.
8. Recognizing the need for Governments to strengthen the processes of modernization of their economies in such a way that efforts to raise the competitiveness of the production sector, increase the efficiency of the State and improve the quality and effectiveness of public management and policy do not incur a reduction in public expenditure directed towards the least privileged groups, generally the rural population, or diminished attention to the agricultural sector.
9. Taking into account the multiple functions of agriculture and considering that the protection of the environment and of human, plant and animal health constitute an inalienable obligation of States, without this needing to occasion subsidy levels that are distortive to trade.
10. Accepting the importance of forests on account of their functions in providing wood and non-wood products and their life-supporting services to our planet, notably the sequestration and fixation CO2, with a particular impact on hydrological regime and environmental protection.
11. Recognizing that globalization requires that we pay serious attention to the demanding challenge of productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural domain, this being perhaps one of the most important challenges facing humanity on the threshold of the 21st century, which obliges us to seek essential harmony and equilibrium and to move rapidly towards Ibero-American integration.
12. Taking into account the major challenge to Ibero-American countries that participation in the world economy represents and in which agriculture is a prominent player, and the need to be increasingly competitive, there is clear call to absorb the made progress in science and technology and to make this available to all producers.
13. Taking into account the need to pursue market liberalization, eliminating discrimination in conditions of access to markets for agricultural products and seeking the effective implementation of special and differentiated terms for developing countries.
14. Considering the pressing need to strengthen agricultural and rural development in the Ibero-American countries, by implementing deep-seated policy and institutional reform, reorganizing the linkages between agricultural production and other economic activities in the rural environment, systems of research and transfer of technology, mechanisms of rural funding and methods of marketing.
15. To coordinate actions among the Ministries of Agriculture of the Ibero-American countries, identify areas of common interest that will be conducive to a regional converging of standpoint and foster dialogue towards a better understanding of positions and respective intentions regarding the approaches to be adopted vis-à-vis the impact of globalization and in particular concerning the agricultural negotiations of the WTO.
16. In this context, it would be appropriate to upgrade the mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the implicit and explicit subsidies that the developed countries provide their agricultural producers and the consequences of these subsidies on agriculture in the developing countries.
17. To launch an appeal to the private sector and the international financial agencies to increase their participation in investment projects for the modernization and direct support of the agricultural sector of all the Ibero-American countries, with the aim of improving the quality of life of rural workers.
18. To work proactively in support of the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit, held in Rome, so that food security may be a priority issue, recognizing food as a basic human right and taking into account the fact that food cannot be used as an instrument of political or commercial pressure. In this connection, also to take the necessary steps to ensure access to food supplies.
19. To encourage collaboration among Ibero-American countries and establish mechanisms of cooperation for the training and development of human resources, taking into account the gender perspective for the development of agriculture and education in the rural sector, particularly for small farmers, cooperative members, workers and agricultural labourers.
20. To promote forestry cooperation directed mainly at establishing and conserving forests, their integrated and sustainable utilization and the development of their basic services.
21. To reinforce cooperation among countries in agricultural research to achieve a quality leap in the agricultural development of Ibero-America.
22. To design effective mechanisms to promote and strengthen the exchange of experience and information regarding sustainable agriculture, rural development and the environment.
23. To tackle the major challenges of globalization and consolidate the Ibero-American world as an expanse of solidarity, unity and cooperation, pursuing actions that will help to reduce rural poverty, serious food deficiencies and environmental damage, and to work for the right to a dignified income and adequate nutrition diet for all of its citizens.
24. To reiterate the commitment to oppose environmental degradation and maintain the sustainable development of ecosystems and biodiversity, using instruments that are not distortive to international trade, as established in Annex II of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
25. To support greater transparency in the measures taken to raise the levels of plant and animal health protection and to guarantee the quality and safety of foods. Such methods should be based on scientific principles and not constitute unlawful barriers to trade, as established in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
26. To strengthen the agricultural extension services that promote the social, cultural and productive development of rural areas on the basis of greater grassroots participation.
27. To acknowledge that the strengthening of Ibero-American cooperation in agriculture can be effective if institutional channels are developed that are directed towards the neediest population groups, within the framework of prevailing economic difficulties, the policies of each country and the characteristics of each State.
28. To retain the Ibero-American Forum on Agriculture as an instrument of integration and cooperation of this production sector, prior to the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Government and to request the Pro Tempore Secretariat to seek to associate the JIA of IICA and FAO with these regional meetings and the agreements of the Ibero-American Fora.
29. To make full use of the role of Portugal and Spain in the dialogue between Latin America and the European Union for a reciprocal opening of agricultural markets, within the framework of integration between these regions on both sides of the Atlantic.
30. To encourage the adoption and implementation of agrarian and household farming programmes and policies so as to promote agrarian development that will address the production capacities and socio-cultural needs of small farmers and rural workers.
31. To convert the Ibero-American Fora on Agriculture into an important platform for policy debate and coordination for the design of integration and cooperation agreements for our agricultural sector.
32. To develop programmes to promote alternative crops and their attendant marketing mechanisms as part of the ongoing battle against drugs in which the countries of Ibero-America are seriously engaged.
33. To enhance follow-up of the declarations of the Fora on Agriculture so that, at subsequent fora, each country will previously submit to the Pro Tempore Secretariat a report on progress made and activities undertaken in fulfilment of established agreements.
34. To strengthen the mechanisms of Ibero-American cooperation and thereby spur the process of integration that will strengthen agricultural development in our countries.
35. To thank the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Cuba for his dedication and ability in organizing the IV Ibero-American Forum on Agriculture.
36. The Havana Declaration submits the following Plan of Action to the Governments of Ibero-America:
PLAN OF ACTION
37. To request that IICA draw up, on the basis of information provided by the WTO and any other information provided by countries attending the Forum, a report on progress made in the Uruguay Round agreements regarding the reduction of distortive subsidies and technical barriers to trade in food and agriculture sectors relevant to the Ibero-American countries. This report should be made available before the next meeting of the Forum.
38. To strengthen Technical Cooperation among Countries of Ibero-America in coordination with IICA and FAO.
39. To seek greater coordination between the Ibero-American Conferences on Education, Science and Technology and to seek to include agriculture in the exchange of researchers, technical experts and specialists, and to undertake joint programmes and projects on matters related to agriculture, environment and rural development.
40. To work towards establishing and strengthening bilateral, subregional and regional cooperation plans between Ibero-American countries that are sufficiently penetrating and appealing to reach into the areas of greatest rural poverty and find international agencies willing to provide funding.
41. To strengthen the fight against rural poverty in the developing countries of Ibero-America with the support of international cooperation agencies such as FAO, IICA and specialized funding agencies such as IFAD, IDB and WB.
42. To submit for consideration of the Summit of Heads of State and Government the advisability of drawing up mechanisms for the prevention of potential emergency situations and the design and implementation of measures aimed at resolving collectively and cooperatively such exceptional situations which, because of their seriousness, cannot be dealt with by individual countries alone.
43. To support the establishment of an Ibero-American Network on Agricultural Information, involving research institutions, middle-level centres of education and universities of the Ibero-American countries, to facilitate the exchange of information and the advance of rural men and women.
44. To conduct and strengthen cooperative actions involving the exchange of technical personnel between countries through programmes that will foster rural development, higher living standards and reduced poverty.
45. To strengthen the exchange between countries of scientific and technical information applied to the agricultural sector, using modern communication systems and the facilities available at specialized agencies such as FAO and IICA.
FORMAT FOR REPORTING PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING
THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION
(COMMITMENTS ONE, TWO, FIVE AND
RELATED SECTIONS OF SEVEN)
Section I. Background Information
Section II. Priority Problems and Related WFS PoA Objectives
Section III. Implementation Report
Section IV. Lessons Learned
Sections I, II and III should be completed to fulfill the reporting requirements of the Committee on World Food Security for the monitoring of Commitments One, Two, Five and relevant parts of Commitment Seven of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. Section IV should be filled in for any actions for which results obtained, lessons learned, and consequent reorientation of policies, public expenditure or lines of action by local authorities, communities, private sector enterprises and NGOs offer lessons of general interest.
SECTION I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
1. Name of the country:
2. Name of the reporting institution or unit:
3. Contact person:
a) Name and Official Title:
b) Telephone: E-mail: Fax:
4. Institutional arrangements established for the follow-up of the WFS Plan of Action (if any):
5. Total population in 1996 and 1999:
6. Estimated number of the undernourished or food insecure in the country:
Number in 1996 (or latest available information prior to 1996) ....
Number in 1999 (or latest available information since 1996) ....
7. The estimate is based on:
Type of Information
Note: Recognising that countries use different methods to estimate the number of undernourished, and that the time periods differ, the form provides for some flexibility as regards the type of information and time period to be used in responsing to question 7.
SECTION II. PRIORITY PROBLEMS AND RELATED OBJECTIVES
Please provide a brief description of the country's overall food security situation and the priority problems related to Commitment One, Commitment Two, Commitment Five and relevant sections of Commitment Seven. The Summit Plan of Action (PoA) Objectives that you consider most relevant for overcoming each of these problems in the country are to be listed in the first column of Section III.
For members wishing to provide information on their external assistance programmes, a separate statement providing a brief description of these programmes, their relation to Commitments One, Two and Five, and lessons learned, may be submitted.
Note: Countries are encouraged to use results from existing monitoring and reporting in other UN bodies and from ongoing monitoring activities of the national FIVIMS, or other related food security information systems or poverty and vulnerability assessments, to prepare the description of the country's overall food security situation.
SECTION III. IMPLEMENTATION
This section should be filled in for all objectives under Commitments One, Two, Five and Seven, on which the country wishes to report.
|Column One: PoA Objective||Column Two: Progress in Achieving the Objective||Column Three: Actions Taken|
Note: In reporting on Progress in Achieving the Objective information should include baseline data or status of the situation in 1996 or any latest year prior to the Summit, as well as most recent information available. In reporting on Actions Taken, relevant actions of private sector enterprises, local communities and non-governmental organizations working in the country should be included, together with those of the government.
SECTION IV. LESSONS LEARNED
Commitment and Objective.........
Institution in charge of the action and partners:
When did the action begin?
What concrete steps have been taken to ensure success of the action?
What results are expected to be achieved? By what date?
What successes have been achieved thus far?
What policy reorientations or budgetary reallocations have been implemented thus far?
What constraints and difficulties have been encountered?
How does the country intend to overcome these constraints and difficulties?
If this action had a high priority, but was not taken, what were the reasons for lack of action?
Indicate any bilateral or multilateral co-operation to implement the actions and to overcome the constraints.
To what extent does the implementation of this priority action contribute to the reduction of the number of undernourished ?