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FAO calls for strengthened food security governance

Ministers meet to discuss food price volatility

Photo: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti
French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll (left) with FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva

16 October 2012, Rome - Continuing food price volatility requires improved global governance of food security FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told a ministerial meeting on food price volatility today attended by some 20 ministers.

"Food prices and volatility have increased in recent years. This is expected to continue in the medium-term," he said.

"In this context, it is important to improve governance of food security. In the globalized world we live in, it's not possible to have food security in one country alone,"he added.

French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll, who moderated the meeting, said: "In the course of its G20 Presidency and in the face of the risk of tension on the grain market, President François Hollande called for a high-level meeting on global agricultural governance. Discussions were held on transparency in agricultural markets, the coordination of international actions, response to the global demand for food and the fight against the effects of volatility. France will continue to support any political initiatives and any concrete plans in this direction."

Important advances


Important advances have already been made in governance, the Director-General said, citing  the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) the most inclusive intergovernmental platform on food security and nutrition; the establishment by UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon of the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security; and the creation last year by the G20 of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to ensure improved international coordination, information and market transparency.

Graziano da Silva said , "The new global governance system of food security that we are building together, that has the CFS as its cornerstone and AMIS as one of its components,  is part of a new world order that needs to emerge."

Better coordination

AMIS is fully functioning and has contributed to better international coordination, information sharing and transparency, he continued.

"This allowed us to react quickly to the price rise we saw in July 2012, preventing panic, avoiding unilateral actions and further spikes in those initial tense days," he declared.

"We are still in a complex situation but we are handling it successfully, Graziano da Silva added. 

AMIS was created as part of a G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility approved in Paris in June 2011. The Presidency, initially held by France for a year passed to the United States on October 2.

World Food Day

Today's ministerial meeting on food price volatility  coincided with celebrations of World Food Day at FAO Headquarters and round the world.  Ministers from the following countries took part: Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Lebanon, Mozambique, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka and United Republic of Tanzania.

Their discussions, covered three main topics: how can transparency in agricultural markets be increased and how can international action be better coordinated; how can increasing demand for food be addressed; and how can the effects of excessive food price volatility on the most vulnerable be limited.