DECLARATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FORUM

We, the youth of more than 130 countries of the World, here united in the name of the International Youth Forum for the World Food Summit, do declare:

People must become aware about the universal need for bio-diversification. International organizations must collaborate with both governments and NGOs to implement innovative scientific farming techniques to improve agricultural production in developing nations. Investments must also be made in academic research institutions in order to ensure the execution of measures for the promotion of biological diversification.

Local resources in underdeveloped countries need to be developed through the greater exploitation of arable land, increased machinery use and scientific and technological developments. We ask that multinational corporations stop the exploitation of natural and human resources in underdeveloped nations. These international conglomerates should continue to invest in underdeveloped countries, but indigeneous people should assume the management of these regional plants.

A solid background in environmental education will give us a knowledge about ecology and an awareness of hydrologic contamination, atmospheric problems, toxic wastes, non-essential production facilities and other environmental problems which are gradually killing all life.

The countries of the world need to be educated about the positive effects of gender equality. We recognize that traditional attitudes towards women have to be changed to achieve this ultimate goal. Women must have basic human rights and global participation in society.

Traditional farming re-evaluation is a crucial issue for global food self-sufficiency. It is affected by the dissemination of commercial farming, the lack of arable lands and poor ecological conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the awareness of people in these matters, to revise the agricultural policy of each country, to redistribute lands through agricultural reform and set up farmers' cooperatives in order to achieve food self reliance in countries.

There is an imbalance between the high consumption rates in wealthy countries in proportion to the global population. We need to change the mentality through education and awareness by advertising through media controlled by the Government and by emphasizing global environmental and intercultural awareness in schools by creating a special subject on the matter concerning both pratical and theoretical knowledge.

In order to create a balance, developing countries must show greater commitment to the production of food and developed countries must undertake to assist them in sustainable methods of production.

We call for the establishment of an international mediating committee to work for the cancellation of the debts of the poor and developing countries by the end of this millenium. This would signal a fresh start in strenghthening the economic foundation of these countries. The poor nations should use this opportunity to become independent by using their own resources thereby severing any dependence on the rich countries. It is imperative that global input is provided on the implementation of new ideas and advanced technology to aid in the enhancing of public facilities in the developing nations. The presence of a mediator such as FAO, IFAD, IMF and the World Bank is necessary when private organizations and developing countries attempt to arrive at a compromise to prevent private financial interests controlling the needs of those living below the poverty level.

We ask goverments to invest in public education systems since this gives individuals chances to become aware of and fight hunger and malnutrition. Education opens the path for the exploration of individual talents, ablities and resources. Only through education for all and its stable long-lasting effects will we be able to eradicate poverty and hunger.

We call upon civil authorities and policy-makers to develop strong commitments to the promotion and emphasis of an agricultural policy alongside industrial development. This can be achieved through effective education and communication means as well as infrastructure development in rural areas. Scientific innovations should be applied to agriculture to increase the quality and quantity of produce through breeding varieties that can easily adapt to different climates.

We request the help of the Heads of State in the establishment of Youth Associations at a school level where a delegate will be specified. These representatives will put forward their claims to national and international Bodies. These associations will have an acknowledged mandate to participate in FAO activities. Their role will consist of developing awareness-raising programmes at every level and encouraging the introduction of agronomic subjects in the academic system.

We ask that no more action plans should be undertaken without the participation of youth. This could be achieved through the formation of an International Youth Council which will promote the worldwide exchange of ideas without any discrimination of political, racial or social status.

We ask the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which have stimulated and promoted the Youth Forum for the World Food Summit, to submit this declaration to all world leaders to enhance the policy of youthful involvement in the various sectors of civil society.

We further call for a follow-up to the International Youth Forum for the World Food Summit. In the next two years, youth in each country must review whether the promises of their countries have been translated into effective actions against the food crisis. To achieve this, youth must be empowered to participate in these projects, guaranteeing that they play a role in the evaluation of national policy changes and global progress.

17 November 1996