H. E. Pedro
Chairman of the FAO Committee on World Food Security - 13 November 1996
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Mr. Chairman of the World Food Summit, Prof. Romano Prodi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Government of Italy,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr Boutros-Boutros Ghali,
Mr. Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf,
Mr. Independent Chairman of the FAO Council, José Ramón López Portillo,
As you know, Mr Chairman and Honourable Delegates, Resolution 2/95 of the Conference of FAO, endorsing the Director-General's initiative to convene this World Food Summit, designated the Committee on World Food Security as the focal point for all matters related to its preparation. More specifically, the Committee was charged with drafting the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action that the governments, international agencies and all the sectors of civil society would have to implement to advance towards our goal of world food security.
In executing its mandate, the Committee on World Food Security set up an Inter-sessional Working Group which called on the active participation of the member countries and of representatives of the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutes and the private sector. The Inter-sessional Working Group and the Committee on World Food Security were also able to draw from the FAO Regional Conferences held in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, the Near East, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean, along with the work of the national committees established in each country to support the preparatory process for the Summit.
After arduous and complex negotiations at its last session, which began on 23 September and finished on 31 October, the Committee on World Food Security completed its task by unanimously approving the texts of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action which are submitted for your consideration and adoption.
The Rome Declaration on World Food Security expresses the broad consensus of the countries on moral and policy issues of paramount importance to the destiny of humankind. It reaffirms, for example, the right of every individual to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. It also underscores the political will to eradicate hunger and the importance of a peaceful, stable and enabling political, social and economic environment. It emphasizes the need for democracy and the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, the right to development and the full and equal participation of men and women as essential determinants of success in achieving sustainable food security for all.
As regards the World Food Summit Plan of Action, this reflects the various commitments, objectives and measures of countries to achieve food security at individual, household, national, regional and global levels. The Plan of Action draws upon the experience of previous international conferences and summits, and takes into account present reality and future needs. It also defines the concept of food security, establishes instruments and mechanisms for its realization, specifies targets and time frames for the reduction of malnutrition and explicitly refers to the participation of both governments and civil society for its effective implementation.
Mr Chairman, Honourable Delegates, the finalization of these texts was only made possible by the dedication and willingness to compromise of all the members of the Committee on World Food Security who worked so hard and selflessly. I can assure you that all the members of the Committee, without exception, centred all their efforts on attaining consensus, even on highly sensitive issues, because they were fully aware that this Summit would serve primarily to bring relief to the hundreds of millions of human beings throughout the world who now lack the food to lead healthy and dignified lives.
I should like, on behalf of the Committee on World Food Security, to express our deepest gratitude to all the members. I should also like to thank the Director-General and all the staff of FAO for their efficient support which enabled the Committee on World Food Security to complete its task two weeks before the opening of this Summit. I am equally indebted to Mr José Ramón López Portillo, the Independent Chairman of the Council, for having facilitated the work and efforts of the Committee.
Finally, I am especially grateful to the members of the Bureau who worked alongside me throughout the process and who gave their very best to bring to successful conclusion the mandate entrusted to us by the Conference of FAO.
This leads me to the inestimable honour of submitting, through your good offices, for the consideration and adoption of the Distinguished Delegates of the World Food Summit, the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
Thank you very much.