13-17 November 1996 - Rome, Italy


Report of the
Regional NGO Consultation for Europe on the World Food Summit

Tel Aviv, Israel, 28-29 April 1996

1. The Regional NGO Consultation for Europe on the World Food Summit was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 28-29 April 1996 within the framework of the preparatory process for the World Food Summit. The Consultation, organized and facilitated by the World Food Summit Secretariat, was attended by 17 participants who participated on behalf of as many as 1,200 NGOs. The programme of the Consultation is attached as Appendix I. The list of participants is attached as Appendix 2.

2. The Consultation had before it two main documents - ERC/96/3 "Towards Universal Food Security: Draft of a Policy Statement and Plan of Action" and ERC/96/4 "World Food Summit: Food Security Situation and Issues in Europe". The Consultation also heard a presentation on "Rural Women and Food Security in Europe: Current Status and Perspectives", given by the FAO Women in Development Regional Officer for Europe.

3. During the afternoon of the first day of the Consultation, the participants designated Mr. Alistair Smith (Farmers' Link) as their Rapporteur. It was agreed that the Rapporteur, in consultation with several other participants, would prepare a draft statement synthesizing the group's views regarding the World Food Summit, in particular document ERC/96/3. The Consultation reconvened the following evening and reached agreement on a final text to be presented the following day to the 20th FAO Regional Conference for Europe (Tel Aviv, Israel, 29 April - 3 May 1996). The full text of the statement follows:

Towards the World Food Summit, Rome, November 1996


Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday 30th April, 1996

Twenty-two years after the World Food Conference, intolerable levels of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity still persist.

4. Tens of thousands of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from across the spectrum of civil society are already committed in our practical actions and programmes to the goals of food security for all and sustainable development. NGOs represented here reaffirm our strong commitment to continue working with partners at the local, national, regional and international level.

5. We see food security for each and every citizen of every country of Europe as indivisible from the urgent need to achieve sustainable food security in other continents where food poverty is a daily reality for hundreds of millions. Governments and all relevant international institutions must now commit themselves to the elimination of hunger and poverty, as was also recommended at the 40th Session of the UN Commission on Women in New York last month.

6. For the first time, NGOs are invited to participate fully in taking practical action towards global food security. We are taking this invitation very seriously.

7. The process of broad-based consultation which is currently under way is seeking to determine the exact role of NGOs in the process leading to this World Food Summit. NGOs are not just the spice added to the meal, nor the icing on the cake!

8. NGOs, as an essential component of civil society, are prepared to contribute fully to local and global food security in the context of participatory, democratic and sustainable agrarian development. For this purpose, NGOs expect governments to establish and enhance an enabling environment in which we could participate in policy design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation on a meaningful basis with governments and international institutions.

At the local and national level, we will use all available resources and media to raise the awareness of citizens of our countries about the Summit itself and all the urgent issues at stake.

At regional level, NGOs from across the continent will cooperate closely to achieve balanced European food security. If we seek to maintain Europe's crucial contribution to world food security, it is quite simply unsustainable that so many countries and socio-economic groups of the continent have recently fallen into food insecurity. At present, we have a situation in which part of the continent is using its natural resources unsustainably, whilst other parts are losing their food self-reliance.

At inter-continental level, NGOs will step up their cooperation with food producers, rural communities and other organisations of civil society, particularly in the Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). We are prepared to take a major role in the channelling of resources targeted at achieving sustainable food security in those countries where the need is greatest.

At all levels, we will use our existing networks, NGO alliances and lobbying channels to maximise the impact of the Summit and its commitments.

9. In the Draft of a Policy Statement and Plan of Action Towards Universal Food Security, we feel that insufficient emphasis has been placed on the following areas of action:

* the macroeconomic policy framework: inadequate commitment by governments to ensure social safety nets in the process of economic adjustment, as endorsed by governments participating in the World Summit on Social Development inCopenhagen (1995), and followed up by the 20:20 initiative which relates to food security and human nutrition; we insist, as expressed in the Quebec Declaration on Food Security (1995), that market forces alone are no guarantee of food security, indeed, they can be directly harmful;

* education, training and action-research: awareness of food security issues must be raised at all levels; properly funded programmes of participatory education and training are urgently required within LIFDCs, in Europe and jointly between European institutions and NGOs on the ground; in Europe, public and private funding needs to be directed into farm-based research into lower-input production systems; the people concerned by such research must be the actors in these programmes of education and action-research;

* the central role of rural women both in Europe and the rest of the world: rural women are the primary managers of the world's resources, and are responsible for over half the world's food production; but the reality is that the majority of the world's poor are rural women, who have, time and again, proved that when resources are targeted directly to them, they can design innovative strategies to overcome food insecurity (see attachment);

* the role of food reserves: we NGOs propose that FAO urgently commission a technical paper, in time for the September Council of World Food Security, including a rigorous study of food reserves and 'intervention' stocks. We need to know who holds them, who manages them, which producers have access to them and therefore what role will they play in future continental and global food security? In particular, we denounce the dispossession, at the lowest prices, of the rights of small farmers to obtain a fair return for their harvests. Any monopoly on basic food reserves by States or private owners can be perverse.

* sustainable water use: there is a need to enhance the efficiency of water use and increase the degree of sustainability of agricultural production, the NGOs stress the urgent need for rehabilitation and modernisation of many existing irrigation and drainage projects. The relevant policies should include training and re-training of farmers.

* environmental damage and ecological production: there is an urgent need to draw up an agro-ecological map of Europe which details areas of partial or total environmental contamination and degradation; there is also an urgent need to spread technologies of ecological food production across the continent, which could be partially met by the adoption of organic production and processing standards such as already exist in the European Union;

* refugee and migrant programmes: Refugees and migrants should be fully involved in the planning and implementation of programmes from which they will benefit so that the positive contribution they make in local communities can be developed and expanded. Food Aid programmes need to incorporate age and gender concerns.

* the links between nutrition and health: NGOs, in collaboration with governments and international agencies, are prepared to contribute to detailed surveys in Europe to document the complex, but crucial links between balanced nutrition and human health, and the benefits resulting for the economy and future generations; foodsafety and food quality are vital issues which require much greater attention;

* on-farm processing and cooperative marketing: the survival of a diverse coverage of millions of family farms depends to a significant degree on the 'reclaiming' of processing capacity from the large-scale food industries into the hands of small-and medium-scale producers across the continent; their efforts will be enhanced by proper attention and resources being given to cooperation between farmers and other landworkers;

10. Finally, we NGOs wish to underline the legal basis for the basic human right to food, as it already exists within international agreements, such as: Article XI of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), Article VIII of the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) and the ILO Conventions and Standards, which offer the basis for the assertion of this right. The hungry and impoverished of the world are demanding this right. We have the 'luxury' of being able to act. So, to quote a famous ex-Minister of Agriculture of the world's largest country: "if not us, then who? if not now, then when?"



Based on the findings of the paper "Farm Women, Adjustment and Sustainable Agro-food Systems in Eastern and Western Europe", the Consultation of the NGOs underlines that women historically play an irreplaceable role in promoting food security on the household and national level in Europe. They further present a vital and active force in the development of a multitude of strategies which make farming and rural life viable and sustainable including development of alternative income-generating activities such as agro-tourism, food processing and production of local quality products.

Despite this, farm women are still classified as "unpaid family workers", farmers are seen as men while farm women are seen as "farmers' wives". In short, women's importance to agro-food systems is generally underestimated.

Therefore, the Consultation of NGOs is strongly supporting findings of the above-mentioned paper and proposing to the Conference to take the following additions into consideration.

  1. Develop throughout Europe concrete action plans and programmes to mainstream gender into the activities of national and regional organizations by the year 2000.
  2. Develop detailed database and disseminate information about rural population in particular rural women in Europe with respect to their situation, problems needs and experiences in relation to participation in economic and political life.
  3. Throughout Europe, improve access to support services and facilities (child and dependent care facilities, information, transport, training and educational opportunities in the vicinity, health centres, etc.).
  4. Give high priority to re-employment training, especially for low-skilled farm women and alternatively improve their working conditions and legal and social position in non-agricultural activities especially when they are self-employed or homeworking.
  5. Provide professional recognition for full- and part-time farm women.

Finally, we propose that these additions should be integrated into a draft plan of action for universal food security.

Appendix 1


Tel Aviv, Israel, 28-29 April 1996


Sunday 28 April
10.00 hours Welcome

The World Food Summit, goals, preparatory process, participants, expected outcome, the role of NGOs

Objectives of the Consultation

Food security situation and issues in Europe (including gender aspects)
14.30 hours Presentation and discussion of regional goals and targets within the context of the draft Summit Policy Statement and Plan of Action
Implementation of regional goals and targets as a possibility for new collaboration between civil society organizations, governments and FAO

Preparation of the Consultation statement(s)
18.30 hours Presentation and discussion of the draft working group statements

Agreement on consensus statement(s) and presentation to the FAO Regional Conference for Europe
Monday 29 April
18:00 hours Reconvene to finalize and adopt the consolidated statement of the NGO Consultation

Appendix 2


Tel Aviv, Israel, 28 - 29 April 1996


Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW)
Alte Landstrasse 89
8802 Kirchberg
Tel and Fax: +41-1-7151946
- Joanna Koch, UN Representative

Austrian FAO/FFHC Committee
c/o Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Division III/A/3
Stubenring 12
1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-71100/2812
Fax: +43-1-71100/2892
- Dr. Hermann Redl, Chairman

Caritas Internationalis
Notre Dame Center
P.O. Box 20894
Tel: +972-2-287574
Fax: +972-2-288421
- Claudette Habesch, Secretary-General

Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires
9, quai du Commerce
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +32-2-2184727
Fax: +32-2-2176078
- Alex Danau

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe
Adenauerallee 134
D-53113 Bonn
Tel: +49-228-2288212
Fax: +49-228-2288188
E-mail: weltungerhilfe@ln.comlink.apc.org
- Jochen Donner, Director, Policy Department
(also representing EUROSTEP, Brussels, Belgium, and the Popular Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty, c/o IFAD, Rome, Italy)

S.J. Bujkoue 22
51000 Rijeka
Tel: +385-51-226166
Fax: +385-51-212948
- Ranko Tadiæ, President
(also representing Platform of NGOs in the field of
organic agriculture in Croatia)

Ecological Fund of Armenia
49/4 Komitas Av.
Yerevan 375051
Tel and Fax: +374-2-151795
- Boris Mehrabjan, President

Farmers' Link
38-40 Exchange Street
Norwich NR2 1AX
United Kingdom
Tel: +44-1603-765670
Fax: +44-1603-761645
E-mail: flink@gn.apc.org
- Alistair Smith, International Programme Officer

Bayer A.G.
Department Agriculture and Development
Pflanzenschtzzentrum Monheim
D-51368 Leverkussen
Tel: +49-21-73383719
Fax: +49-21-73383156
- Annik Dollacker

International Alliance of Women (IAW)
c/o 1, Lycavittou Street
10672 Athens
Tel: +3626111
Fax: +3622454
- Chana Elroy, Vice President

International Association of Agricultural Students (IAAS)
Mouqebla 19354
- Nayif Saleem, Exchange Programme Coordinator

International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32
20133 Milan
Tel: +39-2-23996255
Fax: +39-2-23996298
- Costantino Fasso, Vice-President

International Union of Family Organizations (IUFO)
29 Boulevard Gallieni
92130 Issy les Moulineaux
Tel: 46487141
Fax: 400049356
- André Duffaure, Permanent Representative to FAO

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
c/o International Department
Histradut Building
Arlozorov St. 93
Tel Aviv 62098
Tel: +972-3-6921629
Fax: +972-3-6969906
- Michael Frohlich, Representative

National Committee for IUNS Affairs
Polish Academy of Sciences
Nowoursynowska 166
02-766 Warsaw
- Prof. Stanislaw Berger, Chairman

Society for International Development (SID)
44 Nordau Street
- Naomi Nevo, Consultant (WID Action Plan for Europe)

Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and Protection of Natural Habitats
PK 213 Levent
Cyir Cimen SOK A2 Block D10
Istanbul 80620
Tel: +90-212-2835169
Fax: +90-212-2811132
- Talin Azar Erarslan, Assistant in International Relations

Vétérinaires Sans Frontières
ERAC - 14, avenue Berthelot
69361 Lyon Cedex 07
Tel: +33-78697959
Fax: +33-78697956
E-mail: VSF@Globnet.org
- Laurence Lannoy, Representative

The World Phosphate Institute (IMPHOS)
3, rue Abdelzader Al Mazini
- Boujamaa Amar, Agronomist

World Veterans Federation
36 Remez Str.
Tel Aviv 62192
Tel: +3-5464104
Fax: +3-5236684
- Benjamin Meirtchak, Executive Vice President


Kay Killingsworth
Secretary-General, World Food Summit

Kostas G. Stamoulis
Economist, ESAE

Sharon L. Cowan
Programme Officer, World Food Summit Secretariat