From the podium

From the podium


Her Excellency Renate Künast (Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany) (Original language German)

Mr Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Five years after the historic Summit in Rome, the international community is still faced with one of its greatest challenges, effectively addressing the scourge of hunger in joint action and with greater resolve.

The persistence of hunger and undernourishment violates a basic human right in a particularly cruel way: having enough to eat to take one's life into one's own hands and to be able to make a contribution to public welfare.

Safeguarding this very basis for the existence of every human being and opening up access to food, land, water and seed as well as to information and education is our task and responsibility.

This transcends a moral-ethical responsibility, because we are fully aware of the fact that global security and world peace crucially depend on our success in giving a chance to everybody for self-determined development.

Every government has to tackle its essential task of planning its policies in a way that enables all citizens to have access to healthy food.

This awareness has also inspired the suggestion made by Federal President Johannes Rau, on the occasion of the last World Food Day here in Rome, to set up a global alliance against hunger and poverty.

World Food Summit Plan of Action aims at the overriding objective to fulfil the task to achieve food security for all and at any time in a sustained manner.

An enabling national environment has been and still is an indispensable pre-requisite for this. This includes: democracy and good, transparent governance; compliance with human rights; rule of law; respect for civil rights; involvement of people in decisions of immediate concern to their lives; and not least, the legally secured access of all people, irrespective of their sex, age, religion and race, to productive resources for food and agriculture as well as to know-how, technology, infrastructure, credit and markets. On behalf of the European Community and its Member States, Spain has pointed out this essential precondition. I would like to underline this statement.

This policy has also provided key impetus to the multilateral and bilateral development cooperation of my country. Last year, the Federal Government approved an action plan on poverty alleviation that primarily aims at reducing hunger and undernourishment. Germany has earmarked considerable amounts to promote programmes and projects for food security and rural development in African, Asian and Latin American countries.

On 22 May this year, I signed a framework agreement with Director-General Diouf on the implementation of joint programmes and projects worth  8.5 million. Thereby, my country wants to contribute first of all to food security and rehabilitation of farming in Afghanistan. Particularly, the Afghan women, must be placed in a position to feed themselves and their families.

Other programmes are to follow. We are primarily concerned with the conservation and sustainable use of the resource base for farming, forestry and fisheries.

With this in mind, Germany wants to continue to help fulfil the goals and tasks laid down in Agenda 21, notably Chapter 14 on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

Finally, Mr Chairman, allow me to refer again to the "right of every human being to adequate food". At the end of May, my country held a workshop on this topic with broad international participation.

This workshop blends into a great number of meetings held and activities performed since the 1996 Summit by FAO, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), by several countries as well as international non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions. All were aimed at giving more weight to the overriding goal of the "right to food".

The Declaration of this Summit meeting adopted on Monday meets this key concerns by calling upon FAO and other UN bodies to take the necessary steps to draft a text on universally recognized guidelines on the right to food.

What matters to us, however, is to strengthen the binding character of the right to food, as laid down, for example, in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights. The duties of all governments must be clearly defined and must not be diluted. Governments are called upon to accept responsibility for food security for all people in this world.

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