Ms Marita Wiggerthale (International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth - MIJARC)
Distinguished Chairman, Distinguished Heads of State and Governments
I am representing MIJARC, the International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth, the thirty-eight member movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
First of all, I would like to thank you for giving youth a chance to express its view with regard to the fight against hunger. We young people organized a movement at the national, regional and international level to raise our voice as agents of a future for a world without hunger and poverty. Young people and women, especially in rural areas, are those who are mostly affected by hunger and poverty. Having said that, it is evident that they have to be involved in the deliberation of concepts, policies and programmes at all levels.
Hunger will never be eradicated if the people concerned are not involved as equal and active partners in the struggle for one of the most fundamental rights, that is the right to be free from hunger. Consequently, we join the demand of civil society to have the right to define their own policies and strategies for sustainable production, distribution and consumption of food, being endorsed in the concept of food sovereignty.
As future producers and leaders of communities we observe with concern the freedom of access to productive resources expressed by the loss of biodiversity, land degradation, desertification because of climate changes, privatization of water, patented and genetically modified seeds. By pushing ahead technology that is endangering the access to these resources our life is frightened. We are claiming to have the same right to a life and dignity as all the generations before us.
MIJARC as a rural youth movement wants to call upon governments to commit themselves for achieving the viability of rural areas. The lack of income possibilities, as well as the lack of access to local training for farmers, infrastructure and commercialization system in rural areas leads to the exodus, especially of young people. If this trend continues, farmers in the future will not be able to produce enough food for feeding people living in the cities. We have to be aware of the trade as such cannot, and should not, replace local production. The support of domestic agricultural production based on a peasant and agro-ecological approach is essential for the economic and sustainable development of every country.
While talking about trade, it is also important, according to us, to highlight the need for promotion of trade with countries in the same region.
In order to facilitate the contribution of youth at FAO in a continuous way, we demand FAO and its members to mainstream youth issues. Also there should be a youth consultation before the international and regional conferences in order to allow a broader involvement of youth representative, based on democratic principles.
We are looking forward to contribute to the work of the International Working Group and the voluntary guidelines that are aimed at supporting Member States' efforts to achieve a progressive realization of the right for adequate food in the context of national food security. We would like to see these guidelines to become an effective instrument in the fight against hunger.
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