From the podium

From the podium

Mr Bi Blap Halim (Institute for Motivation of Self-Employment)

Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Ladies and Gentlemen and my friends from the civil society.

Six years after the World Food Summit and eight years after the Agricultural Agreements of the Uruguay Round, the promises and commitments made to satisfy the food and nutritional needs of all are far from being fulfilled.

On the contrary, the reality is that the economic, agricultural, fishing and trade policies of most governments, which are often influenced or imposed by the World Bank, IMF and the WTO, promoted by transnational corporations, have widened the gap between the wealthy and poor countries and accentuated the unequal distribution of earnings within countries. They have worsened the conditions of food production and access to healthy and sufficient nutrition for the majority of the world's people, even in the so-called developed countries.

In fact, three central themes have been identified by the CSOs and NGOs in the preparation of the World Food Summit: five years later in the last year and in the last few days in the NGO forum.

Firstly, we need a right-based approach to hunger and malnutrition issues. The aim should be to put the right to adequate food at the centre of any activity for the implementation of the World Food Summit objectives, by holding states accountable to the people living within their borders and by addressing the responsibilities of actors other than the states, such as intergovernmental organizations or transnational corporations. For this purpose, the NGO community has been demanding for several years the development of a Code of Conduct on right to adequate food. Moreover, we demand that FAO and the Member States adopt a rights-approach towards their food nutrition and agricultural policies, which includes, inter alia, guaranteeing access to productive resources, especially to land through a general agrarian reform process. A rights-approach must also respect, protect and fulfil the rights of agricultural workers and indigenous people.

Secondly, the subsidized exports, artificially low prices and legalized dumping of food are elements characterizing the current model of agricultural trade. This trend has had a negative impact on the majority of people living in rural areas, traditional family farms and indigenous communities. It is important to recognize the need to guarantee farmer-led food sovereignty, which offers farmers the possibility of earning a decent income while limiting corporate monopolization of the food system.

Thirdly, the ecological models of agriculture should become the dominant production model to help sustain the cultural and biological diversity of our planet, as it allows us to create sustainable use of the ecosystems and aquatic marine life. Genetic resources for food and agriculture are available as a result of thousands of years careful breeding and development by small-scale holder farmers, pasturalist and indigenous communities. Therefore, genetic resources must be seen as a patrimony of all humanity. Access to genetic resources is essential for guaranteeing food security.
Friends, there is no need to mention here that any progress to be achieved in the coming years will require a strong and vibrant civil society sector to work with government and hold governments accountable for these actions.

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