Hundred and Nineteenth Session
Rome, 20-25 November 2000
REPORT OF THE 26th
SESSION OF THE
II. ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD FOOD SECURITY SITUATION AND
III. PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMITMENTS ONE, TWO, FIVE AND RELEVANT PARTS OF COMMITMENT SEVEN OF THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION
IV. CONSIDERATION OF THE THEMATIC ISSUE "WHO ARE THE FOOD INSECURE?" AND REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS IN FIVIMS
A. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
V. OTHER MATTERS
APPENDIX B - MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY
APPENDIX C - COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED AT THE SESSION
APPENDIX D - LIST OF DOCUMENTS
APPENDIX E - OPENING STATEMENT OF THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL
THE COMMITTEE ALSO REQUESTED THE FAO SECRETARIAT TO TAKE THE ACTIONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 45 FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COUNCIL AT ITS 119TH SESSION.
THE COMMITTEE AGREED ON ARRANGE-
1. The Committee on World Food Security held its Twenty-sixth Session from 18 September to 22 September 2000 at FAO Headquarters in Rome. The session was attended by delegates from 107 out of 114 Members of the Committee, by observers from 2 other Member Nations of FAO, the Holy See, the Sovereign Order of Malta, by representatives from 6 United Nations agencies and Programmes; and by observers from 3 intergovernmental and 26 international non-governmental organizations. The report contains the following annexes: Appendix A - Agenda (as adopted); Appendix B - Membership of the Committee; Appendix C - Countries and organizations represented at the session; Appendix D - List of documents; Appendix E - Opening Statement delivered by the Deputy Director-General. The full list of participants is available from the CFS Secretariat.
2. The Session was opened by H.E. Mr Mohammed Saeed Nouri-Naeeni (Iran) the outgoing Chairman of the Committee, who highlighted the `noble role' of FAO in assisting member countries to achieve food security, eradicate poverty and hunger, and monitor the food insecurity situation in the world, and stressed the importance of civil society, NGOs and international organisations in supporting this work. He expressed his gratitude for exceptional co-operation from the members of the Committee and the Secretariat for the work of the Bureau and enjoined all to continue the good work.
3. The membership of the Committee expressed warm gratitude to the outgoing Chairman and members of the Bureau, who had led the Committee in exemplary fashion.
4. The Committee elected by acclamation Mr Aidan O'Driscoll (Ireland) as Chairperson and H.E. Ms Ana Maria Deustua Caravedo (Peru), Mr Paul Ross (Australia), H.E. Mr Bader J. Allawi (Iraq), and Ms Patricia Garamendi (United States of America) as Vice-Chairpersons.
5. Mr D.A. Harcharik, Deputy Director-General, delivered the opening statement on behalf of the Director-General. The Deputy Director-General expressed appreciation to H.E. Mr Nouri-Naeeni for his outstanding work and leadership and commended the innovations introduced for this session.
6. The Committee appointed a drafting Committee composed of the delegations of Algeria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Cyprus, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mali, Netherlands, New Zealand and the Philippines, under the Chairmanship of Mr Adnan Bashir Khan (Pakistan).
7. The Committee heard statements from representatives of four international organizations (ILO, WFP, IFAD and the World Bank) at the opening of the substantive debate.
CURRENT WORLD FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
8. The number of undernourished persons in developing countries declined at an average rate of about 8 million per year throughout most of the 1990s. Even this slow rate of decline appears to have been interrupted by the severe economic and climatic conditions that affected several countries in 1998. To achieve the WFS target by the year 2015, the number of the undernourished would have to decline by at least an average of 20 million per year. If the present trends continued, the World Food Summit objective of reducing the number of the undernourished by half by 2015 would not be attained.
Low Import Bills of LIFDCS
9. The reduction in the import bill of LIFDCs due to low cereal prices and favorable domestic production was a positive development in the marketing year 1999-2000.
Several Countries on Course Towards Summit Target
10. Thirty-nine countries have succeeded in reducing the number of undernourished since the time of the Summit. According to the Secretariat, some large Asian countries are projected to be on course toward achieving the Summit target on time. This was expected to be facilitated by declining birth rates and improved economic growth prospects.
Contributions of Roots and Tubers to Food Security
11. Roots and tubers play an important role in food security in many countries. In West Africa, which has improved its production performance in recent years, increased consumption of cassava has made an important contribution to reducing the number of undernourished.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Conflicts and Food Security
12. The number and severity of conflicts causing food emergencies and preventing progress towards food security increased in post-Summit years.
Sharp Increase in Frequency and Severity of Food Emergencies due to Natural Disasters
13. Natural disasters have increased in both number and magnitude in the post Summit years. These calamities drain the resources of governments and aid agencies, and have significantly undermined the capacity of many countries to implement measures to reduce hunger and malnutrition. The devastating impact of droughts in 2000 has affected more than 100 million people.
Negative Impact of HIV/AIDS on Food Security
14. With over 35 million people affected by this dreaded disease, HIV/AIDs is having a devastating impact on food security in several countries and regions. Beyond the tragic loss of human life, it results in a reduced labour force and high health costs and creates vulnerability among orphans and elderly heads of households.
Heavy Debt Burden
15. The heavy debt burden is limiting the capacity of many developing countries, and countries in transition, particularly among LIFDCs, to implement policies and programmes for eradicating poverty and hunger. Nevertheless, this problem is receiving increasing attention from the international community through initatives such as the heavily-indebted poor countries debt initiative (HIPC-DI).
Uncertain Prospects for Global Cereal Markets
16. Cereal stocks in the year 2000-2001 are likely to decline to slightly below the level regarded by the FAO Secretariat as the minimum necessary to safeguard world food security, and price increases for some grains are likely.
Growing Incidence of Foodborne Diseases
17. Despite concerted efforts at the national and international levels, food borne diseases and zoonosis still remain a serious concern.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NEEDS
18. In addition to the recommendations of the Secretariat for the selection of key indicators the following additional information needs were identified as being essential or useful for monitoring food security at multiple levels, taking into account that improved national information was critical:
PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION
WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION
REPORTING PROCESS AND RESULTS
19. Ninety-one countries and 9 international organizations submitted reports on the implementation of WFS Plan of Action. The Secretariat had synthesised the wealth of detail contained in these reports under a number of key issues relating to Commitments I, II and V and relevant parts of Commitment VII (the people-centred commitments). The clarity and brevity of this synthesis was appreciated. However this had led to the omission of certain important issues discussed below. Although actions had been reported in some detail the document also lacked analysis of the results of actions taken.
20. Reports from the important discussions held at each of the FAO regional conferences on the subject of Follow-up to the World Food Summit were also available to the Committee.
Multidimensional Nature of WFS Follow-up
21. The multi-dimensional nature of the follow-up to the World Food Summit included actions at the national, intergovernmental and inter-agency levels, by governmental, inter-governmental, non-governmental and civil society actors. Reiterating that the international community, and the UN system, including FAO, as well as other agencies and bodies according to their mandates, have important contributions to the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action, some delegates regretted the reduction in the budget of FAO and other international agencies. Several delegates emphasized that the zero growth in FAO budget has constrained the Organization's capacity to assist developing countries.
Actions taken towards Poverty Reduction and Food Security
22. Several countries provided additional information of the measures they had taken to implement the Plan and to reduce poverty and the number of the undernourished. They re-iterated their strong commitment to the WFS Plan of Action.
23. The intergovernmental organisations that addressed the Committee were all cognizant of the WFS goals and were paying heed to food security concerns in their strategic plans. The fight against poverty is common ground for all agencies. The Committee lauded the recent reaffirmation by the UN Millenium Summit of the WFS target of halving the number of undernourished by 2015 along with halving extreme poverty by the same date.
24. The WFS has in fact stimulated many countries to develop food security programmes, policies and institutions to allow meeting the target in time. FAO's assistance in this area was acknowledged and appreciated, and its coordinating role was highlighted.
IMPORTANT ISSUES NOT COVERED BY DOCUMENT CFS:2000/3 REV.1
Reporting on the use of food as an instrument of political and economic pressure
25. It was noted that although the Rome Declaration on World Food Security had stated, and it had been repeated at various FAO events, that food should not be used as an instrument of political and economic pressure, the document did not report on this matter. The Committee reaffirmed the importance of the Rome Declaration and the World Food Summit Plan of Action, in general, and in relation with this theme.
Rights-based Approach to Summit follow-up
26. Referring to the Summit's reaffirmation of the right of everyone 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, the Committee reaffirmed the importance of continuing the consolidation of this important issue in the relevant UN body, with the active participation of FAO.
Gender Mainstreaming and Empowerment of Women
27. The Committee stressed the importance of gender in food security, which is a crucial objective for achieving Commitment One, but which was not sufficiently highlighted in the document.
FAO Actions to Implement Summit Plan of Action
28. Refering to the lead role of FAO among international agencies in implementing the WFS Plan of Action, several delegates regretted that the document provided insufficient information on FAO's actions.
OTHER ASPECTS FACILITATING ACHIEVEMENT OF FOOD SECURITY GOALS
29. The facilitation of the achievement of food security goals in many developing countries through enhanced access to world markets for their exports and through the pursuit of sustainable agricultural and rural development was raised during the current session of the Committee and will be addressed during the second phase of the review of the Summit Plan of Action.
30. On the basis of its findings and conclusions reported above the Committee made the following recommendations:
With regard to Governments :
With regard to the International Community
With regard to the FAO Secretariat:
With regard to International Institutions
DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL FIVIMS
31. Commendable efforts had been made to put FIVIMS on a sound footing.
32. A large number of countries have begun implementation of FIVIMS. A rich variety of national approaches appears to be evolving, consistent with differing food situations and institutional capacities among countries.
33. Priorities for the immediate future include provision of adequate technical backstopping to national FIVIMS and promoting wider use of improved computer-based tools.
34. The proposed method for preliminary vulnerable group profiling has several advantages: it is interdisciplinary and livelihoods-based and it promotes a collaborative approach. However certain issues, such as its utility for decision making and its wider applicability, still require clarification. Country case studies will be important to evaluate the value added of this new approach.
35. The livelihoods-based problem analysis needs to be complemented with adequate analysis of policy and institutional issues. Since information should contribute to policy making, quality is important. Policy analysis should be well-grounded and based on solid evidence, recognising that for many countries vulnerability profiling would have utility only if the approach is practical, simple and implementable at local level under conditions of severe resource constraints.
SELECTION OF CORE INDICATORS
36. Considerable progress has been made on developing a list of core indicators during the past year. In general the list provided by the Secretariat in documents CFS:2000/2 and CFS:2000/2 Sup.1 provide a good basis for continuing this work. In classifying vulnerable groups, demographic characteristics should not be used as a primary classification method. Instead vulnerable demographic groups such as women, children or the elderly should be identified as specially vulnerable members of livelihood-based vulnerable groups. Gender disaggregated data and data on HIV/AIDS should be added to the FIVIMS indicator list.
37. Use of nutritional status indicators together with indicators of food consumption and health status to monitor food security outcomes was supported. It is important to establish uniformity and consistency of indicators, as this could help countries find pockets of vulnerability and reorient action. Several delegates reported on work in progress in their countries to improve on the monitoring of these indicators. In doing this care needed to be taken to avoid duplication of statistical work.
38. There had been significant improvement in cooperation between the FIVIMS initiative and the UNDAF common country assessment exercises. In eighteen countries ACC thematic groups have now given priority to FIVIMS and collaboration between the Rome-based agencies supporting national FIVIMS has increased. Several delegates reported on the cooperation and support that their countries were giving, or planning to give to FIVIMS.
39. The Committee agreed the following recommendations:
With regard to the IAWG-FIVIMS
With regard to the FIVIMS Secretariat
With regard to the FAO Secretariat
PROPOSAL FOR FAO CONFERENCE REVIEW OF PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION FIVE YEARS AFTER THE SUMMIT
40. The Committee had a fruitful exchange of views on document CFS:2000/LIM/1, containing the Director-General's proposal that in November 2001, on the fifth anniversary of the World Food Summit, the FAO Conference be used as a forum for a review, at the highest political level, of progress in implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action.
41. The proposal to invite Heads of State or Government to attend the Conference for a review of the situation after five years is aimed at obtaining reaffirmed commitment, by the world's leaders, to the undertakings made in Rome in 1996. As such, it would complement and reinforce the ongoing monitoring process by mobilizing the necessary political will within countries and at the international level. With regard to cost, the Secretariat affirmed that the proposal involved reliance on an already scheduled meeting provided for in the budget for the 2000-2001 biennium.
42. The Committee understood the rationale which had motivated the Director-General's proposal and agreed that all countries, and the international community, needed to intensify efforts to reach the World Food Summit target by 2015, and ultimately to achieve food security for all.
43. The Committee reiterated the importance of close monitoring of progress in implementing the World Food Summit Plan of Action, but underlined that time is required for policies and programmes to produce results. It planned to complete two full cycles of reporting before the broad-based progress assessment foreseen in the CFS in 2006, ten years after the Summit. However, if the current pace of change is not significantly accelerated, the review in 2006 might well have to conclude that the Summit's target would not be met, and by then it would be too late to take the necessary corrective action.
44. A number of delegates, noting that urgent action is needed, considered that the benefits to be obtained from a review at the highest political level in 2001 would be considerable and therefore strongly supported the proposal. Other delegates questioned the level of representation foreseen, as well as the timing, considering that according to the schedule adopted at the last CFS, the first full reporting cycle would only be concluded in 2002. Some other delegates stated that they foresaw deciding on the level of representation depending on the further evolution of the idea.
45. In conclusion, the Committee requested that the FAO Secretariat further develop the proposal in CFS:2000/LIM/1, for consideration by the Council, at its Hundred and Nineteenth Session, along with the Committee's report, in order to provide the Council with the opportunity to give serious consideration to the Director-General's proposal.
BROADENED PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY (CFS)
46. The important role of NGOs/CSOs in the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action was underlined. The paper on FAO Policy and Strategy for Cooperation with Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations was recalled as an interesting initiative. The Committee looked forward to receiving the Secretariat's recommendations of the procedures at normative and operational level that will be systematically developed for establishing better relations between FAO and NGOs/CSOs.
FAO CONFERENCE REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY ON AN "ALLIANCE ON FOOD SECURITY"
47. In response to the FAO Conference request that CFS examine the proposal for an Alliance on Food Security, the Committee welcomed the presentations by the FAO secretariat, IFAD, ILO, WFP and the World Bank, in relation to the assessment of the world food situation, as a concrete demonstration that such an approach was feasible. The Committee concluded that strengthened collaboration between the international food agencies based in Rome, building upon the existing cooperation, should be fostered. It invited these organisations to further develop their cooperation under the framework of UNDAF, CDF and work on PRSP and to report to the CFS accordingly.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE 27th SESSION
48. The Committee agreed to the proposal of the Bureau, that the thematic issue for consideration at its Twenty-seventh Session be "The application of appropriate agricultural technology and practices and their impact on food security and the eradication of poverty: Lessons learned from selected community based experiences."
49. The Committee agreed to hold its Twenty-seventh Session at FAO Headquarters in Rome at a time to be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairman.
I. ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS
(a) Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairmen
(b) Adoption of Agenda and Timetable
(c) Statement by the Director-General or his Representative
(d) Membership of the Committee
II. ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
III. PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION: COMMITMENTS ONE, TWO, FIVE AND RELEVANT PARTS OF COMMITMENT SEVEN
(a) Report on Progress in the Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action
(b) Conclusions Reached by FAO Regional Conferences Regarding the Implementation at Regional and Sub-regional Levels of the World Food Summit Plan of Action
IV. THEMATIC ISSUE: WHO ARE THE FOOD INSECURE?
(a) Identification and Characterization of Vulnerable and Food Insecure Groups
(b) Report on Development of Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS)
V. OTHER MATTERS
(a) Arrangements for the Twenty-seventh Session
(b) Any Other Business
(c) Report of the Session
INFORMAL PANEL DISCUSSION ON COUNTRY AND NGO/CSO EXPERIENCES IN IMPLEMENTING THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT PLAN OF ACTION
At the Twenty-fifth Session of the CFS, the suggestion had been made that the CFS, in monitoring the Plan of Action, could review voluntary country reports. In considering this suggestion, the Bureau has decided that volunteering countries could present their reports at a panel discussion outside the formal agenda, but prior to closure of the Twenty-sixth Session. In view of the time constraints only a few countries could make such presentations. The Chairman of the Bureau will therefore consult with the regional groups, with a view to identifying one volunteering member country from each regional group to participate in the panel. An informal debate will be held after the panel, open to all persons participating in this new experimental Thursday morning session. Experiences of NGOs/CSOs with implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action in each region will also be reported on during the course of this debate.
(as at 22 September 2000)
Democratic People's Republic
Korea, Republic of
Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
SAUDI ARABIA, KINGDOM
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNITED STATES OF
OBSERVERS FROM MEMBER NATIONS NOT MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE
PERMANENT OBSERVER TO FAO
UNITED NATIONS AND SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
OBSERVERS FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
OBSERVERS FROM NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
|CFS:2000/1 Rev.1||Provisional Agenda||
|CFS:2000/2||Assessment of the World Food Security Situation||
|CFS:2000/2 Corr.1||Assessment of the World Food Security Situation||
|CFS:2000/2 Sup.1||Suggested Core Indicators for Monitoring Food Security Status||
|CFS:2000/3 Rev.1||Follow-up to the World Food Summit: Report on the Progress in the Implementation of Commitments I, II, V and Relevant Parts of Commitment VII of the Plan of Action||
|CFS:2000/4||Extracts Related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Reports of the FAO Regional Conferences||
|CFS:2000/4-Sup.1||Extracts Related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Report of the Twenty-first FAO Regional Conference for Africa||
|CFS:2000/4-Sup.2||Extracts Related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Report of the Twenty-fifth FAO Regional Conference for the Near East||
|CFS:2000/4-Sup.3||Extracts Related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Report of the Twenty-sixth FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean||
|CFS:2000/4-Sup.4||Extracts related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Report of the Twenty-second FAO Regional Conference for Europe||
|CFS:2000/4-Sup.5||Extracts Related to the Follow-up to the World Food Summit from the Report of the Twenty-fifth FAO Regional Conference for Asia and Pacific||
|CFS:2000/5||Who are the Food Insecure ?||
|CFS:2000/6||Report on the Development of Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS)||
|CFS:2000/7||Proposals for Thematic Issues to Be Considered at CFS/27||
|CFS:2000/Lim/1||Proposal for FAO Conference Review of Progress in Implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action Five Years after the Summit - WFS+5||
|CFS:2000/Inf.1 Rev.1||Proposed Timetable|
|CFS:2000/Inf.2||List of Documents|
|CFS:2000/Inf.3||List of Members of the Committee on World Food Security|
|CFS:2000/Inf.4||List of Delegates|
|CFS: 2000/Inf.5||Statement of Competence and Voting Rights submitted by the European Community (EC) and its Member States|
|CFS: 2000/Inf.6||Broadened Participation of Civil Society in the Work of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)|
|CFS:2000/Inf.7||FAO Conference Request for Additional Study on an "Alliance on Food Security"|
|CFS:2000/Inf.8||Programme Evaluation of Food and Agricultural Policy (Prog.2.2.4)|
|CFS:2000/Inf.9||Information note on the Status of FIVIMS at Country Level|
Distinguished Delegates and Observers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning and welcome to this Twenty-sixth Session of the Committee on World Food Security. I am pleased to see such good participation in this every active and important Committee.
Mr. Chairman, let me begin by congratulating you on having been elected to guide the work of the Committee in the biennium 2000-2001. I am sure that under your leadership the Committee will effectively fulfill its tasks, particularly that of monitoring the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action and the rate of progress in reducing the number of the people who are suffering from hunger and undernourishment.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Noori Naeeni, the outgoing Chairman, and the members of his Bureau for the excellent work they have accomplished during their term of office. Besides actively serving the Committee during its sessions, Ambassador Naeeni and his colleagues have dedicated much time to working with the Secretariat in preparing for and following up on the Committee's sessions. This has been most helpful.
Mr. Chairman, colleagues, at the outset, I wish to call your attention to several innovations which have been introduced into this Session of the Committee:
I should like to thank all those who helped make these innovations possible, as well as those who have made other special efforts to enhance the work of this session of the Committee.
The Committee's agenda for this session is centred around the follow-up to the WFS Plan of Action and issues related to it. Four years have passed since the Summit was held; as we move closer to the target year set by the Summit for achieving its main objective, it is indeed appropriate that the Committee devote much of its work to monitoring the implementation of the Plan of Action so that, where needed, corrective and re-enforcing measures can be recommended and taken at all necessary levels.
The substantive items of the agenda for this session include: the assessment of the world food security situation; the review of progress in the implementation of the WFS Plan of Action; and a thematic issue entitled "Who are the food insecure?" Under the thematic issue, the Committee will also consider a report on the development of the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems (FIVIMS), which it had requested to receive every year.
The document on the assessment of the world food security situation gives the 1996-98 estimates of the number of undernourished people in the world. For developing countries the number stands at 792 million, 38 million less than in 1990-1992, which was the reference period used at the time of the WFS. The report also shows that there are an estimated 34 million undernourished people in the developed countries, of which three quarters (26 million) are concentrated in the countries in transition of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
What should we conclude from these figures, in terms of the prospects of achieving the global WFS target by 2015 and in terms of performances at the country level?
First, the decline in the number of undernourished persons in developing countries, after having experienced an average rate of about 8 million per year throughout most of the 90s, appears to have been interrupted in 1998 by the severe economic and climatic conditions that affected several countries that year. You will recall that to achieve the WFS target by the year 2015, the number of the undernourished would have to decline by at least 20 million per year. In other words, we are far from reaching the target.
We also note that this insufficient global trend conceals differing degrees of performance among the developing countries in improving food security. In the period 1992-1998, only 39 countries succeeded in reducing the number of undernourished in their populations. It is therefore disturbing that in the majority of the developing countries, the number of undernourished either remained unchanged, or, as is the case for many countries, principally in Africa, the food security situation actually deteriorated and the number of the undernourished increased. This is consistent, unfortunately, with several other reports that indicate poverty is increasing and disparity in income within and between countries is widening. While we are encouraged by the adoption by the Millenium Summit of the UN of the target of reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half before 2015, I must emphasize, Mr. Chairman, that if today's trends continue, we will not be successful in reaching the WFS target. Progress in Africa is particularly disconcerting and requires a stronger and more concerted effort by all.
Under item III of your agenda you will review the actions taken to implement the "people centred" Commitments under the Summit Plan of Action. I wish to thank the 91 countries and 8 international and regional institutions that contributed to the work of the Committee by submitting the reports requested from them. As noted in the background document for this agenda item, democratization and peoples' participation are increasingly becoming features of the political systems of many countries. Nonetheless, despite some promising steps to resolve existing conflicts or avoid potential future ones, the post-Summit years have continued to be marked by violent situations in many countries, affecting the lives of many people and preventing long-term development and poverty reduction. The incidence of natural disasters, the resulting damage to property and infrastructure and the disruption of long-term development efforts have also meant a reduced capacity of the many affected countries to implement the WFS Plan of Action.
Item IV of your agenda deals with FIVIMS. You have repeatedly underlined the priority that you attach to this aspect of the follow-up to the WFS. In the two papers prepared for this agenda item, you will find a summary picture of progress on FIVIMS and related activities in 120 countries. One paper provides information on the development of FIVIMS at country level as well as at global and regional levels. The second provides information on the methodology developed for FIVIMS to identify and characterize the food insecure on the basis of the sustainable livelihoods approach.
In concluding, Mr. Chairman, let me return to the pressing issue of the slow pace of progress in reducing the number of the undernourished, and reiterate that, if the present trends continue, the Summit target set forth for the year 2015 will not be achieved. It is in this context that the Director-General has recognized the need for a review at the highest level to be made of the situation five years after the Summit, that is, in 2001. The main purpose will be to ensure timely actions in removing the constraints that impede implementing the Plan of Action and accelerating the pace of decline in the number of undernourished persons. To avoid the cost that a special meeting would entail, the Director-General is proposing that this high-level five-year review of progress following the Summit be made within the context of the next FAO Conference. A short document on this matter has been prepared for your consideration under the agenda item "Other matters". We would hope that while marking the fifth anniversary of the WFS, the thirty-first Conference of FAO, at which Heads of State and Government will be invited, would give new impetus and momentum to the process of implementing the Summit Plan of Action.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you a successful meeting.