| ARC/02/3 |
TWENTY-SECOND REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR AFRICA
CAIRO, EGYPT, 4-8 FEBRUARY 2002
PREPARATION FOR THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: five years later - REGIONAL DIMENSIONS
A. Major actions
B. Assessment of Progress
III. ACTIONS BY FAO TO STRENGTHEN POLITICAL COMMITMENT AND EVIDENCE OF PROGRESS
A. Major action
B. Assessment of Progress
IV. NEW CHALLENGES FOR ACHIEVING WORLD FOOD SUMMIT GOALS
A. Food Security: the critical role of land and fresh water resources
b) Fresh water resources
B. Conflicts and emergencies
a) Man-made emergencies
b) Natural disasters
c) Transboundary pests and diseases
D. Evolution of technology
E. Globalisation of trade
G. Food safety
H. Right to Food
V. THE WAY FORWARD: TRANSLATING COMMITMENTS INTO ACTION
A. Strengthening the political will to fight hunger
B. Mobilising resources to fight hunger
VI. FINAL OBSERVATION
1. This paper is a brief introduction to agenda item 6. It provides an overview of developments in food and agriculture at the global level since the World Food Summit of 1996, with special reference to the African region. Key achievements of FAO in the WFS follow-up process, in the face of unfavourable attitude towards agriculture on the international development assistance front, are highlighted. The paper then looks ahead to the year 2015, when the number of people facing food insecurity is expected to be reduced by half world wide, pointing out some of the major challenges that should be considered and effectively dealt with. It concludes by underlining the fact that if this objective and other World Food Summit goals are to be achieved extraordinary political commitment and resource mobilisation would be crucial..
2. The document is presented to the 22nd Regional Conference for Africa to offer delegates an opportunity to express their views on issues raised, and to review their own country experiences in improving food security over the past five years in line with the World Food Summit Plan of Action and the way forward. The outcome of these deliberations will be taken into account by the Open-Ended Working Group of the Council, meeting in parallel to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) from 6-8 June, 2002, in finalising the outcome document for submission to the WFS:fyl from 10-13 June 2002.
3. The FAO Council at its 119th Session in November 2000 supported the Director -General's proposal to hold the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) as part of the proceedings of the 31st Session of the FAO Conference. In the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States of America, the event was rescheduled for June, 2002 at FAO Headquarters in Rome. WFS:fyl seeks to give new impetus to world wide efforts to improve the situation of the poor and hungry.
4. In supporting the Director-General's proposal to hold the World Food Summit: five years later, the Council underscored the need to give new impetus five years after the Summit to the implementation of the Plan of Action. In fact, FAO's latest assessment as published in the State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) 2001, gives grounds for even greater concern about the slow progress being made towards the reduction of hunger. In hosting a global meeting to review progress made towards ending hunger, FAO is not re-opening debate on any part of the Rome Declaration and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The purpose of bringing Heads of State and Government together is to give them the opportunity to consider and take appropriate action, with additional and more effective measures, to guarantee the fulfilment of the commitments they made in those two documents. Under this agenda item, the Regional Conference will therefore address the twin themes of i) strengthening the political will to fight hunger, and ii) mobilising resources to fight hunger, both at the national level and internationally.
5. As part of the preparations for the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl), an International NGOs/CSOs Planning Committee was set-up in Rome in March 2001. African focal points from East/Southern Africa, Central Africa and West Africa were given the responsibility for the organisation of regional activities, especially an FAO-NGO/CSO Regional Consultation, to be held parallel to the 22nd Regional Conference for Africa.
6. A similar Consultation, held in February 2000 in conjunction with the last Regional Conference represented a turning point in FAO policy and strategy for cooperation with NGOs and Civil Society Organisations. Consequently, the 2002 Regional Consultation is being planned as an integral part of the 22nd Regional Conference for Africa. It will be held from 2-3 February 2002 in Cairo, Egypt immediately before the Regional Conference so that its conclusions could be presented to the Regional Conference to enable Government delegations to take them into account in their deliberations.
7. The World Food Summit held in Rome in November 1996 was the third international meeting on food and nutrition issues since 1970, having been preceded by the World Food Conference in 1974, and the International Conference on Nutrition organised by FAO and WHO, in 1992. The World Food Summit was notable for the very high level of government representation, with 112 of the 186 countries present being represented by their Heads of State or Government or their deputies. This was appropriate for a meeting aimed at securing the political commitment required to tackle the cross-cutting underlying causes of widespread hunger and malnutrition, the resolution of which requires the active involvement of many sector Ministries. A further feature of the WFS was that it was specific in setting a time-bound monitorable goal, yet sufficiently realistic to recognise that full eradication of hunger worldwide would not be feasible in the medium term.
8. The Summit concluded with the issuance of two major documents, the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the WFS Plan of Action.
9. Heads of State and Government pledged their political will and their common national commitment to achieving food security for all their peoples and to an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all its forms in their countries, focusing on the Declaration and the seven commitments of the Plan of Action. The set goal was to reduce the number of undernourished people to half their level at the time, not later than 2015.
10. No proposal for new institutions or for pledges of additional resources were put forward during the Summit. However, there was an implicit recognition throughout the preparatory process, that the world has the capacity to feed its population adequately then and in the future, that most of the international arrangements for this were already in place and that it should be possible to muster the necessary financial resources from existing sources to achieve the noble objective.
11. Current data indicate that the number of undernourished is falling by an average rate of only 6 million each year, far below the rate of 22 million needed to reach the World Food Summit target. Sub-Saharan Africa is the developing region where the proportion of undernourished in the total population is highest (more than one third in 1977/99). Consequently, despite some improvement in the status of food security at the national level for some group of countries in Africa in general, there are still many countries and many vulnerable groups within countries in the region that continue to face severe food insecurity problems .
12. FAO's actions towards reinforcing commitment to the achievements of the WFS goals have been based on the conviction that given the required political determination, it should be possible, within current technical, institutional and financial capacities, to eradicate hunger within a very short time, provided the objective was addressed directly rather than obliquely. Indeed, unless priority action is taken to reduce hunger, which is both a cause and an effect of poverty, little progress can be made towards eradicating poverty in all its dimensions. It is precisely because of the insidious nature of chronic hunger, that FAO has felt obliged to persistently remind its member nations of their commitment and to draw their attention to the lack of progress towards the goals set at the Summit. Projections based on current policies and recent trends, indicate that the goal of halving the number of undernourished people by 2015 is unlikely to be achieved before 2030.
13. Much of FAO's effort to strengthen political commitment has been directed towards governments, particularly those of Low Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). A growing appreciation of the extent, causes, location and impact of hunger is developing as a result of extending the reach of the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) to 67 countries as a multi-institutional food security monitoring programme for which FAO provides the secretariat. The launching of the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) in over 60 countries of which 40 are in Sub-Saharan Africa has drawn attention to the practical opportunities which exist for improving agricultural productivity and rural incomes through inducing simple changes in farming systems within a supportive enabling policy environment. Setting-up arrangements for South-South Cooperation in support of the SPFS have also added to the political visibility of food security issues.
14. Many initiatives have also been taken to strengthen the involvement of civil society in ensuring an adequate follow-up to the Summit. FAO has issued policy statements, which are intended to set a basis for increased collaboration between the Organisation, NGOs and the private sector. In 2000 there was a series of regional NGO/CSO consultations, which culminated in a presentation to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) where concerned organisations pledged to reinforce their activities in support of food security. Civil society organisations have been particularly active , working alongside FAO legal staff in the fruitful consultations that were convened on the Right to Food as mandated by the WFS. In pursuance of the same collaborative effort, an NGO/CSO Consultation is taking place parallel to the current Regional Conference for Africa.
15. While the Organisation has had long-standing cooperation agreements and joint work programme with all the major international financing institutions (IFIs), steps have been taken to deepen this collaboration and to focus it increasingly on addressing food security. Commitments have been reflected in new memoranda of understanding signed with the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the West African Development Bank in which the banks have agreed to fund, at the request of countries, SPFS-related activities.
16. Any assessment of the extent of growth in the political commitment to address hunger is bound to be subjective until firm evidence starts to emerge of faster progress towards the eradication of hunger , especially in the LIFDCs. Some 53 developing countries registered a decrease in the proportion of their population classified as undernourished between 1990/1992 and 1996/98, and 39 countries have reduced the absolute number of people who are undernourished . However, in their reports to the CFS these countries are not claiming yet that reductions are due to actions taken in response to WFS commitments. What is encouraging is the broad consensus which has emerged in the international community that the focus of development assistance must be on reducing poverty so as to achieve the International Development Goal (IDG) of cutting by half the share of world population in poverty by 2015. There also appears to be a consensus on the need to raise ODA allocations towards the O.7% of GDP goal and to focus this on the poorest countries.
17. Nevertheless there is a general neglect of food insecurity as a specific issue and a central element in poverty reduction. The influential G-7/8 Summits and major international meetings including those of the G-15 and the non-aligned Movement did not make direct references to hunger. The same applies to the International Development Goals (IDGs) established by the World Bank, IMF, UN and OECD although halving share of hungry is now one of the indicators. Consequently, the holistic approaches embodied in the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) need to be interpreted and operationalised with the definition of specific sectoral priorities to address the different aspects of poverty, translating these into appropriate proposals for resource mobilisation and action.
18. The Rome Declaration on World Food Security placed food security in a broad context. It acknowledged the multifaceted character of food security, emphasising the linkage with poverty eradication, peace, sustainable use of natural resources, fair trade and the prevention of natural disasters and man-made emergencies. Since the World Food Summit many of such issues have come to the fore with even greater sharpness, thus expanding the challenges to the achievement of food security and the sustainable management of natural resources as endorsed by the international community five years ago.
19. Farmers face major challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa as food production has achieved a growth of about 2.5 per cent per year, while population has risen at the rate of over 3 per cent per year. Consequently, the biggest challenge in the coming years to half the number of hungry people by the year 2015, will be how best to develop and promote the use of more efficient production technologies to ensure higher yields from existing cultivated lands, efficient and effective utilisation of external inputs, increase in agricultural research, extension and the development of the knowledge and skills to meet the real needs of farmers who form the majority of food producers in the region.
20. Access to land is one important prerequisite for food security as more people need to produce their own food and make a living from the land. Unfortunately, soils in most countries have inherent low fertility and lack adequate nutrient requirements. It is estimated that 494 million hectares of soil degradation occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) due to water erosion, wind erosion, chemical degradation and physical degradation. The direct causes are mainly deforestation, overgrazing and over-cutting, shifting cultivation and agricultural mismanagement of soil and water resources. It is nevertheless acknowledged that 233 million hectares of land is available at present for cultivation before 2025 but these are, in most case, marginal lands. In recognition of the severity of the problem, the World Bank, FAO and partner institutions are supporting the implementation of national Soil Fertility Initiatives (SFI) action programmes as a means of resolving the situation in many African countries.
21. Desertification is also a serious problem in the region. Records show that 319 million hectares of Africa are vulnerable to desertification due to sand movement, deforestation and erratic rainfall patterns. An FAO/UNEP assessment of land degradation in the region reveals that large areas of countries north of the equator suffer from serious desertification problems. The desert is said to be moving at an annual rate of 5 kms in the semi-arid zones of West Africa while 37 million hectares of forest and woodland are disappearing each year. It would be desirable for governments to put in place water harvesting and supplementary irrigation measures, both in arid and semi-arid countries to realise the tremendous potential for increased food production and reduce the vulnerability of production systems in these parts of the region.
b) Fresh water resources
22. The role of water is critical in the attainment of food security. The intensive agronomic technology that has allowed steady increases in world food production, based on high-yielding crop varieties, coupled with the application of fertilisers and effective means of pest-control, is largely dependent on irrigation to secure and control soil moisture in the face of insufficient and unreliable rainfall. Sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the central Congo basin, is the driest continent (apart from Australia) and suffers from the most unstable rainfall regime. Water development in its various forms, from water harvesting to modern piped irrigation is therefore essential in the fight against hunger and poverty. Irrigation for staple foods, especially rice, could produce substantial increases. However, this can only succeed within favourable policy context. Lack of investment in irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a major hindrance to food security.
23. A series of international conferences including the Sixth Session of the Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD-6) and the 2nd World Water Forum have brought to the fore the increasing conflict between "Water for Food and Rural Development" and "Water for Nature". Competition for scarce water resources, particularly where these cross international boundaries is often a source of dispute, and many lead to conflicts that could affect the viable economic role that fresh water play in inland fisheries, navigation and hydro-electric power as well as in the maintenance of bio-diversity and the moderation of extreme local weather conditions .
24. It should also be underlined that many cities in Africa are surrounded by green belts of highly productive horticulture. Recent years have witnessed rapid growth in peri-urban agriculture that, in some countries, is now supplying up to 40% of all fruits and vegetables consumed in the cities. The rise of peri-urban irrigated agriculture needs to be assisted, especially in the areas of health and environmental issues. With this growth of peri-urban agriculture, and rising demands on water, growers in countries where water is scarce, are increasingly turning to untreated or partially treated effluents for vegetable production. This is a great concern in view of serious health hazards and negative impact on the environment. Government intervention would be necessary to guarantee the safety of consumers.
25. Poor drainage remains another constraint in achieving a high level of food production potentials. A related problem here is salinity. Saline soils cover 70 millions hectares or about 2 per cent of the total area of Africa. Although the areas affected are relatively small a main danger of secondary salinisation exists on badly irrigated land. This is a particular hazard with irrigation development in the Sudano-Sahelian region and in the sub-humid and semi-arid southern Africa region.
26. The last 15 years have seen a large number of food emergency operations arising from natural or human-induced factors in the region. Economic losses from conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa amount to almost 30 per cent of agricultural output in affected countries since 1970. Conflicts and emergencies have had tremendous damaging effects on farmers' welfare as well as their assets, and on local food production and supplies. Governments that are already economically weak must divert scarce resources to alleviate the effects of natural and man-made disasters - resources that could go into producing food to feed the poor and hungry.
a) Man-made emergencies
27. Conflicts and their aftermath, protracted civil wars in particular have continued to cause suffering for millions of people in Africa. In Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra-Leone the displacement of millions of rural people continues. These displaced persons are heavily dependent on international food aid owing to the constant disruption of domestic food production activities. Malnutrition and other food related diseases are prevalent . Fighting is still continuing in Burundi, Liberia, Sudan and Uganda. Landmines have become a serious threat to life in rural communities, both during and after man-made conflicts, seriously disrupting farming activities.
b) Natural disasters
28. Natural disasters have also adversely hampered efforts to improve the food security situation in many countries in the region. The severe drought, which began in 1999 and continued into 2000, devastated crops and livestock across Eastern Africa, leaving millions of people in desperate need of food assistance. In Ethiopia and Kenya, where large numbers of livestock were lost, people died of starvation, while Eritrea, Somalia, the Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania also felt the impact of the drought. Despite early warnings from FAO's Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS), initial international response to the impending food emergency was slow and mass starvation was only narrowly averted.
29. In Southern Africa, unprecedented floods in February and March 2000 struck central and southern Mozambique seriously damaging or destroying infrastructures and causing crop and livestock losses. Two major cyclones and a tropical storm pounded Madagascar in early 2000, causing serious flooding and loss of life, the displacement of more than 10,000 people and extensive damage to the country's infrastructure. In all, 1.14 million hectares of crops were affected, with an estimated 200,000 hectares totally lost to floods in addition to severe damages caused to export crops of coffee, vanilla and cloves.
30. Timely international assistance can often avert mass starvation and help mitigate the worst economic effects. But beyond emergency relief operations, further assistance is needed for rehabilitation and reconstruction. Emergency efforts should therefore be linked to longer-term development goals. In this connection, FAO provides policy and strategy support for recovery and development programmes in the food and agricultural sectors as a result of human-induced emergencies or natural disasters. The assistance is geared towards bringing the need for relief to an end, and enabling development to proceed. It includes activities that help to make development sustainable by preventing and preparing for the possibility of further disasters and emergencies.
c) Transboundary pests and diseases
31. There has been particularly high frequency in the region of the incidence of pests of crops and stored products as well as of diseases of livestock in recent years. Many of these move fast over long distances, threatening food security and incomes, disrupting trade and in some cases, becoming a hazard to human health. Pests of stored products such as the Large Grain Borer, which is spreading rapidly throughout East and Southern Africa following its accidental introduction, are undermining the food needs of large numbers of farmers who grow maize as a staple food. Other serious threats to food security in the region as a whole include the African Swine Fever (West Africa); the persistence of Rinderpest in the Horn of Africa (Somalia and Sudan); and the recent problems caused by the Rift Valley Fever in the Horn of Africa as well as the Foot and Mouth Disease (Zimbabwe) and the Mad Cow Disease.
32. To reverse these alarming trends, the OAU Heads of State and Government meeting in Lusaka in July 2001, proposed the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). The FAO Conference has expressed support for this initiative and it would be implemented mainly through the Programme Against African Trypanosomiasis (PAAT), the joint FAO/IAEA/OAU/WHO alliance.
33. Today, HIV/AIDS epidemic presents a major threat to food security, agricultural production and the health and general well being of many rural societies. Among the 36 million people infected, 24.5 million are estimated to be in Sub-Saharan Africa. The devastating effects of this disease on agricultural production has been well documented. UNAIDS and selected African countries are undertaking joint activities, including integrated prevention and mitigation programmes that will help spread information on HIV/AIDS vulnerability and risk reduction in order to promote people's well being and sustainable human development.
34. Although the past half-century has seen tremendous progress in agricultural technology and productivity, access to the conventional technologies is still beyond the means of many farmers in Africa, as is evidenced by the very low levels of fertiliser utilisation in Africa (some 19 kg per ha per year) compared to 100 kg/ha in East Asia and 230 kg/ha in Western Europe. Science-based agricultural technologies developed through agricultural research are essential not only to increasing productivity, but also for the development of post-harvest strategies such as storage, processing, packaging, labelling, food quality control, applied nutrition knowledge, and food transportation for value-added. However, in Africa, problems of access stem from the limited development of input marketing and credit systems, high costs of transport (poor roads and small volumes of trade) and, in the case of subsistence farmers, a sheer lack of income with which to acquire the needed inputs.
35. African governments would need to facilitate investment in post-harvest technologies and rural infrastructures with assistance from the private sector, foreign donors and other financial institutions involved in international development assistance. This would link producers to the cities in which an increasing proportion of consumers live. Appropriate social services will also enable rural people to respond physically and mentally to new development opportunities.
36. The principle of the den Bosch Declaration (FAO, 1991), which insisted on the need for environmental protection in the use of technology and the objectives embodied in Agenda 21 of UNCED will only be realised if technology and policy are accompanied by participation, equity and dialogue, enabling institutional mechanisms, empowerment of the poor and incentives. These will be the pathways towards environmentally sound agriculture and food security. Without them, the important technology and policy tools available will not have the desired positive and lasting effects.
37. Meeting in Doha, Qatar, and two years after the failure of Seattle, the Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reached an agreement to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Doha agreement will have important implications for the ongoing agricultural negotiations, as the new round will cover a broader range of topics, including some implementation issues. The Ministers also made a commitment to provide special and differential treatment for developing countries as well as recognised the needs and delivery of technical assistance to them.
38. While the Uruguay Round Agreement initiated the process of reform in world agriculture and trade, many outstanding issues remain, which would be addressed during the new negotiations. For developing countries like Africa, one key issue is how to ensure that trade liberalisation in food and agriculture contributes to the development of their agriculture, which is essential for ensuring food security and sustainable use of natural resources. The developing countries recognise that the globalisation of international trade in agriculture generates aggregate welfare gains, but are concerned that these gains may not be distributed equitably unless measures are taken to assist them in developing their agriculture and trade.
39. Food safety is inherent to the concept of food security and food safety issues are rarely far from the minds of both the public and the food industry. The disasters of the foot and mouth disease, the impact and the duration of the dioxin crisis of 1999, the BSE disease outbreaks have weakened people's confidence in the safety of food offered to consumers across the globe. Food for human consumption must remain a product with specific value and unique quality properties, including among others, wholesomeness, functionality, safety, and nutritional value.
40. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, jointly sponsored by FAO and WHO, establishes and regularly updates maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides and veterinary drugs, and maximum levels for contaminants and toxins. It is currently developing principles for the risk analysis of foods derived from modern biotechnology and guidelines for the safety assessment of foods derived from DNA-Recombinant Plants. It has also established Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods, including livestock production. The strategic framework adopted in this connection places greater emphasis on food safety issues in developing countries, including Africa. The priorities in the region should therefore be to encourage more farmers to adopt integrated farm management as a realistic way forward as well as to build public awareness of the risks involved in food production, post-harvest management, food processing and preservation, food quality and the environment.
41. All the issues, which have been reviewed above, have a fundamental bearing on Africa's capacity to meet the food needs of its peoples and to maintain its natural resources in good conditions for future generations. One of the consequences of the WFS is that there has been intense consideration in recent years of the implications of the Right to Food, which is a recognised human right under international law, as set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
42. African governments should realise that the right to food entails individual rights and government obligations to respect, protect and fulfil this right in an accountable and transparent manner. The UN Development Assistance Framework has adopted a rights-based approach for the UN system country teams, of which the right to food is an essential component. A focus on the right to food was also an essential part of the Strategy for Long Term Food Security in the Horn of Africa, adopted by a Task Force chaired by the Director-General of FAO.
43. Many of the challenges facing agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Africa have global dimensions. Much is being done within current capacities by governments in the region and the international community, including FAO, towards the implementation of the WFS Commitments, which are still relevant and consistent with the new challenges. There remains however, much room for a strong political, social and economic commitment for improving responses to the challenge. The global event, World Food Summit: five years later will provide an opportunity to governments, the international community and civil society to reaffirm their commitment to the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action. But what is required is to move beyond these broad commitments and for member countries to state in specific terms how each intends to work in partnership with other stakeholders to step-up time-bound action in support of hunger and poverty eradication, focusing on those aspects of the Plan which have the most direct and immediate impact on hunger to ensure that the Summit goal is achieved by 2015.
44. Most African countries have repeatedly declared their dedication to the eradication of poverty. Eliminating hunger is a vital first step. Unfortunately, progress in reducing hunger and rural poverty has stalled in Africa. In the 1990s, it fell to less than one third of the rate needed to meet the United Nations commitment to halve world poverty by 2015. Although three quarters of Africa's population live and work in rural areas, aid to agriculture, their main source of income has fallen by two thirds. It is acknowledged that sustainable agricultural development, including the livestock sector and the essential contributions of forests and fisheries is of the utmost importance for world food security, both to ensure growing supplies at affordable prices and as the main source of progress for the rural poor.
45. An in-depth analysis carried out at the request of the Committee on World Food Security on the theme "Application of appropriate agricultural technology and practices and their impact on food security and the eradication of poverty: lessons learnt from selected Community-based experiences" represented success stories on practical lessons learnt in providing an enabling policy environment for the adoption of innovative approaches in food security and poverty alleviation. Two of such success stories were identified in the Africa Region. The small scale irrigation development under the Special Programme for Food security in Burkina Faso was an integrated approach focussing on promoting appropriate technologies and farming practices, based on improved water use and management systems as an entry point.
46. The "Community-based seed multiplication in Zambia" used the supply of early maturing and drought resistant seeds as an entry point to address low productivity and vulnerability to droughts as well as to tackle food insecurity and poverty. These small-scale projects provided a comprehensive range of technical support, participatory approach to institution development and a number of useful lessons for using community-based methods to promote the adoption of new technologies to increase agricultural productivity and farmers' income. These useful experiences should be shared with other countries through extended South-South Cooperation arrangements.
47. Many countries need to reverse the recent neglect of investment in agriculture and rural development and mobilise sufficient investment resources to support sustainable food security and diversified rural development. In fact, agriculture is not only the principal economic sector in terms of national income, but also most especially in terms of employment and exports in most African countries. Moreover, the majority of the people (estimated at 70 percent in Africa) live in rural areas and earn their livelihoods in the agricultural sector directly as farmers and agricultural labourers or from employment in the off-farm rural sector.
48. Even though the role of governments in economic activity (including agriculture) has been drastically scaled down over a decade in Africa because of structural reforms, government expenditure remains an indispensable element in promoting agricultural development. Public infrastructure, transfer of knowledge through agricultural research and extension, services in facilitating storage, transport, marketing are examples of expenditures that continue to be required from the public sector, often increasingly in a decentralised fashion and in partnership with the private sector and civil society.
49. The level of needed resources mobilisation for food and agriculture is of course, dependent on the targets to be achieved. In this context, FAO over five years, has mobilised $230 million for the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). To be effective and achieve its goal in around 80 LIFDCs the programme requires an annual financing of about $1.4 billion including $500 million from the FAO SPFS TRUST FUND, $67 million from the recipient countries, $134 million from bilateral donors, and $670 million from multilateral financing institutions, which is equivalent to about $ 17 million per country.
50. It must be recalled that a significant share of public investment in the rural sector of developing countries has been funded by official development finance (ODF). International assistance to agriculture in developing countries rose from around US$ 12 billion per year in the early 1980s to nearly US$16 billion in 1988. It has since declined to under US$10 billion annually by 1994. According to World Agriculture Towards 2010 (WAT2010) scenario the annual average of incremental gross investment required in agriculture to meet both food security targets and other development goals is estimated at US$8.9 billion for Sub-Sahara Africa with 3.4 billion to be generated by the private sector, 1.6 billion from public domestic investment and US$3.9 billion from official development finance (ODF).
51. Five years after the World Food Summit, many issues pertaining to food security have attained new visibility in Africa. Potentials for conflicts and social upheavals have increased. They have brought to the fore numerous ethical issues that are central to food security, sustainable rural development and natural resources management as well as the linkages among their respective effects. Some emerged with increased force over the last five years and thus required specific treatment in any examination of the global environment within which countries, the international community, NGOs and other civil society organisations are addressing the problems of implementing the WFS Plan of Action and the related Commitments. The integration of all the dimensions in a holistic approach to the food security issue demands reflection, dialogue among development partners and concrete interventions at the field level to ensure that action effectively takes place to correct current trends.
52. The goal of eradicating hunger is achievable but its realisation will require sustained policy commitment and mobilisation of resources. Consequently, African governments, and the international community must demonstrate the political will to provide timely, appropriate and adequate relief interventions, especially to women, children, old people and other socially disadvantaged groups during periods of conflict, civil strife and wars that are unfortunately becoming rampant in Sub-Saharan Africa. But they must make sure that emergency interventions shift progressively and as early as possible into post-crisis rehabilitation leading to improved resilience of households and rural economies for development to take hold. Above all, it behoves governments in the region to make the pursuit of peace, justice, good governance and the rule of law the hallmark of their rule. This will help to reduce civil wars and social upheavals, which disrupt and retard their laudable efforts towards achieving food security and enhancing the general well being of their peoples.