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UN hunger summit failed for lack of leaders, say agricultural groups

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-18

The absence of leaders from the world's wealthiest states undermined the UN Hunger Summit, rendering it a "total failure" that did nothing to help resolve the current hunger crisis, a farmers' movement said on Wednesday.

AFP - The just-ended UN Hunger Summit was a "total failure" in the absence of leaders from rich countries and without a firm agenda for addressing the global food crisis, a small farmers movement said Wednesday.
   
"The blatant absence of the heads of state of the G8 countries... was one of the key causes of the total failure of this summit," La Via Campesina said in a statement, adding that it showed "an enormous lack of responsibility to resolve this deepening hunger crisis."
   
"There were no measures to stop the devastating effects of corporate agriculture or to support domestic peasant-based food production," said the coalition of groups advocating family farm-based sustainable agriculture.
   
"The summit did not take up the challenge of a radical, desperately needed change in food and agricultural policies, guaranteeing the access and control of the peasants and small-scale farmers over production resources through agrarian reform," it added.
   
The three-day summit hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation came under fire from the beginning after it released a final declaration during the opening session on Monday.
   
Some 60 heads of state and government attended the three-day summit, but Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the only leader of a Group of Eight nation to appear.
   
The summit came under fire for failing to generate pledges of new funding for agriculture, or including specific targets or timelines in its final declaration.
   
"There were no concrete measures taken to eradicate hunger, to stop food speculation or to stop the expansion of agrofuels," La Via Campesina said.
   
The statement urged: "Priority should be given to support those who produce food in a sustainable way for the local communities instead of favouring export crops, agrofuels or technologies such as GMOs (genetically modified organisms) pushed by transnational corporations."
   
La Via Campesina was among the leading participants in a forum of peasant farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and civil society groups held alongside the FAO summit.
   
They praised the summit declaration's emphasis on reforming the Committee on World Food Security, a policy review forum within the UN system, but voiced scepticism over whether small farmers will gain a greater say in global agricultural policy.
   

 

Date created : 2009-11-18

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