Food Security summit sees increased commitment to boost food supplies

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 20th November 2009

The three-day World Summit on Food Security ended on Wednesday after the international community committed to invest more in agriculture.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf, who hosted the event, said the Summit marked “an important step towards the achievement of our common objective – a world free from hunger”. However, he declared “to my regret the official Declaration adopted by the Summit this past Monday contains neither measurable targets nor specific deadlines which would have made it easier to monitor implementation…”

FAO had proposed setting a target of 2025 for the total eradication of hunger from the face of the earth and increasing Official Development Assistance to agriculture to $44 billion per year for investment in developing-country agriculture and rural infrastructure.

Important commitments

Despite this, the Summit still produced four important commitments, Diouf maintained.

1. A firm pledge to renew efforts to achieve the First Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015, and eradicating hunger from the world at the earliest date.

2. A pledge to improve international coordination and the governance of food security through a profound reform of FAO’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which would become a central component of the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.

3. A promise to reverse the downward trend in domestic and international funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in developing countries and significantly increase their share in public development aid.

4. A decision to promote new investments in agricultural production and productivity in developing countries in order to reduce poverty and achieve food security for all.

“I am convinced that together we can eradicate hunger from our planet,” Diouf declared. “But we must move from words to actions.”

Concern about the issue of food security reached fever pitch last year as food commodity prices soared on the back of supply side concerns. Such fears led speculators to drive prices higher at remarkable speed. While prices have since fallen, the FAO remains wary about the prospect of a similar event occurring in the not-too-distant future.
Sixty Heads of State and Government and 191 Ministers from 182 countries and the European Community attended the Summit. Personalities included Pope Benedict XVI who said in his address the rules governing international trade should be separated from “the logic of profit viewed as an end in itself”.