G8 countries show total lack of political will to address the global food crisis

(Rome, 18 November 2009) The blatant absence of the heads of states of the

G8 countries in the World Food Summit, held in Rome from 16 to 18th of

November was one of the key causes of the total failure of this summit.

There were no concrete measures taken to eradicate hunger, to stop food

speculation or to stop the expansion of agrofuels. There were no measures

to stop the devastating effects of corporate agriculture or to support

domestic peasant based food production.

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. The absence of the G8 heads of state shows an

enormous lack of responsibility to resolve this deepening hunger crisis.

La Via Campesina demands increasing investment in public policies based on

food sovereignty that promotes small scale sustainable farming and food

production. Priority should be given to support those who produce food in a

sustainable way for the local communities instead of favoring export crops,

agrofuels or technologies such as GMOs pushed by transnational corporations.

Agriculture should be taken out of any free trade agreement in order to

enable countries to effectively protect their free domestic food production.

La Via Campesina strongly supports the reformed FAO Committee on World Food

Security (CFS). Contrary to the mechanisms set up outside the UN system, it

at least respects the basic rule of democracy, the principle of “one country

one vote” and gives a new space to Civil Society. All funds made available

to support solutions for the food crisis should be allocated under the

responsibility of the renewed CFS. But instead giving their full support to

the reformed CFS, the G8 countries are opting to set up a trust fund under

the World Bank. A proposal from the World Bank suggests that the use of

these funds be decided by a donor committee composed of the donor countries,

the coordinator of the High Level Task Force and the managing director of

the World Bank. In practice this means that two bureaucrats along the donor

countries will decide where the money goes. This is a scandalous lack of

transparency and democracy and totally opposite to the rethoric of the High

Level Task Force and the World Bank on these issues.

In general the policies of the World Bank, together with the WTO and the

IMF, have contributed in a major way to the destruction of food security

at a global level. We cannot expect these institutions to be the ones that

will

put forward the solutions.

La Via Campesina holds that it is time that these institutions recognize

their enormous failures and leave the task to others. La Via Campesina and

many other social movements and NGOs have are proposing solutions and will

be actors in this crucial process of change. We demand that our governments

allow our full participation in the definition of policies and we expect

their full support for this process. They must commit themselves to

implement effective policies to eradicate hunger in our societies as quickly

as possible.

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