jeudi 19 juin 2008

Conference on Food crisis : challenges and prospect.

18th june 2008 18h30

Moderator: Mrs. C. Mahon, Research Associate, Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Speakers: Mr. C. Golay, Coordinator of the Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Mr. J. Feyder, Ambassador of Luxembourg
Mr. J. Ziegler, Member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Mr. C. Golay:

In the 1974, the first World Conference took place in Rome, the second took place in 1996, and in 2002 it was the World Summit Plus Five.
Actually we are looking for the causes of this structural crisis, for the first time.
Between february 2007 and february 2008, prices of rice, soya and wheat rised. Riots appeared, which can be explained by many causes:
- food is imported: the first people touched are in the cities.
- In the South, 60-70% of the budget is for food. If the prices increase all the budget is for food.
- Climate change
- Desertification
- Agrofuel
- Price of fuel
- High and increasing demand in India, China

Once the price is high, speculation and export restrictions (Egypt, China...) appear.

20% of the people who are hungry have no access to land or water
10% of the people who are hungry are nomades
20% of the people who are hungry are living in urban areas
50% = the people who are hungry

Food crisis is not caused by armed conflicts or natural catastrophes, but by manmade causes: 90% of the people who are hungry are living in peace.

Unger is in fact exclusion and discrimination, like in Haïti where there is no political plan for agriculture in the countryside.

A solution consists in reinvesting in local production to combat structural causes of hunger.

The last Food Summit (3-5th june 2008) in Rome was concluded by a weak declaration full of contradictory things like more production and more free trade.

Mr. J. Feyder:

The situation is very complex. There are short and long term causes and solutions.
Between 1996 and 2002 price of cotton and rice decreased, and so the buying power of the producers decreased. Those countries are in the South.
The huge volatility of prices is the main problem.
Unfortunately, hunger is not new, but the number of persons concerned increases. (850 millions of persons).
Some of the main causes of this crisis is the underinvestment in agriculture. Net exporters became net importers because the governement gave priority to the export. The crisis we actually know is the result of the failures and errors of yesterday.

In the long run, solution concerns productivity gap. The rates of productivity (for 1 ton produced in the South, 100 tons are produced in the North). Developing countries have to give priority to the agricultural production in a family scale. We also need fair and sustainable prices for producers.

The European organization of agriculture was thought so that Europe was able to produce what it needs.

The need for a better cooperation between all the UN organizations concerned and between all the UN organizations concerned and the Breton Woods organization is important to reach our goal.

Mr. J. Ziegler:

Right to food is a right to quality and quantity for physical and mental alimentation.

The actual crisis is an epiphenomenal event because the normality of hunger was silent.

The is enough food for all the population, so we are testimonying assassinations.

Burning alimentation for mobility of people in the Nirth is a crime against humanity. Moreover, speculation is possible thanks to favorable reglementations.

Absurdity of the policy of of the World Economic Forum: exporting agricole items so they have to import their food. Those countries become vulnerable with regard to the food price changes.

A particular attention must be given to the dumpin on imports by developed countries.

Suzanne Roset.

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