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A Daily Report from the World Summit on Food Security
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Volume 150 Number 7 - Saturday, 21 November 2009
16-18 NOVEMBER 2009

The World Summit on Food Security took place from 16-18 November 2009 at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Summit brought together over 4,700 delegates from 180 countries, including 60 Heads of State and Government as well as representatives of governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and the media. Delegates met throughout the Summit both for a High-Level Segment and for a series of four round tables, which addressed the following topics: minimizing the negative impact of the food, economic and financial crises on world food security; implementation of the reform of global governance of food security; climate change adaptation and mitigation: challenges for agriculture and food security; and measures to enhance global food security, including rural development, smallholder farmers and trade considerations.

Following the 136th Session of the FAO Council, held from 15-19 June 2009 in Rome, Italy, an Open-Ended Working Group was established to decide on the necessary arrangements for the Summit. The Open-Ended Working Group also negotiated the text for the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security, which delegates to the Summit adopted by acclamation on the Summit’s opening day.

The outcomes of the Summit include a Report of the World Summit on Food Security and a Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security. The Declaration outlines strategic objectives, commitments and actions, and establishes the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security.


World Food Summit: The World Food Summit took place from 13-17 November 1996 in Rome, Italy. It was held in response to the continued existence of widespread under-nutrition and the growing concern about the capacity of agricultural production to meet future food needs. The 1996 Summit brought together close to 10,000 participants and resulted in the adoption of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action. The Rome Declaration sets forth seven commitments that lay the basis for achieving sustainable food security for all, while the Plan of Action spells out the relevant objectives and actions for the practical implementation of these commitments. The Summit also formulated the objective of achieving food security for all through an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing by half the number of undernourished people by 2015.

World Food Summit: Five Years Later: This Summit took place in Rome, Italy, from 10-13 June 2002, and renewed the commitment made at the 1996 Summit. Delegates called on all States to reinforce their efforts and act as an international alliance against hunger.

First FAO Technical Consultation on Bioenergy and Food Security: Specialists from around the world gathered from 16-18 April 2007 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, to discuss bioenergy production and the related opportunities and risks for food security and the environment. Participants agreed that if environmental and food security concerns are taken into account, governments can use bioenergy as a positive force for rural development. The meeting recommended that the FAO International Bioenergy Platform draft a set of guidelines for governments and potential investors for dealing with the biofuels industry.

Semi-annual meeting between UN agency heads and UN Secretary-General: During the semi-annual meeting between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN agency heads on 28-29 April 2008, Ban announced plans to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the global food crisis. A High-Level Task Force (HLTF) on the Global Food Security Crisis was created, coordinated by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes and UN System Avian and Human Influenza Coordinator David Nabarro. The HLTF, which is chaired by Ban and includes the heads of the World Bank, the IMF, the World Food Programme, the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the World Trade Organization, developed an action plan for discussion at the 2008 High-Level Conference on World Food Security.

Sixteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-16): CSD-16 was held from 5-16 May 2008 in New York, US, to review the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. Participants highlighted the connections between the session’s thematic agenda and both the current food crisis and climate change. CSD-16 identified key drivers of increasing food prices, including land degradation, high energy costs, climate change, poor harvests, speculation in agricultural commodities, inequitable terms of trade, decline of investments in agricultural development and increased production of biofuels from food crops.

ECOSOC’s Special meeting on the Global Food Crisis: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a Special Meeting on the Global Food Crisis from 20-22 May 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Participants agreed on short-term priorities, including immediate actions by donors and governments to allow farmers to meet production demands. They also identified medium- and long-term measures to tackle the food crisis, including a re-examination of the amount of official development aid dedicated to agriculture.

High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy: Between 3-5 June 2008, over 4,700 delegates from 183 countries met in Rome, Italy, for the High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy. They reaffirmed the conclusions of the 1996 World Food Summit and the objective, confirmed by the World Food Summit: Five Years Later, of achieving food security for all, with an immediate view to reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than 2015. They also reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The conference’s outcomes included a Declaration, which was finalized after lengthy negotiations. It outlined priorities and proposed activities for immediate and short-term measures, medium- and long-term measures, and monitoring and review.

2008 G8 Summit: Participants to the 2008 G8 Summit, held in Toyako, Japan between 25-27 June 2008, expressed concern regarding the food emergency and, in a Statement on Global Food Security, announced measures to address and act on the crisis’ root causes. They agreed to work with the international community to form a global partnership on agriculture and food, involving all relevant actors, including developing country governments, the private sector, civil society, donors and international institutions. They also noted their commitment to thoroughly reform the FAO to enhance its effectiveness in helping to ensure food security for all.

Thirty-fifth (Special) Session of the FAO Conference: At this Special Session, convened in Rome, Italy, from 18-21 November 2008, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf proposed convening a World Summit of Heads of State and Government on Food Security in 2009, back-to-back with the Thirty-sixth Session of the FAO Conference. The Summit’s aim would be to reach a broad consensus for the rapid and total eradication of hunger from the planet.

High Level Meeting on Food Security for All: This meeting was held in Madrid, Spain, on 26-27 January 2009 to: accelerate progress in meeting the MDG on extreme poverty and hunger; address the effects of price fluctuations in vulnerable populations; and review progress achieved following the 2008 High-Level Conference on World Food Security. Participants from 126 countries noted their support of the HLTF on the Global Food Security Crisis and agreed on the importance of an inclusive and broad process of consultation on options leading to the establishment of a global partnership for agriculture, food security and nutrition.

CSD-17: Held from 4-15 May 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York, this meeting took decisions on the basis of discussions at CSD-16. They emphasized, inter alia, the urgent need to address food security and agricultural development, and note the relevant decisions of various fora on this issue, as well as on trade. They included references to the “right to adequate food” and eradication of poverty in rural areas. They called for establishing a new global partnership on agriculture and food security and for a green revolution boosting agricultural productivity, food production and food security.

2009 G8 Summit: At the G8 Summit held in L’Aquila, Italy, 8-10 July 2009, leaders of the G8 and 34 States and international organizations and agencies approved a Joint Statement on Global Food Security (“L’Aquila Food Security Initiative”). The Statement welcomed commitments made by countries represented at L’Aquila towards mobilizing US$20 billion over three years through a coordinated, comprehensive strategy focused on sustainable agricultural development, while keeping a strong commitment to ensure adequate emergency food aid assistance. The strategy addresses, inter alia, agricultural and rural development, sustained and predictable funding, and removal of food export restrictions or extraordinary taxes, especially for food purchased for humanitarian purposes. Focusing on improved global governance for food security, the Statement pledged to advance the implementation of the Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security by the end of 2009.


High-Level Expert Forum: How to Feed the World in 2050: Over 300 international specialists met in Rome, Italy, from 12-13 October 2009 to address the challenge of meeting global demand for food up to 2050, with a view to contributing to the debate at the ensuing World Summit on Food Security. These specialists highlighted that global demand for food, feed and fibre is projected to increase by some 70% in the first half of this century. They noted that agriculture in developing countries would require net investments of US$83 billion annually (an increase of approximately 50%) if there is to be sufficient food to feed a projected population of 9.1 billion people in 2050. Experts addressed the challenges of climate change, demand for biofuels, and competing demands for land and water, and discussed appropriate investment and policy options to address food security over the next forty years.

Thirty-fifth Session of the Committee for World Food Security: Established as a result of the food crisis of the 1970s and upon the recommendation of the 1974 World Food Conference, the Committee for World Food Security (CFS) is the UN’s forum for reviewing and following up on policies concerning world food security. At its thirty-fifth session, held in Rome, Italy, from 14-17 October 2009, CFS members agreed on wide-ranging reforms that would make the CFS the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform dealing with food security and nutrition, and a central component of the evolving Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition. The CFS reforms are designed to focus the Committee’s vision and role on the global coordination of efforts to eliminate hunger and ensure food security for all.

Pre-Summit and connected events: Three special events preceded the World Summit on Food Security: a civil society forum for NGOs, civil society organizations and farmers’ organizations held in Rome, Italy, between 14-16 November 2009; a private sector forum held in Milan, Italy, on 12-13 November 2009; and a parliamentary meeting of national parliaments, held in Rome, Italy, on 13 November 2009. Additionally, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held the Second NAM First Ladies Summit on Sunday 15 November 2009, in the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.



The World Summit on Food Security (the Summit) opened in Rome on 16 November 2009. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General, Jacques Diouf, welcomed delegates to the Summit and expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for providing funding to host the Summit. Renato Schifani, President of the Italian Senate, emphasized that food and water access are universal rights, and encouraged renewed multilateralism to eliminate hunger and inequality. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there can be no food security without climate security and emphasized the importance of the upcoming Copenhagen climate negotiations and of agreement on a legally-binding climate treaty. Mayor Giovanni Alemanno, said Rome was proud to host the Summit.

Diouf warned that international interest in the issue of hunger is waning, as indicated by the absence of some key world leaders at the Summit. He called for greater investment in agriculture to overcome hunger. He expressed hope that the reformed FAO Committee for World Food Security (CFS) will serve as the foremost international platform for effectively addressing food security.

Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy and Chair of the Summit, stressed the need to turn words into deeds. Delegates elected as Summit Vice-Chairs: Mahaman Moussa (Niger); Li Zhengdong (China); Eva Kjer Hansen (Denmark); Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Chile); Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid (Iraq); Alonzo Fulgham (US); and David Carter (New Zealand). Delegates adopted the Agenda (WSFS 2009/1 Rev.1) and the Timetable (WSFS 2009/INF/1 Rev.1).

Mohammad Saeed Nouri-Naeeni, Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group, presented the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security, which delegates adopted by acclamation.

In a keynote address during the mid-morning, His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI urged world leaders to cultivate public consciousness on the right to food and water for all without discrimination, emphasizing the FAO´s important role in highlighting these rights. Recognizing different stages or development, he called for a relationship of parity among countries to ensure that each county acts as a protagonist.


The Declaration contains an introduction and two sections on: Strategic Objectives; and Commitments and Actions. It opens with a commitment by the Heads of State and Government and their representatives to take urgent action to eradicate hunger from the world.

In the Introduction, the Declaration notes that the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty now exceeds 1 billion, and that to feed a world population expected to surpass 9 billion in 2050, agricultural output will have to increase by 70%.

In the section on Strategic Objectives, the Declaration sets a number of objectives, to:

Ensure urgent national, regional and global action to fully realize the target of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 and the 1996 World Food Summit goal, namely to reduce the proportion and the number of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition by half by 2015.

Work within the Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, building on existing structures to enhance governance and cooperation, and promote better coordination at global, regional and national levels. Implement the reform of the CFS, which is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for committed stakeholders and for advancing the Global Partnership.

Reverse the decline in funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in developing countries, and promote new investment.

Face the challenges of climate change to food security and the need for adaptation and mitigation in agriculture.

The Declaration states that to achieve these strategic objectives, commitments and actions will be based on the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. The section on Commitments and Actions outlines these principles as follows (the five Principles are written in bold, followed by a brief summary of the text that follows each principle in the Declaration):

Invest in country-owned plans aimed at channeling resources to well-designed and results-based programmes and partnerships. Food security challenges must be nationally articulated and built on consultation with all key stakeholders.

Foster strategic coordination at national, regional and global levels to improve governance, promote better allocation of resources, avoid duplication of efforts and identify response gaps. The important role of the CFS is supported, particularly in areas of coordination at the global level, policy convergence, and support and advice to countries and regions, as well as the creation of a High-Level Panel of Experts, whose goal is to ensure the regular delivery of advice based on scientific evidence.

Strive for a comprehensive twin-track approach to food security that consists of 1) direct action to immediately tackle hunger for the most vulnerable, and 2) medium- and long-term sustainable agricultural, food security, nutrition and rural development programmes to eliminate the root causes of hunger and poverty, including through the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. The Declaration affirms the right of all to access safe, sufficient and nutritious food. Steps will be taken to enable farmers, particularly women and smallholder farmers from countries most vulnerable to climate change, to adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts through appropriate technologies and practices that improve the resilience of farming systems.

Ensure a strong role for the multilateral system by sustained improvements in efficiency, responsiveness, coordination and effectiveness of multilateral institutions. The Declaration encourages intensified coordination among all UN agencies, especially FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and international financial institutions. The important work undertaken by the UN High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis (HLTF) is recognized.

Ensure sustained and substantial commitment by all partners to investment in agriculture and food security and nutrition, with provision of necessary resources in a timely and reliable fashion, aimed at multi-year plans and programmes. The Declaration reaffirms all official development assistance (ODA) commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% of gross national product for ODA to developing countries by 2015. It welcomes the commitments of the L’Aquila Joint Statement on Global Food Security in July 2009, including those towards a goal of mobilizing US$20 billion over three years.

For the full text of the Declaration, refer to


Following the inaugural ceremony, and throughout the remainder of the Summit, 148 country and organization representatives made statements in the plenary. These included 42 Heads of State and Government; 81 ministers and ministerial-level representatives; 12 ambassadorial and other country representatives; and nine representatives from various organizations and agencies. The President of the European Commission (EC) and the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union (EU), also spoke.

Speakers: The following countries were represented by heads of State and Government: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; Egypt; Brazil; Qatar; Chile; Slovenia; Guyana; Mali; Seychelles; Malawi; Angola; Bangladesh; Albania; Zambia; the United Republic of Tanzania; Suriname; Swaziland; San Marino; Burundi; Central African Republic; Chad; Gabon; Mozambique; Comoros; Zimbabwe; Guinea-Bissau; the Republic of Congo; Paraguay; Sierra Leone; Turkey; Morocco; Cook Islands; Armenia; Andorra; Fiji; Somalia;

Malaysia; Cambodia; Turkmenistan; Cameroon; Indonesia; China; and South Africa.

The following countries were represented by ministers and ministerial-level representatives: Spain; the Russian Federation; India; France; Germany; Norway; Cuba; Mauritania; Saudi Arabia; Algeria; the Gambia; Kuwait; Nigeria; Austria; United Arab Emirates; Italy; Jordan; Senegal; Bahrain; Rwanda; Kyrgyzstan; Cape Verde; Iceland; Bhutan; Uganda; Mongolia; Moldova; Nambia; Lesotho; Niue; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Nepal; Ghana; the Netherlands; Islamic Republic of Iran; Argentina; Laos; Viet Nam; Serbia; Barbados; Haiti; The Philippines; Guatemala; Yemen; El Salvador; Switzerland; Denmark; Portugal; Syria; Kenya; the Republic of Korea; Pakistan; Uruguay; Iraq; Canada; Sudan; Myanmar; Ireland; Oman; Madagascar; Finland; Thailand; Botswana; Trinidad and Tobago; Djibouti; Panama; Ecuador; Samoa; Israel; Luxembourg; Slovakia; Saint Kitts & Nevis; Solomon Islands; Burkina Faso; Australia; Liberia; Papua New Guinea; Kazakhstan; New Zealand; Belize; and Palestine.

Other representatives spoke on behalf of the following countries: Venezuela; Côte d’Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Croatia; Mauritius; US; Malta; Cyprus; UK; Afghanistan; Japan; and Greece.

The following organizations and agencies also made statements: African Union Commission; Common Fund for Commodities; Islamic Development Bank; Contact Group for the Reform of the Committee on World Food Security; Biodiversity International; Right to Food; Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; World Trade Organization (WTO); and the World Meteorological Organization.

Statements: Delegates regretted that participants to the Summit were not on target to meet a goal established at the 1996 World Food Summit to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. Several noted that the number of people affected by hunger has in fact increased by 100 million since 2008. While some applauded the increased attention to food security since 2008, others pointed to the absence of several rich countries from the Summit as a sign of the lack of urgency around this issue.

Many delegates agreed that food is not only fundamental to human survival but also a basic human right. Some countries insisted that food and nutritional security be considered a legal right, and eradication of hunger a norm of international law. Noting the proliferation of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer in developing countries, one delegate stressed the criticality of food quality and ensuring that populations in developing countries have access to food that is rich in both energy and nutrients. He said this requires investment in agricultural intensification and diversification. Some delegates highlighted the importance of fish protein to the diets of many of the world’s poor, and said deteriorating marine environments threaten food security.

While delegates frequently noted the correlation between economic, financial and food crises, how these crises were linked remained disputed. Most delegates agreed, however, that neglect of agriculture and rural development on the part of developed and developing countries and donor agencies over the past decades has been a major contributor to food insecurity and called for increased investments. One delegation stated that food security and rural development are the responsibilities of many ministries, not just those of agriculture.

 Many stressed that agriculture is one of the most powerful growth engines in developing countries but that budgets have declined over the last decades. They argued that investment in this sector should not be reduced because of the financial crisis. Representatives from several African countries noted they were striving to dedicate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture, as laid out in the 2003 African Union Maputo Declaration. They highlighted different areas where investment is required, stressing the need to invest in smallholder farmers, and in particular women farmers.

Although delegates agreed that food security is a national, regional and global problem that requires coordinated action across all levels, they differed in their analysis of who should take responsibility for addressing food security, or what role different actors should play. Some developing countries evoked the debt owed to them for years of colonial exploitation of their resources, while others blamed the global capitalist system. Some said developed countries should take the lead in providing financial and technical assistance to address food security, and that developing countries must ensure a friendly environment for investment. Other delegates suggested that the duty of developed countries is not to provide aid, but to create conducive conditions for development, emphasizing technology transfer, capacity building and market access. Several European countries said increased resources should be coupled with good governance. Delegates from developed and developing countries alike called for country-led programmes that contribute to food security.

Developing countries discussed approaches to mobilizing investments, with some noting that economic progress in poor countries will have positive effects on international trade. One country delegate suggested campaigning for the attention of people in developed countries to build the required political will to provide funding to the developing world. Another said many of developing countries’ food needs can be packaged as commercial and bankable proposals that will appeal to developed countries. Others agreed that developing countries should focus on trade and business transactions, not aid.

In their statements, developing country representatives outlined the support they required from developed countries. Several noted the importance of South-South or triangular cooperation. Developing countries called for support for: mechanisms to boost technology transfer; capacity-building to process primary products for increased export revenues; and targeted programmes for increased agricultural production for the least developed countries. One country delegate called on FAO to give special support to scientific research for agriculture in developing countries, and another to establish improved seed banks to address food security. Some speakers stressed the need for international food stockpiles available to all countries in times of emergency. Asian countries highlighted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ recent agreement to establish an East Asian Emergency Rice Reserve. Some African delegates encouraged production of inputs, such as fertilizers, within Africa.

Many developing countries highlighted successful national actions and programmes to tackle food insecurity and promote agricultural and rural development and nutrition. They described, inter alia: country strategies to achieve the MDG to halve poverty and hunger by 2015; food security strategies that comprise economic diversification, sustainable agriculture, social security programmes and intersectoral platforms to integrate civil society; land reform strategies; tax incentives, subsidies to smallholder farmers, equipment provision programmes; and credit provision programmes for farmers. Some delegates described investments in rural infrastructure and various types of technologies suited for different conditions. Others described regional partnerships in which they have engaged to protect against food insecurity. The Detailed Programme for the Development of African Agriculture was highlighted.

Many developed countries highlighted bilateral and multilateral commitments to addressing food security, including: increased aid for food security, agricultural and rural development, and nutrition; making food security one of their country’s top aid priorities; and untying food aid. Some developing countries said they had committed a portion of their food exports to countries in need. The Islamic Development Bank highlighted its agreement with FAO, made on 15 November 2009, to commit US$1 billion to agricultural development in poor countries that belong to both organizations.

Trade was the subject of significant debate, with many speakers stressing its indivisibility from food security. Calling hunger the cruelest and most tangible sign of poverty, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI lamented the weakness of current food security mechanisms, and urged better market access for poor countries. Several developing country representatives noted their potential to be food exporters but said lack of market access, in addition to weak regional organization and insufficient assistance from the international community, hinders this potential.

Some delegates argued that food should be produced where it is best and most efficient to do so, which requires a trade system that allows food to move freely. Cautioning that policies to bolster food security on the basis of self-sufficiency reduces purchasing power – which is critical to reducing poverty – some stressed that trade is an essential component of a comprehensive package to achieve food security. Many countries urged: transparent and non-discriminatory trade regulations; combating speculation around food pricing; access to markets for developing countries; and elimination of subsidies. Some stressed that food security is a national responsibility. Developed and developing countries alike called for a successful conclusion to the Doha round of WTO negotiations.

Some developing countries opposed the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s call to reduce the share of agriculture in national economies, and urged revision of the World Bank classification of economies to reflect on-the-ground realities.

Many delegates highlighted the links between food and global security, with some stating that social stability and the rule of law cannot be achieved if people are hungry. Some also outlined challenges surrounding transboundary water sharing, particular within a growing context of water scarcity. Noting that global cooperation among governments in response to the financial crisis averted a depression, some stressed the need for cooperation on food security to prevent social disaster.

Many speakers emphasized the indivisibility of food security from sustainable development. They also noted links to biodiversity, desertification and land degradation. The connection between food security and climate change stimulated significant discussion. Delegates emphasized both the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security as well as the role that agriculture can play in mitigating climate change. Many countries highlighted the devastating impacts of natural disasters on their populations, with small island developing states and countries with arid regions stressing that they are particularly affected. On biofuels, some delegates emphasized their potentially harmful impacts on food security, while others argued that controlled production and use of second generation biofuels could help mitigate climate change and boost rural development.

Some delegates argued that the upcoming Copenhagen climate change negotiations must address food security, with several stating that mobilizing additional financing for food security must be a key outcome. A number of developing countries said they required funding to adapt their food production systems within the context of a changing climate. A developed country delegation emphasized the need for enhanced research and knowledge exchange on agriculture, especially related to the consequences of climate change. Many developed and developing country delegates alike expressed hope for a positive outcome at the Copenhagen climate negotiations, with a few insisting that a legally-binding agreement must be reached.

On the Summit Declaration, many noted that it had been significantly watered down from the original draft. Others, however, welcomed the Declaration’s principles and argued that it was a good starting point that has the potential to usher in a new and promising era of global commitment. Referring to the proliferation of summits and declarations, others said the Declaration can – and must – serve as a stepping stone to establish measurable targets and timeframes for concrete actions in relation to short-, medium-, and long-term approaches to food security.

Delegates pointed out weaknesses in the Declaration on issues including: speculation on futures markets; agrofuels; farmer wages and work conditions; and the adverse effects that export-driven agriculture can have on smallholder farmers. Some applauded the Declaration’s recognition of the FAO 2004 voluntary guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

Some stressed the need for comprehensive and action-oriented approaches to addressing food security, with clear responsibilities for civil society, UN agencies, the private sector, multilateral organizations and other relevant stakeholders. Others highlighted the need for a participatory global governance system based on the centrality of the UN. They emphasized that good governance is necessary to ensure lasting effects of investments. In these regards, delegates welcomed the reform of the CFS, although several stressed the need for oversight of the reforms to ensure improved global governance. Some expressed hope that the CFS will become the main international forum to develop food security solutions, while many emphasized the need to expand the number and types of actors involved to ensure bottom-up policies oriented to the needs of regions and communities.

Many delegates emphasized the major roles that the UN Secretary-General’s HLTF on the Global Food Security Crisis, FAO and the evolving Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition should play. Several called for better coordination among FAO, the WFP, IFAD and relevant UN agencies. They also argued that while no institution can address food security alone, FAO can play a more effective role in coordinating the actions of relevant institutions. Some recommended that FAO enhance its cooperation with the private sector.

Noting that concrete action requires concrete investment, many countries commended the pledges made at L’Aquila to raise US$20 billion over three years for food security, however some argued that these funds alone are insufficient to tackle the problem and are yet to materialize. Developing countries urged developed countries to make the funds available in a timely manner. Some delegations stressed the need to define principles for investing funds, while others emphasized that the funding must not be distributed as donations of food relief or agricultural transfers.

Please refer to and for more detailed coverage of the High-Level Segment.


During the Summit, four roundtable discussions were held; they are summarized below.

ROUND TABLE 1: This round table, held on 16 November, addressed the negative impacts of the food, economic and financial crises on world food security (see concept note WSFS/2009/RT/1). Saeed Masri, Minister of Agriculture, Jordan, and Beverley Oda, Minister for International Cooperation, Canada, acted as co-chairs. Four panelists gave presentations: Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, WFP; Vashee Ajay, Farming First; Koos Richelle, Director-General of the EC’s EuropeAid Co-operation Office; and Amit Roy, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development.

Panelists and participants emphasized the role of smallholder farmers for food security. They noted that the majority of smallholder farmers are women and highlighted, inter alia: their particular vulnerability against impacts of the economic crisis and developed-country agricultural subsidies; the need to invest in local food markets, including by channeling assistance partly through farmer organizations; and the importance of access to market information and inputs, particularly fertilizers.

Regarding how to respond to food security crises, participants differentiated actions to address: food unavailability; food inaccessibility caused by high food prices; and food inaccessibility due to farmers’ inabilities to connect to markets. Participants also: stressed the need to improve early warning systems and develop food safety nets; called for better statistical information to identify countries in need and actions required; noted that following a food crisis, partnerships must move from relief to development; and recommended national-level planning and public-private partnerships.

For a more detailed summary of the round table, refer to:

ROUND TABLE 2: This round table (see concept note WSFS/2009/RT/2), held on 17 November, discussed reform of global governance in support of food security strategies. Guilherme Cassel, Minister of Agrarian Development, Brazil, and Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, acted as co-chairs. The panelists were: Maria del Carmen Squeff, Alternate Permanent Representative of Argentina to FAO; Pat Mooney, Executive Director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration; Uma Lele, Special Adviser, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation; and Tesfai Tecle, Special adviser to Kofi Annan, Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Participants discussed the reform of the CFS, stating that with the current increase in multilateralism and civil society participation, this is a decisive time in FAO. They recommended outreach to a greater number of decision-making actors and involvement of international agencies. They suggested that the CFS could undertake a meta-evaluation of FAO, IFAD, WFP and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.

Regarding the global governance of food security, participants: highlighted the role of partnerships; welcomed the trend to bring in new actors, in particular civil society; hoped the governance debate would lead to a convergence of actions, especially at the national level; called for streamlined global governance and coordination between national, regional and global levels; emphasized the role of experts; and called for responses to price volatility.

For a more detailed summary of the round table, refer to:

ROUND TABLE 3: This round table, held on November 17, addressed the relationship of agriculture and food security to mitigation and adaptation policies (see concept note WSFS/2009/RT/3). Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia, acted as co-chairs. Panelists were M.S. Swaminathan, President, M.S. Swaminathan Foundation; Mahmoud Solh, Director-General, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA); Florin Vladu, Programme Officer, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Ger Bergkamp, General Director, World Water Council.

Panelistis and participants said sustainable forestry and agricultural policies can bring benefits for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. They identified as priority areas for action: resilience of food production systems and ecosystems; conservation of genetic resources; and integrated pest and disease management.

Regarding adaptation, they suggested that diversification of food production and water supply can be a cornerstone and called for enhanced cooperation of the most vulnerable countries. They also gave examples for proactive adaptation planning, including, inter alia: regional scenario building; broadening the range of genetic variability; developing crop varieties for different climate scenarios; and building water reserves for irrigation and livestock. Discussing the contribution of agriculture to mitigation, participants emphasized the priority of meeting global food demands, called for incentives for sustainable agriculture and forest management in the climate regime, and urged research on climate-friendly agricultural practices.

For a more detailed summary of the round table, refer to

ROUND TABLE 4: This round table, held on 18 November, addressed measures to enhance global food security (see concept note WSFS/2009/RT/4). In a keynote statement, Luisa Dias Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique, described her country’s experience in bolstering food production, and emphasized allocation of resources, creating a rural financial system, peace and political stability and leadership.

Co-Chair Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Development, described the EU’s trade policies as non-distorting, and stressed that small farmers require infrastructure and supportive fiscal policies. Co-Chair Tina Joemat-Peterson, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa, said that agriculture production is the cornerstone of economic development, and suggested partnerships to increase production and ensure food safety. Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD, said food security is an integral part of international security. He highlighted consistent investment, research, and access to markets. Clemens Boonekamp, Director of the Agriculture and Commodities Division, WTO, spoke on positive aspects of trade, cautioned against protectionism and the notion of self-sufficiency, and explained the status of the Doha negotiations. Joachim von Braun, Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute, reported that research on proven success stories demonstrated such common features as science and technology emphasis, incentives for the private sector, investments and leadership. Karen Serres, Chair of the Committee of Women Farmers, International Federation of Agricultural Producers, said trade policies must favor small farmers in the food value chains.

Ministers and other delegates discussed, in particular: agriculture as part of a comprehensive policy package; integrated rural development; measures to boost food production; access of small farmers to markets; subsistence family farming and land tenure; trade restrictions; land grabbing in the expectation of growing food scarcity; impacts of climate change; and the role of women.


On Wednesday morning, representatives from the pre-Summit events summarized their contributions to the Summit and to tackling food insecurity. The outcome from the meeting of parliamentarians includes recommendations to: adopt legal and legislative frameworks to protect the right to food; empower women, including by ensuring their access to land, credit and markets; budget for food security; and to strive to meet the MDGs by 2015. Participants of the private sector meeting agreed to a Charter that addresses issues related to productivity and efficiency, sustainability, food value chains and business practices, and partnerships and enabling policies. They agreed that Expo 15, whose theme is “To Feed the Planet. Energy for Life” and which is to be held in 2015 in Milan, Italy, will be an important platform to facilitate global and local actions to promote food security. The Declaration from the meeting of NGOs and civil society notes, inter alia: the demand for food sovereignty; the right to available, accessible, nutritious and culturally acceptable food; the potential for the CFS to become the foremost inclusive international body for food security in the UN system as well as the lack of sufficient funding to enable it to achieve this goal; and the work required within the CFS to ensure coherence between different bodies within the global food security infrastructure.

Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General, summarized the four roundtables that took place during the Summit.

Marcela Villarreal,FAO, read a draft message from the second Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) First Ladies Summit, held in Rome, on 15 November 2009. She noted that, emphasizing that they represent more than 2 billion women from developing countries, participants said agriculture and rural development are essential for food security. Villarreal explained that participants said women must play a crucial role but lack access to basic resources including land, funding, and technological inputs and called on governments to prioritize food security and on UN agencies to provide a framework for capacity building for women, including, inter alia: legal and institutional conditions for women’s access to resources; identification of best practices; preparation of gender-disaggregated data; and enhanced cooperation of countries and organizations with a focus on women.

Diouf thanked all delegates for their participation and enthusiasm, and for unanimously adopting the Summit Declaration. He said important steps had been taken in achieving the objective of a world free from hunger, and urged every country to take concrete and urgent measures, even though the Declaration does not define quantified aims or deadlines. Reminding participants that “the hungry cannot wait,” he closed the Summit at 12:44 pm.


FIFTEENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC AND FIFTH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 15 and Kyoto Protocol COP/MOP 5 will take place from 7-18 December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. These meetings will coincide with the 31st meetings of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies. Under the “roadmap” agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 are expected to finalize an agreement on a framework for combating climate change post-2012 (when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends). For more information contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; Internet:

SUMMIT OF THE WORLD’S REGIONS ON FOOD SECURITY: This meeting will take place from 18-19 January 2010, in Dakar, Senegal. Organized on the basis of a questionnaire sent to the world’s regions to collect information on food-related issues, this Summit will help to identify specific areas in which cooperation between regions can provide added value to national and international initiatives. The Summit will bring together representatives from local authorities, national governments and international organizations to propose innovative solutions to tackle food insecurity. For more information contact: Marie Imbs; e-mail:; Internet:

GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH FOR DEVELOPMENT: This conference will be held by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Montpellier, France, from 28-31 March 2010. The Conference will provide a global action plan and strategy for improving agricultural research in order to maximize the impact on development, especially of the poor. This plan and strategy will be established through consultations with representatives from a wide range of agricultural research stakeholders around the world. For more information contact: GFAR Secretariat; tel: +39-06-5705-3413; fax: +39-06-5705-3898; e-mail:; Internet:

PACIFIC FOOD SUMMIT: FACILITATING ACTION FOR A FOOD SECURE PACIFIC: This summit is planned for April 2010, and aims at bringing together leaders in health, agriculture and industry on Food Security. They will finalize a Pacific Declaration on Food Security and an accompanying Action Plan. The Secure Pacific (FSP) Working Group has been established as a preparatory body. For more information contact: Colin Bell; email:; Internet:

2010 UN GLOBAL COMPACT LEADERS SUMMIT: This invitation-only Summit will take place on 24-25 June 2010 in New York. It will bring together leaders from all sectors to elevate the role of responsible business and investment in bringing about the needed transformation to more sustainable and inclusive markets. The Summit will address, inter alia, the challenge of climate change and progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. For more information contact: Nessa Whelan:; Press contact: Matthias Stausberg; tel: +1-917-367-3423; fax: +1-212-963-1207; email: Internet:

2010 G8 SUMMIT: This Summit will take place from 25-27 June 2010 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Expected is the submission of a first accountability report on development in Africa. Internet:



Committee for World Food Security
UN Economic and Social Council
European Commission
European Union
Food and Agriculture Organization
High-Level Task Force
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Monetary Fund
Millennium Development Goal
Official Development Assistance
World Food Programme
World Trade Organization


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The World Summit on Food Security Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <>. This issue was written and edited by Alexandra Conliffe, Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., and Simon Wolf. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Editor is Leonie Gordon <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by FAO. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America.

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