HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CALLS FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS TO TAKE ACTION TO ENSURE RIGHT TO FOOD IN FACE OF GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON
22 May 2008


Council Concludes Seventh Special Session

The seventh Special Session of the Human Rights Council concluded today after adopting a resolution in which the Council expressed grave concern at the worsening world food crisis, which seriously undermined the realization of the right to food for all, and called upon States and other relevant stakeholders to take a number of actions to address the situation.

In the resolution, which was adopted by consensus, the Council called upon States and other relevant stakeholders to take all necessary measures to ensure the realization of the right to food as an essential human rights objective, and to consider reviewing any policy or measure which could have a negative impact on the realization of the right to food. States had the primary obligation to make their best efforts to meet the vital food needs of their own population, especially of vulnerable groups, while the international community should provide, through a coordinated response and upon request, support to national and regional efforts in terms of providing the necessary assistance for increasing food production. The Council called upon Member States and others to participate actively in the High-level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, to take place from 3 to 5 June 2008, in Rome. It also requested the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to make a presentation to the eighth session of the Council on his participation in [that] meeting.

Olivier De Schutter, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in concluding remarks, said the role of the Human Rights Council in this crisis was to ensure the right to food when addressing the situation. The second message delivered was the national obligation of each State towards their populations and the international obligation of all States towards all people of the world. A third message, often underestimated, was the role of large agricultural cooperatives. Transnational corporations had an immense power on the market and were dictating their prices to small farmers.

Wrapping up the session, the President of the Council, Ambassador Doru Romulus Costea of Romania, said that the work of the Special Session might be over, but the debate was not. They would meet with the Special Rapporteur on the right to food again in June when he would report to them on the outcome of the High-level Conference on World Food Security and present his recommendations for action.

Cuba introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the sponsors. Canada spoke in explanation of vote before the draft was adopted by consensus.

In the debate, many speakers expressed the great importance they attached to this first ever thematic Special Session. The Special Session on the right to food reaffirmed that economic, social and cultural rights should be treated on an equal footing with civil and political rights. Most speakers emphasized the need to address not just the immediate needs of vulnerable populations, but the root causes of the crisis. Many felt that the crisis was due to the increased privatisation and liberalization of markets, forced by the Bretton Woods institutions, with an excessive focus on exports, which had weakened the right to food, and the role of small producers, in addition to placing barriers to the economic and social rights of populations. Others stressed a larger combination of factors, including climate change, natural disasters and soaring energy prices. Many acknowledged that the primary responsibility for preventing such a crisis and dealing with it was a national one, while noting also an international responsibility and need for international cooperation to address the issue.

The fact that the crisis had disproportionately affected countries of the South, developing countries, and African countries was noted. A speaker observed that the current crisis threatened the African continent’s stability and the progress achieved in past years. Concerns were voiced that if rising prices of food were not controlled, riots witnessed over the past few months would spread to other parts of the world. A speaker noted that the United Nations had to take the lead in coordinating a global response to the matter, both immediate and long-term. Many lauded the Secretary-General's initiative in establishing a High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, and there were several calls for Member States to participate fully in the High-Level Conference on World Food Security organized by FAO in Rome in June.

Speaking in the debate were Representatives of the Russian Federation, Bolivia, Ghana, Zambia, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Jordan, the Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Switzerland, Morocco, Chile, Congo, Algeria, Viet Nam, Venezuela, Turkey, Tunisia, Norway, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Portugal, Holy See, Belarus, Ecuador, Thailand, Singapore, Colombia, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Maldives, Finland, Sudan, Ireland, Haiti, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Cuba, and Canada. Representatives of the International Organization of La Francophonie, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the African Union, also made statements as did representatives of bodies of the United Nations system, namely, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Caritas; Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples; Centre Europe-Tiers Monde; Foodfirst Information Action Network; International Federation of Human Rights Leagues; North-South XXI; Amnesty International; World Federation of Trade Unions; Union of Arab Jurists; International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy); World Vision International; Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru; and the International Commission of Jurists.

The Council will hold its eighth regular session from 2 to 18 June.

Action on the Resolution

In a resolution (A/HRC/S-7/L.1/Rev.1) on the negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused, inter alia, by soaring food prices, adopted by consensus, the Council expresses grave concern at the worsening of the world food crisis, which seriously undermines the realization of the right to food for all; expresses also grave concern that this crisis threatens to further undermine the realization of the right to food for all; calls upon States, individually and through international cooperation and assistance, and other relevant stakeholders, to take all necessary measures to ensure the realization of the right to food as an essential human rights objective, and consider reviewing any policy or measure which could have a negative impact on the realization of the right to food, particularly the right of everyone to be free from hunger, before instituting such a policy or measure; and stresses that States have the primary obligation to make their best efforts to meet the vital food needs of their own population, especially of vulnerable groups and households, such as through enhancing programmes to combat mother-child malnutrition, and to increase local production for this purpose, while the international community should provide, through a coordinated response and upon request, support to national and regional efforts in terms of providing the necessary assistance for increasing food production, particularly through the transfer of technology, as well as food crop rehabilitation assistance and food aid.

The Council calls upon United Nations Member States and other relevant stakeholders to participate actively in the High-level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, to take place from 3 to 5 June 2008, in Rome, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; invites FAO to extend an invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to attend and actively participate in the aforementioned Conference, so as to help mainstreaming a human rights perspective in the analysis of the world food crisis, with a focus on the realization of the right to food; requests the Special Rapporteur to make a presentation to the eighth session of the Human Rights Council on his participation in [that] meeting, and on his initial recommendations regarding actions required, at all levels, to promote respect and protect the right to food and freedom from hunger in the midst of the current food crisis, when actions are called for to promote mid- and long-term food security; requests also the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to present a report to the ninth session of the Council on the impact of the global food crisis on the protection of the right to food, and required remedies from a human rights perspective; and requests the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to continue reporting on further developments on this issue to the Council and the General Assembly.

JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba), introducing the draft resolution, made oral amendments to the draft resolution. For many days they had conducted negotiations with all parties in order to leave aside difficulties that seemed to be impossible to overcome. Cuba expressed its deep gratitude to all delegations for their collective efforts. All delegations were asked to adopt this resolution without a vote.

TERRY CORMIER (Canada), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Canada had engaged constructively in the negotiations on this draft resolution. Canada regretted that the resolution placed the primary responsibility on the international community and not on States themselves. It also regretted that language on international cooperation and assistance had not been incorporated, nor had agreed language on the need for all States to provide free and safe access for humanitarian assistance. Nevertheless, aware of the importance of the resolution, Canada would not block consensus on it.

General Debate

YURY BOICHENKO (Russian Federation) said that the Russian Federation had supported Cuba’s call for a Special Session. The right to adequate food was directly linked to human dignity and was one of the most basic human rights. Appropriate measures of economic and environmental policies aimed at the elimination of poverty had to be taken. It was not right that one-sixth of world’s population did not have access to adequate food, when it was possible to feed 12 billion people, twice the number of the present world population. States had to take steps to ensure the full implementation of the right to food and to allow each human being to be free from hunger. The world community had to be enlightened about the damaging impact of the crisis on the enjoyment of human rights.

ANGELICA NAVARRO LLANOS (Bolivia) said Bolivia was a co-sponsor of the Special Session and subscribed to the statement made by Venezuela on behalf of the Bolivarian Group. Noting that the right to food was recognized by several international instruments, Bolivia held that the current global food crisis was a direct violation of human rights. The crisis was due to the increased privatisation and liberalization of markets, forced by the Bretton Woods institutions, with an excessive focus on exports, which had weakened the right to food, and the role of small producers, in addition to placing barriers to the economic and social rights of populations. The sources of subsistence themselves had been privatising even the source of agriculture, namely seeds. That was a result of the disproportionate subsidies given by developed countries leading to trade inequities. That was also a result of misdirected assistance that actually was harmful to food independence.

While foreign debt was strangling many developing countries, as the President of Bolivia Evo Morales had said, they should take into account the ecological debt of the northern countries which had been responsible for environmental disasters in the South.

MERCY YVONNE AMOAH (Ghana) said that it was refreshing to meet in a Special Session which was supported by virtually all members. It was hoped that the outcome of the session would be characterised by common agreement on the measures required to eliminate the causes of the crisis. It was extremely unfortunate that with all the sophistication, advancement and wealth of today’s world, one-sixth of the world’s population suffered from hunger. International cooperation had an important role to play in ensuring the realisation of this right. Ghana hoped that with this resolution the international financial institutions and other specialised agencies would join in the coordinated international effort.

ENCYLA M. SINJELA (Zambia) said that Zambia had co-sponsored the convening of this Special Session because it believed that it was timely. That was evident from the food-related riots that had taken place in more than 20 countries in different parts of the world as a result of the food crisis caused by high food prices. Zambia also believed that this session would provoke some thoughts for the High-Level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bionergy scheduled to take place from 3 to 5 June 2008 in Rome. If rising prices of food were not controlled, the riots they had witnessed over the past few months were bound to spread to other parts of the world, thus threatening international peace and security. The international community therefore had to make concerted and coordinated efforts to ensure that the situation was contained and that the causes of high food prices and their consequences were adequately addressed.

Whatever direction the debate in the Council took on the right to food, it was important that climate change was also addressed as natural disasters had compounded the problem. The weather pattern that they were witnessing of late, causing floods and droughts, was unprecedented and had played a major role in the food shortage.

ABDULLA FALAH ABDULLA AL-DOSARI (Qatar) said that the Human Rights Council continuously called for the protection of all human rights. They were meeting today to address the most basic of these rights. The crisis was causing the death of many vulnerable people every day. All human beings had the right to live in dignity, free from hunger. It was a paradox that the number of victims of hunger and malnutrition was increasing at a time where the world had to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The international community had to raise awareness of the rights of everyone, especially the right to have access to adequate food. Qatar had assisted a high number of developing countries and least developed countries. The international community had to address the situation and help the most vulnerable groups.

REBECCA SAGAR (United Kingdom) said that, while it was important that the Council made its views known on this global debate, it was essential that Special Sessions such as this one focused exclusively on human rights aspects of the issue in question and were not tempted to stray into other areas where the Council had neither the authority nor the competence to make a meaningful contribution. The United Kingdom firmly believed that individual human rights could not be realized in isolation. That was true of the right to adequate food as it was of every other right. In fulfilling its mandate, the Human Rights Council had to be prepared to identify situations and countries where Governments were unable to realize their populations' right to adequate food. If States, such as “Burma”, found that – for whatever reason – their populations were unable to access adequate food, then they were duty-bound to seek and accept the help available to them. In that connection, the United Kingdom was deeply concerned by the situation in “Burma” in the wake of the Cyclone Nargis, and was saddened by the terrible loss of life and continuing hardship of its population. The United Kingdom called on the Burmese regime to provide rapid support to its people, and to accept international assistance.

High food prices were a global problem that would require coordinated and sustained international efforts. The United Kingdom supported social protection programmes that ensured poor and vulnerable groups had sufficient means to meet their basic needs. They all had to support efforts to give greater priority and long-term attention to the underlying problems of poverty and hunger facing some 850 million people. Those were important challenges where the Council had a valid interest. The draft resolution contained many good elements, but missed some opportunities. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom would join the consensus on it.

ALEJANDRO ARTUCIO RODRIGUEZ (Uruguay) said that Uruguay attached great importance to the fact that the Human Rights Council was dealing with the problem of the food crisis. This crisis had an important impact on least developed countries. As announced by the Food and Agriculture Organization, every day 25,000 persons died because of hunger and poverty, it was equally known that the future was not more promising. It was necessary to strengthen the agricultural capacities to meet the growing demand for food. The world had to double its food production by 2050 to avoid starvation. It was fundamental to awaken and take action and ensure cooperation among countries.

MUTAZ FALEH S. HYASSAT (Jordan) said that Jordan associated itself with the statement of the Arab Group and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The recent food crisis appeared to be a structural one, but it was also a phenomenon that was linked to other factors and recent world events such as climate change, natural disasters and soaring energy prices. It was true that the primary responsibility for preventing such a crisis and dealing with it was a national one. Yet, there was also an international responsibility and there was certainly a need for international cooperation to address the issue.

Jordan realized that the Human Rights Council was not a specialized agency, and it urged all concerned international organizations and entities to allocate the utmost importance to addressing this urgent and serious emergency. In doing so, it was essential that the emphasis be placed not only on providing short-term responses, but also on dealing with the problem in a manner that would prevent its escalation and future recurrence and on alleviating the pressure on the poor consumers and the fragile economies. It was important that the Council today give a clear signal to the efforts of the Secretary-General's Task Force on the Global Food Crisis to address this issue.

CHANG DONG-HEE (Republic of Korea) said that the Republic of Korea joined other delegations in hoping that the Council would continue to expand its relevant scope of topics and strive to act in a timely manner. They fully shared the grave concern of the international community about the current food crisis. It was a humanitarian crisis that was jeopardizing the weak, poor and hungry. It also threatened to undo all the work done towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The current situation called for urgent action by the international community. The Human Rights Council should successfully convey a strong political message through this Special Session. The Republic of Korea hoped this Special Session present an opportunity to call upon States to take all necessary measures to ensure the realisation of the right to food.

MOHAMED-SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) welcomed the holding of this Special Session on the global food crisis – a crucial subject whose adverse consequences had been felt in a particularly cruel way throughout the world. Africa had been especially affected by this crisis that threatened the continent’s stability and the progress achieved in past years. Djibouti in particular had a chronic food shortage and the crisis accentuated that. Timely warnings had been made about drastic reductions in food stocks, and the Food and Agricultural Organization had continued to call for development of agriculture in Africa, including increased access to seeds and fertilizers. Those calls however had not led to cooperative efforts and coordinated international strategies.

This crisis was a time for decisions. The Human Rights Council certainly had a role to play. Djibouti supported the role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and that of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome.

BLAISE GODET (Switzerland) said as they were speaking in the Council, the lives of millions were threatened by hunger. The crisis had become worst and the situation was beginning to be intolerable for children and was creating instability in several countries. In the different issues raised by the crisis, only a global and coherent approach would provide an effective response. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should participate in the Secretary-General’s Task Force and the High Commissioner should attend the Rome summit.

The rise in food prices was affecting many poor families, which were spending the majority of their budget on food. The crisis was affecting the most vulnerable people. The causes were multiple and interconnected in a complex way. The international community had to overcome the crisis and bring relief to the affected populations. In the medium and long terms, national policies should be more coherent. Human rights had to be placed back at the centre of the challenge and a clear message had to be sent to the world by adopting the resolution by consensus.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the scope of the world food crisis that had griped the world and that was continuing confirmed the centrality of the right to food as an inalienable and fundamental human right. Faced with such a situation, the Human Rights Council had called this Special Session to consider what action the international community should take. Each 1 per cent rise in food prices put an additional 16 million people into food insecurity.

Morocco had just launched the Plan for A Green Morocco, which would be implemented in cooperation with civil society and international actors. Morocco had never neglected its duty to provide humanitarian assistance, and it hoped that other member of the international community would respond to the call. It was also necessary to undertake efforts to revitalize agricultural sectors. Science gave them the opportunity to increase production. If this crisis provoked sustained and coordinated international action to avoid the recurrence of such a situation, it could be a turning point in the lives of millions of human beings.

CARLOS PORTALES (Chile) said that too many people in the world were suffering from hunger and malnutrition. It was right for the Human Rights Council to send a strong message that the right to food was a fundamental right. This crisis made it even more urgent to end the Doha round of negotiations. Renewing the efforts to have agricultural trade under the Doha rules was important. The crisis had had an impact on minorities and vulnerable groups. It was important to give special attention to them.

BARBARA EKWALL, of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), welcoming the holding of this Special Session on the negative impact on the realization of the right to food by the worsening of the world food crisis, noted that millions of poor households in developing countries faced the spectrum of a worsening food security situation due to soaring food costs. FAO analysis showed that poor rural women were particularly hard hit. The present crisis carried complex, technical questions related to food production, the environment, energy, the economy and development. However, the human dimension of the crisis also raised important human rights considerations.

Urgent international response was needed to help developing countries to deal with the impact of high food prices, and to increase investments in agriculture that benefited those who were, or who were at risk of becoming food insecure. The High Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, organized by FAO from 3 to 5 June, would provide an opportunity to strengthen political commitment to meet that challenge. FAO had invited the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to participate in the conference and looked forward to their active participation. FAO had also strengthened its partnerships with the lead United Nations agencies dealing with food security issues, such as UNDP, WFP and UNICEF.

DALY BELGASMI, of the World Food Programme, said that this meeting came at a critical time when food and food prices were in the global spotlight. The Human Rights Council could thus further contribute to the on-going debate and work of the international community in arriving at possible solutions. The gravity of the crisis had been emphasized. The World Food Programme was pleased about the frank debate during today’s session and the apparent emerging consensus. The upcoming Rome meeting and G8 meeting were also planning to address this issue. The crisis was an important matter. It was very alarming to see that global stocks of cereals had fallen to lows never seen in 40 years in only a few days. Families were spending the majority of their income to buy food. If the actual trend continued, it would end in chaos, affecting billions of people.

KELLIE-SHANDRA OGNIMBA (Republic of Congo) noted that central to the Human Rights Council's mission and activities was the human person. The Republic of Congo expressed its solidarity and sympathy with the suffering populations of Myanmar and China owing to natural disasters. The Republic of Congo fully supported the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the African Group. The current crisis was not the result of a natural disaster. It was caused by policies, strategies and activities carried out all over the world. They had to ensure concrete responses were implemented to address the world food crisis to effectively guarantee to all the right to adequate food, and those efforts would also contribute in large part to the attainment of the first of the Millennium Development Goals, namely the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) said that the right to food was linked to the right to life and it could not be linked to speculation. This crisis required urgent concerted action. If the current situation went on it would constitute a severe threat to security at the national and international levels. Ensuring the availability and accessibility of adequate food to all human beings was important. Speculation should not damage the right to food. Financial institutions should correct their past errors. The crisis had been forecasted, it was linked to human selfishness and was not as some called it an unexpected “tsunami”.

PHAM QUOC TRU (Viet Nam) said Viet Nam viewed the right to food as one of the fundamental human rights and attached great importance to food security. In fact, over past years, Viet Nam had made enormous efforts in increasing food production in order to realize the right to food for its population and also to contribute to ensuring global food security. The Government had adopted a very clear food export policy which was based on food security, interests of rice producers, domestic economic development and contribution to coping with the global food crisis. In recent years, Viet Nam had become the third largest exporter of rice globally. Viet Nam had also cooperated with the Food and Agricultural Organization and other partners in carrying out projects of food production in several countries, including African countries. Viet Nam called on all countries, international organizations and other stakeholders to intensify their efforts of cooperation in combating the current global food crisis. It hoped that the Council would adopt the draft resolution before it by consensus.

GABRIEL IGNACIO SALAZAR PINEDA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian countries, said that the Bolivarian countries were in favour of structural transformation in order to guarantee a proper use of natural and energy resources in order to meet the basic needs of people. Stable and fair access to food could be met through cooperation. Venezuela supported international free dialogue to examine the causes of the crisis and avoid its negative impacts.

AHMET UZUMCU (Turkey) said that, called by some "a silent tsunami that respects no borders", the current crisis was essentially linked to the global demand for food exceeding the supply. The shortage of supply had inevitably caused a significant rise of prices. That crisis had affected millions of people and had the potential to affect millions more. The increase might mean little to those living in developed countries, but it meant a dramatic change for most families living in the developing world, which spent 70 per cent of their budget on food.

The result of a combination of several structural economic factors, also negatively influenced by climate change and natural disasters, the crisis created a situation in which the right to food was threatened on an unprecedented scale. Different stakeholders had taken different measures. Food-importing countries had significantly decreased their tariffs on agricultural products, while exporters, that were previously highly competitive in the international market, had restricted their exports. Such unilateral measures – which might be justifiable to protect the right to adequate food on a national basis – appeared to be inefficient and sometimes detrimental on a global scale. In fact, many of the uncoordinated actions were actually aggravating the crisis. At this timely Special Session of the Council, their priority should be to reach a consensual outcome and to give a strong message of determination to collectively address the challenges before them.

SAMIR LABIDI (Tunisia) said that all human rights had equal importance, whether they were social, cultural or political. The global food crisis was devastating and its causes were complex. The international community was called to draw up the right to food as a basic value. Tunisia hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus. Each and everyone had to be protected from hunger.

VEBJORN HEINES (Norway) observed that the global food crisis had already had severe effects. The hardest and most immediately hit were those already hit by poverty. A growing number of people could no longer afford to buy enough staple food for their daily consumption. Human rights were indivisible and interdependent. The enjoyment of the human right to adequate food and freedom from hunger was of paramount importance for the enjoyment of all other rights, including the right to life. And a sustainable solution to the food crisis was more likely in places where all human rights and fundamental freedoms were respected, including the right to speak out and participate in governance, than in places where that was not the case.

No single institution or agency could solve the hunger challenge alone. Norway welcomed the Secretary-General's Task Force and its broad perspective. The importance of partnerships and coordination within the United Nations and with other humanitarian actors could not be overemphasized. Norway believed that the long-term policy responses had to be developed and made operational on the basis of national processes. The United Nations and other stakeholders should assist and support these processes. The focus should be on the most vulnerable States and on securing an environmentally sustainable development.

YSSET ROMAN MALDONADO (Dominican Republic) said that in facing this new situation, it was important to have technical capabilities to address the crisis with innovative approaches. What was at stake was the capacity of humanity to feed itself. The present food crisis was an immediate threat and society was already facing other threats, such as climate change. The Dominican Republic had been an example in food security in the Caribbean before the current crisis. The President of the Dominican Republic had called for the creation of a global food solidarity fund.

ALBERTO J. DUMONT (Argentina) said Argentina was seriously concerned about the present situation of world food insecurity, and emphasized the fundamental importance of all initiatives intended to relieve that crisis. To that end, the President of Argentina would actively participate in the upcoming High Level Conference to be held in Rome next week. Argentina had also supported a number of regional initiatives in this area, and participated in a series of South-South cooperation schemes. Globally, Argentina realized that the question was more sensitive and there was a need to apply urgent measures for the most vulnerable countries. To do so, they had to use all the resources of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, had to increase donations, and decrease subsidies in developed countries. Those were some of the underlying causes of the rise in world food prices.

FRANCISCO XAVIER ESTEVES (Portugal) said that Portugal shared the global concern regarding the negative impact on the realisation of the right to food by the worsening world food crisis, caused inter-alia by soaring food prices. The right to be free from hunger and to adequate food were now firmly established in human rights. None could fully enjoy any of these rights if they did not have access to adequate food. Thus, the current crisis threatened the enjoyment of human rights across the world. All members of the international community had to fulfil their responsibilities. Experience had demonstrated that the effects of hunger impacted disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable. In the current international context, one had to be particularly vigilant and committed to ensure the full realisation of the right to food.

HUBERTUS MATHEUS VAN MEGEN (Holy See) said that the Holy See fully supported the priority attention accorded to the current food crisis by means of this Special Session of the Human Rights Council. The primary tasks before the global community were to develop a coherent response within the context of multiple initiatives under way and to "mainstream" the crisis within the framework of human rights. Moreover, the problem of adequate food production was more than a temporary emergency. It was structural in nature and should be addressed in the context of economic growth that was just and sustainable. It also required measures dealing not only with agriculture and rural development, but also with health, education, good governance and human rights. A renewed commitment to agriculture, particularly in Africa, appeared necessary. Unfair subsidies had to be eliminated. To remedy problems faced by small farms, cooperative structures should be organized. Hoarding and price speculation were unacceptable.

In this complex and urgent debate, a new mentality was required. It should place human persons at the centre and not simply focus on economic profit. Due to a lack of food, too many poor people died each day, while immense resources were allocated for arms. The international community had to be galvanized into action. The right to food regarded the future of the human family as well as peace in the global community.

LIBERE BARARUNYERETSE, of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, said that they welcomed the initiative to call for a Special Session to promote the respect and protection of food security and the right to food. This right was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as in the Millennium Development Goals. This right was now greatly compromised, and the crisis was endangering the well being and the life of a sixth of the world population. The Human Rights Council was called to adopt the resolution.

BABACAR BA, of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said this serious crisis called on all of them to act and ensure the survival of millions throughout the world. The food crisis was global, but certainly it threatened peace and security at the local level and required global attention to deal with it. The Organization of the Islamic Conference supported initiatives to deal with this challenge, meeting a few days ago in Turkey to discuss the crisis, and launching a new economic tool in Kuwait recently. A special programme for the development of Africa launched in Dakar was another of the important measures launched to protect their countries.

But this was not enough. They had to deal with the structural problems and underlying causes. International instruments for the promotion and protection of human rights recognized the right to food as a fundamental right. All of the specialized agencies, such as the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development and others, recognized that those rights had to be ensured throughout the world. The Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomed the initiative to hold this Special Session and expressed its full support for decisions to be taken at it and in their implementation.

EVGENY LAZAREV (Belarus) said that currently, international organizations and the United Nations were looking at ways to deal with the global food crisis. There was also a need to address the human rights aspect of this crisis. Belarus was particularly concerned that in the context of this crisis, certain countries continued to apply economic blockades and sanctions. The Special Rapporteur on the right to food was asked to also address the issue of unilateral coercive measures in his work.

JUAN HOLGUIN (Ecuador) said Ecuador welcomed the initiative taken by Cuba to convene this Special Session to address the worsening global food crisis, in particular affecting the poorest sectors of the world's population. A sixth of the world's population had suffered from hunger and malnutrition even before this crisis hit. The discrepancies between supply and demand, the decline in harvests owing to climate change, and the use of foodstuffs for biofuels were behind the rise in prices and were among the reasons it was essential to have joint action among countries that went beyond market-based solutions. Trade, distribution and storage policies had to be initiated that would help countries that were facing the effects of this crisis.

The President of Ecuador supported the High Level Meeting on World Food Security to be held under FAO sponsorship in June, so that they could respond effectively to this emergency which was an obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to food, especially among the most vulnerable.

SIHASAK PHUANGKETKEOW (Thailand) said that this meeting was timely and relevant as it addressed a serious challenge. The present world food crisis would inevitably have a profound impact on the lives of ordinary people around the world, denying them one of their basic human rights. It would profoundly impact upon the lives of the vulnerable. The world food crisis was a complex issue which stemmed for a wide range of interrelated factors, including rising consumption, lower productivity, climate change and soaring energy prices. It required a comprehensive solution. Thailand, as the top rice exporting country, attached great importance to the issue of food security and recognized their responsibility to maintain the level of their rice exports in order not to further aggravate the problem. Thailand believed that the Human Rights Council could contribute substantially and in a complimentary manner to the existing concerted efforts.

TAN YORK CHOR (Singapore) began by quoting a statement made by Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the opening of the World Health Assembly earlier this week: "Enough food is produced to feed the world population. In fact, far too many people are overfed. Yet we abruptly face a crisis (of soaring food prices) that hits the poor the hardest". Dr. Chan then noted that an estimated 3.5 million deaths each year were due to malnutrition and how, for the poor, spending more money on food would mean less money available for health care.

What Dr. Chan pointed out was very pertinent, not only to the rise in food prices, but also the rise in energy prices and climate change, the three emergency global challenges. Yet, they seemed to face shortages. If an alien from space were to look at this situation, they would conclude that we humans, as stewards of Planet Earth, were doing a bad and inequitable job in managing our shared resources. What the world needed was a major re-think, a collective paradigm shift towards using shared resources in a more efficient way. The world should stop wasting precious calories – whether from food, or from fossil fuels that generated avoidable greenhouse gases.

ALVARO E. AYALA (Colombia) said that Colombia attached great importance to this first thematic Special Session. The right to life was a supreme right, which was jeopardized when other rights such as the right to food were not respected. The international community should adopt urgent measures in order to address the crisis. Colombia considered it a priority to conclude the Doha Round of negotiations; it was a good way to correct the distortions of the international agricultural market. One should remember that the World Bank had stated that the World Trade Organization had to remove barriers. A coordinated action was needed in order to face growing demand.

AMY LAURENSON (New Zealand) said that it was both a co-sponsor of the Special Session and of the draft resolution. The Human Rights Council had a role to play in finding an immediate, as well as durable solution to the global food crisis. The right to adequate food was not being enjoyed by millions. New Zealand was particularly concerned that they were falling behind in their collective commitment to achieve the first United Nations Millennium Development Goal. It welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Task Force to address this situation. In particular, in emergency situations it was critical that humanitarian agencies be granted immediate access to affected populations, and in that context New Zealand urged the Myanmar Government to do so.

The Human Rights Council had a role to play in defining a human rights element of this crisis and ensuring a human rights approach was mainstreamed into any initiatives to address it. In that connection, New Zealand welcomed the upcoming holding of the High Level Conference on the World Food Crisis in Rome, and looked forward to receiving the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on this issue.

JEAN FEYDER (Luxemburg) said that the food crisis had repercussions of extraordinary severity on women and children. The realisation of the Millennium Development Goals was also put at risk. The causes of the crisis were multiple and complex, but there was one fundamental cause. Many developing countries had fallen increasingly into food dependence after the 1970’s. As stated by the Special Rapporteur, they were now paying for 20 years of errors. The World Bank’s new approach was welcomed. A dual strategy was called for and urgent measures had to be taken right away. Luxemburg had already increased its contribution to the World Food Programme. The international community had to support food subsidies for developing countries. Above all it was also important to give access to fertilizers and seeds to small producers. Adequate market protection was key to overcoming the crisis in the long term.

USMAN SARKI, of the African Union, said that, since 2005, a sharp rise in prices had been seen for all basic foodstuffs such as bread, milk and meat. Conscious of the particular challenges to food security faced by Africa, the continent that had always been the most affected by famine, the African Union had used all its resources to overcome that problem or at least mitigate its effects. In that context, the Abuja Summit on Food Security had been organized in December 2006, which had elaborated a detailed programme for the development of African agriculture whose "pillar three" focused on improving food supply, reducing hunger and better management of food crises. That was a framework action plan to revitalize African agriculture and reduce famine. It was strengthened by a thematic working group on agriculture and food security and by the United Nations initiative for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

The international community was aware of the sources and causes of the problem, as it was aware of its obligations to other parts of the world, as seen in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Millennium Development Goals, which remained crucial to the attainment of the enjoyment of the right to food. To that end, the international community had to adopt a global approach oriented towards long-term solutions that would ensure human dignity and the enjoyment of the right to food.

JAVIER GARRIGUES FLOREZ (Spain) said that Spain shared an integrated conception of human rights. Spain was fully committed to compliance with the Millennium Development Goals, including the fight against hunger and poverty. Spain had strengthened its commitment and had developed several plans of humanitarian aid for least developed countries and the Saharan regions.

ALAIN LAMBERT, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, said that UNDP and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery were extremely concerned about the extent of the global food crisis. Not only did the crisis reduce poor people's vulnerability to disaster, it created the basic conditions for more violent conflicts. While there was no doubt that in the present crisis emergency relief was essential, the root causes were structural. For that reason the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery wanted to draw the attention of all stakeholders and partners to the importance of prevention work. This was a manmade crisis therefore it was up to them all to address it. UNDP would stand firmly behind all the poor and hungry men, women and children, and would redouble its efforts to promote the Millennium Development Goals, with its traditional partners, but also hopefully with new ones.

ALEX VAN MEEUWEN (Belgium) said that the impact of the price rises had to be an occasion to review the current agricultural policies. In revising the national polices, human rights should be a central element. Each State was responsible for elaborating a national strategy and populations had to be protected from soaring prices. Families and the most vulnerable groups had to be protected. The guidelines adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization were a fundamental tool. The creation of a Task Force was welcomed. It was imperative to guarantee the full respect of human rights. The draft resolution was welcomed.

THORBJORN JONSSON (Iceland) said that they all agreed that human rights were indivisible and interdependent and clearly the right to adequate food and freedom from hunger was fundamental for the enjoyment of all other rights. Iceland shared the concerns already expressed by other speakers about the rise in the price of basic food commodities and the worsening food situation. If they were not successful in tackling that problem, the same plight might fall on millions more. While the sharp rise in food prices was essentially linked to the global demand for food exceeding supply, the drivers of the current crisis were complex. It was not a simple trade off between the production of biofuels and traditional food production as some would have them believe. To Iceland, it was clear that the United Nations had to take the lead in coordinating a global response to the matter, both immediate and long-term, and it welcomed the Secretary-General's initiative in establishing a High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. Iceland also called on all Member States to participate fully in the High Level Conference on World Food Security organized by FAO in Rome in June. It was also pertinent that the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to introduce and mainstream a human rights perspective into the analysis of the world food crisis.

ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED (Maldives) said that the Maldives was characterized by very small dispersed coral islands and was heavily reliant on food imports and vulnerable to the shortages of food supplies. There was no doubt that the price increases had significant implications for the Maldives and countries like it. This increase would also hinder the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The reasons for the soaring prices were many and complex. The Human Rights Council alone could not solve this problem, but it had to play its role to raise awareness of the human rights dimension to the problem as a vital way of increasing the moral and ethical imperative for the world to act decisively. The Maldives strongly supported the draft resolution.

PEKKA METSO (Finland) said Finland considered the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights was extremely important. It very much agreed with the Special Rapporteur, who in his background note for this Special Session, had noted that that the Human Rights Council should treat economic, social and cultural rights on an equal footing with civil and political rights. The current food crisis was threatening the enjoyment of the right to food, in particular the most vulnerable, such as those affected by HIV/AIDS, refugees and poor urban families who were forced to make trade offs between nutrition, health, education and production. In order to save lives and prevent a deepening of the crisis, the existing humanitarian safety nets programmes had to be scaled up, particularly in areas with high pockets of poverty and low opportunities for income generation. It was also crucial that they remained committed to combating climate change, which was likely to aggravate existing food production and consumption constraints in many developing countries.

OMER DAHAB FADOL MOHAMED (Sudan) said that the right to food was heavily linked to the right to life and to human dignity. Six million people died from malnutrition every year. The victims of hunger were much larger than those of war along history. The Human Rights Council had to deal with this matter as a priority. The international community had a moral responsibly to unite at large. All countries of the world were called upon to reach a practical response and to realise the right to food.

MICHEAL TIERNEY (Ireland) said the issue of food security was of particular importance to the Irish Government and had an essential place in the Irish mind because of its history. This Special Session was an appropriate preparation for the upcoming High-Level Conference on World Food Security to be held in Rome in 12 days' time. To overcome structural bottlenecks and other underlying causes of the crisis, it was necessary for the international community both to come together to make efforts to deal with immediate needs, as well to address long-term causes.

In Ireland they had developed a food security task force last year in order to advise the Government on its efforts to help combat hunger in the world. At the same time the Government had given greater priority to assisting agencies and organizations that were working on the ground to address the issue of rising food prices, notably the World Food Programme.

BRAD MCDONALD, of the International Monetary Fund, said that the rapid increase of food prices to such high levels was creating a serious humanitarian concern in many countries. The International Monetary Fund called for multilateral and international efforts to address the immediate crisis and the longer term food problems that would remain even after the crisis had dissipated. The International Monetary Fund was contributing to the global efforts. They were monitoring and analysing international food markets in order to help clarify the major factors behind the increase of food prices. International cooperation was important in order to address the issue.

JEAN-CLAUDE PIERRE (Haiti) said that Haiti, which had played an active role in the various regional and global meetings between 2003 and 2006 to improve food security in the world, was now one of the countries hardest hit by the current food crisis. The price of a sack of rice, the primary staple of the diet in Haiti, had doubled in the last month alone, in a country where 75 per cent of the country lived on less than $ 2 a day. To address the catastrophe, the President had announced a 15 per cent decrease in the price of a sack of rice, and was relaunching agricultural subsidies. Haiti was also working with the World Bank and the United Nations to alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people.

OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates) said that the current crisis had many reasons, but one was that this Council had been unable to secure the right to food on the ground for many years. The failure was linked to the fact that many countries had separated this right from other human rights. The right to food was one of the basic human rights, without it others were hollow. This crisis should not be allowed to impede the Millennium Development Goals. The United Arab Emirates hoped that all organizations would work towards addressing the situation. It hoped that the Council would be doing its outmost to confirm once again that poverty should be banned and to find a lasting solution for this scourge.

MUNA RADHI (Bahrain) said that Bahrain associated itself with statements made by the Arab Group, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement. The rise in prices of basic foodstuffs meant the world today was seeing a new type of hunger. The will of the international community was clear in the fact that 41 of the Council's 47 Member States had participated in the call for this Special Session. The right to food was now being violated in an unprecedented manner, and this would cast long shadows on all human rights, which were indivisible.

The international community had to move to counter the increase in food prices all over the world and to address the issue of food security. Bahrain hoped the draft resolution before the Council would be adopted by consensus and thereby would send a loud message to the international community that it did not remain silent in the face of this crisis.

RICHARD NEWFARMER, of the World Bank, said that the World Bank estimated that high food prices might already have pushed some 100 million people into poverty over the last two years. The doubling of food prices over three years could set back the fight against poverty by seven years. For more than 2 billion people, high food prices were now a matter of daily struggle. Rising food prices risked derailing recent gains in reducing malnutrition. It was necessary to focus on increased agricultural production as well as undertake analysis to better understand the impact of biofuels. The World Bank would support Governments in developing policies to respond to volatile food prices. Lending for agriculture would be doubled in Africa.

DHARAR ABDUL-RAZZAK RAZZOOQI (Kuwait) expressed Kuwait's great concern at the record world prices for most staple foods. The impact of such a crisis was, for the first time, spreading from the developing to the developed world. The increasing scarcity of staple food was the biggest looming problem. The World Bank had predicted global demand would double by 2030. What was happening right now was a wake-up call because they took the availability of food for granted. Dealing with this crisis, they did not seek to politicize this issue nor mark political scores. In realization of the rise in food prices, His Highness Emir Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had established "the fund for decent living in Islamic States", during the fourth international Islamic Economic Forum held in Kuwait from 30 April to 1 May 2008. His Highness had announced a contribution of $100 million to that fund, which aimed at creating economic partnerships among Muslim countries as well as eliminating poverty, hunger, malnutrition and destitution. In conclusion, in dealing with this crisis, they should not seek hotchpotch solutions but rather truly sustainable and global ones.

FLORIANA POLITO, of (Caritas Internationalis (International Confederation of Catholic Charities), on behalf of severals NGOs1, said that they welcomed the adoption of the resolution by consensus. The crisis was affecting millions of people. Children and elderly were the most affected. All States had the obligation to protect and respect human rights and to provide free access to food. The international community was called upon to participate in a spirit of cooperation in the upcoming Food and Agriculture Organization conference.

GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples, speaking on behalf of several NGOs2, said that the global food crisis was serious. It was not the fruit of natural causes. It had its roots in the past, and many experts were denouncing the results of damaging international interventions which did not take into account the long-term affects on the populations, as well as the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which had not only increased the indebtedness of developing countries, but had affected their ability to be food independent.

MELIK OZDEM, of Europe-Third World Centre, speaking on behalf of several NGOs3, no interpretation was available, a fait remarquer que les causes de la crise alimentaire sont connues de tous et a notamment fait référence à la promotion des méthodes agricoles néfastes et des cultures non adaptées, la privatisation des mécanismes publics de régulation et la promotion des exportations des produits agricoles à des prix de dumping. Les réponses apportées à cette crise devraient être à la hauteur de la gravité de la situation et ne peuvent se limiter aux actions humanitaires immédiates, a-t-il souligné. Il a estimé la composition de la cellule de crise du Secrétaire général non satisfaisante. Il a appelé les États à revoir leurs politiques économiques, financières et commerciales qui ont conduit à ce désastre. Il a relevé l’urgence de réformer de fond en comble les institutions financières internationales. Il n’est pas tolérable que ces institutions échappent au contrôle démocratique ni que leurs activités contreviennent au droit international, a-t-il insisté, avant d’estimer que ces institutions devraient être comptables de leurs actes.

FLAVIO VALENTE, of Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), said that they hoped that this event would increase the recognition of and accountability for massive violations of the right to adequate food worldwide which were among the main factors leading to the present crisis. There was an urgent need for international action to fulfil the right to food of the most vulnerable populations directly affected by the crisis. But urgent action was also necessary to address the policy measures that had aggravated the crisis. Differently from the diagnosis that the United Nations had presented at the creation of its Task Force on the World Food Crisis, they recognized that the present crisis was deeply rooted in decades of misguided international policies that had failed to create and maintain an enabling environment for States to respect, protect and fulfil the human right to adequate food. All hunger-generating policies had to be stopped. Among actions that the Human Rights Council should undertake were all necessary measures to investigate the responsibility of State and non-State actors in specific situations that had aggravated the food crisis, such as speculation and hoarding.

SIMIA AHMADI, of International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, said that they welcomed this first thematic Special Session that would increase the recognition of the equal value and interdependence of economic, social and cultural rights and of civil and political rights. It was hoped that this session would be central to bringing coordinated solutions to the unprecedented current food crisis in line with international human rights law. The number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition had continued to grow in the past decades in spite of the commitment of States at the United Nations Millennium Summit. The situation, exacerbated by soaring food prices, was the result of decades of misguided international policies. All members were called to take all measures as a matter of urgency to assist the population in need and to take all the necessary measures to ensure the realisation of the right to food.

AHMAD SOUEISSI, of North-South XXI, reiterated the point made by numerous speakers here today that the world food crisis mainly affected those living in the South, and was not a new crisis. Urgent action was needed to deal with the threat posed by rising food prices. Adopting resolutions did not add a single piece of bread to the mouths of the hungry. Changes were needed in policies and programmes, and, critically, the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They also needed to re-examine the policies of unbridled free trade imposed by countries of the north on countries of the south via the World Trade Organization.

MEGHNA ABRAHAM, of Amnesty International, said that the world food crisis was a global human rights emergency that had been fuelled by human rights violations, including the right to adequate food. It was crucial that the international community responded swiftly to prevent hunger and to identify and address the underlying causes of growing food insecurity. The current food crisis required concerted action by United Nations members. States should comply with their obligations to ensure that adequate food was available and accessible to combat hunger and to prioritise the most vulnerable.

JULIO AVELLA, of World Federation of Trade Unions, spoke in Spanish, no interpretation.

ELIAS KHOURI, of Union of Arab Jurists, no interpretation, a fait observer que l’élément qui entrave la réalisation des droits économiques sociaux et culturels est la politique de certaines grandes puissances d’agression qui s’arment, menacent de guerre et d’invasion et occupent certains pays dotés des richesses pétrolifères et gazières. Il a fustigé la domination exercée par une puissance à deux bras : un bras médiatique pour intoxiquer l’opinion publique et un bras militaire pour frapper et agresser des pays. Il a fait remarquer qu’une petite partie du budget de la guerre et de l’armement, si elle était investie dans des projets de développement ou en faveur de l’environnement, pourrait résoudre de nombreux problèmes. S’intéressant ensuite à la spéculation, il a fustigé les jeux de certains pays avec les règles du marché. Le baril de pétrole a atteint 130 dollars, a-t-il souligné. Ce fait ne s’explique pas par le manque d’offre mais par la spéculation, a-t-il asséné. Pour conclure, il a espéré que le travail de cette session extraordinaire pourra contribuer à mettre en œuvre des mécanismes adéquats pour assurer la réalisation du droit à l’alimentation.

CYNTHIA GERVAIS, of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy), said 842 million people suffered from hunger and malnutrition. That was also true in areas where there were no food shortages. As they were witnessing, access to adequate food was affected by many factors, including trade inequities and price speculation. Rights and Democracy wished to emphasis that the human rights framework offered added value in addressing the current crisis. Rights and Democracy recommended that States, inter alia, included a human rights dimension in formulating food policy; encouraged sufficient flexibility measures within World Trade Organization negotiations on agriculture; and ensured the early adoption of the Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

DENISE ALLEN, of World Vision International, said that the impact of food price increases was devastating. It threatened to push an additional 100 million people into poverty. Malnutrition in children under the age of two impeded their mental development. As families diverted their resources to pay for food, children might be withdrawn from schooling. States parties were called to remain faithful to their commitment under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

LAZARO PARY, of Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, on behalf of World Peace Council, no interpretation, a regretté que les déclarations se fassent sans interprétation, faisant valoir les difficultés que ce fait soulève pour les intervenants. Il a également fait part de sa préoccupation s’agissant des règles du Conseil et fait observer qu’il serait normal que le Conseil adopte la résolution après avoir entendu les organisations non gouvernementales. Il a souligné que la crise alimentaire mondiale et la hausse des prix des denrées alimentaires comme le blé touchent avec sévérité les populations, et plus particulièrement les peuples autochtones. Il a affirmé que cette crise est le résultat de la politique ultralibérale menée notamment par le Fonds monétaire international et la Banque mondiale et a fustigé la spéculation des aliments qui se pratique aujourd’hui. Il s’est également dit déçu face à l’égoïsme des politiques dans la lutte contre l’éradication de la pauvreté. Pour conclure, tout en saluant la tenue de cette session extraordinaire, il a fait observer que ce n’est pas par une résolution que la crise alimentaire se résoudra.

LUKAS MACHON, of the International Commission of Jurists, said that the current food crisis had hit hard the right to food and negatively impacted the adequacy of the standard of living of millions of people. States had a core obligation to alleviate the consequences and prevent the recurrence of similar crisis. States had to take necessary steps, individually and through international cooperation to ensure that everyone was free from hunger and could enjoy as soon as possible the right to adequate food. Alarming was also the violent suppression in several countries of the protests against the deteriorating food situation and abusing the situation to reinforce repressive and emergency measures.

Concluding Remarks

Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said that many had wondered today what the role of the Human Rights Council was in this crisis, when so many actors were already addressing the situation. Some States had said that they were duplicating that work, but the risk was that other organizations which did not have the right to food in their mandate might forget the right to food when addressing the situation. The second message delivered was the national obligation of each State towards its population and the international obligation of all States towards all peoples of the world. A third message, in the wide range of factors, one that was underestimated, was the role of large agricultural cooperatives. Transnational corporations had an immense power on the market and were dictating their prices to small farmers. This was a situation of concern. One question was whether to improve distribution and production. Both simultaneously should be done. The lack of purchasing power was not the only factor that had to be addressed. Supply had to be supported. Agrofuels might be a danger. Climate change was also a source of concern. Sub-Saharan Africa would loose millions of hectares because of desertification. These were important threats to food security. Emergency measures were not enough.

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1Joint statement: Caritas Internationalis (International Confederation of Catholic Charities); International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development; Dominicans for Justice and Peace; International Catholic Migration Commission; Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund; International Catholic Child Bureau; Franciscans International; and the Center for Migration Studies of New York.

2Joint statement on behalf of: Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples; Europe-Third World Centre; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; and France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand.

3Joint statement on behalf of: Europe-Third World Centre; Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; and France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand.

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