FIAN’s press release on World Food Security in Rome

Rome, 01/06/2008 – At the eve of the High Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) declared a People’s State of Emergency.

“Governments and intergovernmental organisations have to refrain from any measures that might violate the human right to food and increase hunger”, says Flavio Valente of the FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), the international human rights organisation for the right to food. “The food riots of the last months demonstrate that hunger can not wait, it requires an immediate response. This is what the world is expecting from the Food Summit in the next days in Rome.”

In their statement, ‘No More Failures as Usual’, 800 organizations around the world call for a radical shift in agricultural policies building on the capacities of small scale farmers to feed themselves and the populations of their countries. “Some governments and the World Bank try to abuse the food crisis to push for further trade liberalisation in order to enable cheap food imports”, says Daniel Gomez from FIAN Netherlands. “The Summit must send out a clear message, that we do not need more of the same medicine that undermined the capacities of poor countries to produce their own food.”

The current draft of the official summit declaration calls for a “result oriented dialogue” on the impact of agrofuels on food security. “It would be a shame for the international community to come out with flaw and unspecific calls for dialogues. What we need is an immediate halt to any public promotion of agrofuels production that endangers the right to food” says Eneias da Rosa from FIAN Brasil. “In Brazil, the adverse effects of large scale agrofuels production are obvious and well documented: evictions of local food producing communities, slavery work in sugar and soja plantations, price explosions in local markets and deforestation that will further aggravate climate change.”

“FIAN welcomes the new commitment of states and development agencies to promote agriculture in the south”, stresses Ujjaini Halim from FIAN West Bengal. “However the FAO support for a New Green Revolution in Africa is a dangerous game. As the Indian experience demonstrates, this strategy creates a market for transnational seed companies like Monsanto, while increasing small farmers’ dependency on costly and ecologically unsustainable inputs. The FAO must take seriously the voluntary guidelines on the right to food that its member states formally approved in 2004. Small food producers have to be in the driver seat of their own development.”

Flavio Valente concludes: “We recall the governments, gathered in Rome these days, that adequate food is a human right. To take any measures necessary to fight hunger is not just a matter of charity, but a clear obligation under international law.”

Read the Joint Declaration of CSOs addressed to Governments on World Food Crisis “The World doesn’t need more of the same medicine”