Postponement FAO Summit Shows Equals Lack Of Engagement

PRESS RELEASE

POSTPONEMENT OF FAO SUMMIT EQUALS LACK OF ENGAGEMENT TO RESOLVE WORLDWIDE HUNGER PROBLEM Via Campesina observes with great concern the absence of political will of governments to carry on with the FAO Summit. After a long negotiating process between the Italian government and the FAO, the decision was taken to postpone the Summit to 2002. This shows the evident lack of political will by the most powerfull governments to resolve the worldwide problem of hunger and poverty. At the same time a strong determination is shown to realize the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Qatar. Once again international trade has been given higher priority than the most urgent problems of our societies. More than 70 percent of the rural population lives in poverty and hunger. The current industrial model of food production which is oriented towards exportation is contributing to the poverty and exclusion of millions of farmers, both men and women, from their lands. The policies of liberalisation and privatization put forward by WTO are responsible for this situation. The answer to resolve hunger is not « more international trade ». The solution is to include more farmers into food production. It is urgent for the governments to show political will and to give at a national and an international level support to sustainable food production, concentrated on the domestic consumption. This will be the only solution to fight hunger in an effective way. Vía Campesina rejects WTO and considers it as not being the appropriate forum to resolve the international aspects of food sovereignty. Via Campesina demands FAO to stick out it’s neck in respect of the worldwide agrarian crisis and to take the initiative to defend the right to peoples’ food sovereignty, to eat healthy food and to have access to productive resources like land, water and seeds as the agency of the United Nations on food and agriculture. FAO has the obligation to defend these rights against the interests of trade imposed by WTO. Via Campesina is prepared to open up a dialogue with FAO, but only if this contributes to the strengthening of the commitment of FAO to defend the rights mentionned above as well as concrete changes in the current policies. Via Campesina demands governments to show their political will, to make the necessary resources available and to create the conditions so that FAO and the other agencies really contribute to the development of foodproduction and to rules and policies at the international level that guarantee the rights of farmers regarding access to means of productions, markets and technology. A crucial issue the governments are negotiating under the auspicion of FAO is the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (see also letters of Via Campesina of 24-4-2001 and 19-6-2001).The negotiations are in a critical fase and one of the key issues which is still not resolved, is the issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR’s) on plant genetic resources. In order to be able to maintain a farmer or peasant based food production, it is absolutely necessary to forbid IPR’s on these resources. Via Campesina demands FAO and the governments worldwide to treat the serious problems of food insecurity in the world with responsibility and asks for international commitments at the highest level. For that reason it is urgent to organise the FAO Summit without any further delay.

LET’S GLOBALIZE HOPE, LET’S GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE
International Co-ordinating Committee of Via Campesina

Tegucigalpa, 1-11-2001

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