The World Food Summit, November, Rome 2009

When compared with donor focus on “the food crisis” that was so evident last year,  there has been a notable lack of news, comment and analysis surrounding the World Food Summit that took place at FAO last week in Rome.  Few heads of State were present, possibly in part due to the world’s economic woes and in part due to international focus on Copenhagen.

Earlier in the week there was criticism that farmers groups were underrepresented http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49278.  A more general discussion surrounds the key role Civil Society Organisations http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/09-11-15-world-food-summit-parallel-view have in the process. 

The Oxfam blog says:

“In their Declaration to the WFS, farmer’s organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) from Burkina Faso, including the Farmer’s Confederation of Burkina Faso and the Permanent Secretariat of NGOs in Burkina Faso, write: “This summit must take into account the concerns of farmers’ organisations and CSOs. If civil society’s concerns had been taken into account during the [last] global food summit, the world would not have undergone the 2008 food crisis and there would have been no need to hold the second summit.”

But “energy” around the summit itself seems to be lacking.  The FAO has published on its website a “World Food Summit Newsletter” which includes the summits plan of action and list of commitments.   The closing statements can be read, or watched on the FAO site linked here, they contain only polite formalities.  What changes might we expect to see in the short and medium term?

It is worth noting that in October 2008 that Kofi Annan accused rich countries of reneging on promises that were made in 2005 to help feed the world’s hungry. He said that wealthy nations should not use the global financial crisis as a pretext for not meeting their commitments.

The BBC reports that:

The head of the UN food agency, Jacques Diouf, says he is not satisfied with the final declaration of the UN world food summit in Rome…”I am not satisfied that some of the concrete proposals I made were not accepted. There was no consensus on this and I regret it.”

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