PARLIAMENTARY MESSAGE TO THE "WORLD FOOD SUMMIT: FIVE YEARS LATER"
Approved unanimously by the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
at its 170th session (Marrakech, 23 March 2002)
Five years ago, members of parliaments met in Rome on the occasion of the World Food Summit to express their support for the objectives and recommendations of the Rome Declaration and the Plan of Action. To provide a concrete contribution by the elected representatives of the people to the implementation of the Summit's seven major commitments essential to the achievement of food security, the Inter-Parliamentary Union held a follow-up conference with the support of FAO in Rome in 1998, where members of parliament reiterated their pledge to provide the necessary legislative framework for the implementation process.
It is therefore with grave concern that we, elected representatives of the people, note five years after the holding of the World Food Summit that the declared goal of reducing the number of undernourished people in the world by half by 2015 appears to be very distant.
Only few nations have taken purposeful measures on the scale required to meet this goal. Resources allocated to programmes of agricultural and rural development, which are essential for hunger reduction, are largely falling both at national and international levels; the number of undernourished people remains unacceptably high and the rate at which their numbers are being reduced is unacceptably low.
The holding of the "World Food Summit: five years later" in Rome in June 2002 presents a unique opportunity to address the lack of progress and step up the pace of change.
As parliamentarians representing our constituencies in cities, towns and villages, in both densely populated and remote areas, we pledge to enact legislation which will promote the adoption of national targets for hunger reduction and their implementation in each of our countries. We also call upon Heads of State and Government to take an uncompromising look at the obstacles and impediments to the implementation of the World Food Summit Plan of Action and to take the political steps necessary to overcome them.
In particular, we consider it important for the Heads of State and Government gathering in Rome for "World Food Summit: five years later" to:
- Reaffirm the right of every person to adequate food and to be free from hunger, as firmly established in international human rights law;
- Take urgent action, nationally and internationally, to ensure that the target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by 2015 is attained;
- Commit additional resources towards reducing the threat of recurrent famine in the world, in particular through better planning of bilateral and multilateral development assistance in support of agriculture and rural development, including support to national targets for hunger reduction in developing countries;
- Agree on debt relief and debt cancellation measures to developing countries, especially the least developed ones, in a way that enhances growth and alleviation of poverty, in particular rural poverty, which stands out as a major determinant of food insecurity;
- Develop national sustainable food strategies, consistent with the resources and capacities of each respective country to implement progressively the right of all persons to adequate food and to be free from hunger, and put into practice targeted programmes and policies aimed at the most needy and vulnerable, including women, infants and schoolchildren, and supporting farming in each nation, while observing fair market practices;
- In the context of multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture, pursue the establishment of terms and conditions which are conducive to improving food security, in particular for those who are currently deprived of adequate access to nutrition; and ensure that food surpluses available in developing countries can be sold without hindrance to developed countries.
On behalf of the world parliamentary community, the Inter-Parliamentary Union calls on the participants of the "World Food Summit: five years later" to take action in the interest of real progress towards ensuring the fundamental right of every man, woman and child to be free from hunger. We believe that the international community has both the vision and the resources to make a significant change for the better, and we reaffirm our pledge to work tirelessly, together with governments, towards this end.
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