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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Madrid High-level Meeting on Food Security for All

The United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis held a meeting in Madrid on the 26th & 27th January 2009 to chart the action on the continuing global food crisis.

UN officials and representatives of international agencies met for two days of discussions. The opening part of the meeting was made up of technical discussions and these were followed by a ministerial session chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Spain's Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapareto.

Prior to the Madrid meeting David Nabarro, coordinator of the Secretary-General’s task force on the global food security crisis said “The worldwide economic crash did not put an end to the food crisis; instead, it complicates and exacerbates the situation, price volatility and a global credit crunch are discouraging new plantings and new investment, while food prices in many poor countries remain at historically high levels”.

Those that attended came from more than 126 countries and included included 62 Ministers of national governments, civil society, trade unions, private sector, academia, donor agencies and multilateral organizations. They worked together to review progress achieved since the Rome High Level Conference (June 2008), to agree on ways to move forward, quickly, with short-, medium- and long-term actions, and to establish mechanisms for better coordination.

As a conclusion of the meeting a Joint Statement was made, the first two paragraphs being;

1.Participants reaffirmed the conclusions of the World Food Summit in 1996 and the objectives confirmed by the World Food Summit five years later, to achieve food security for all through an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger in all countries, with an immediate view to reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than 2015, as well as their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Participants also reaffirmed the Declaration of the High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy convened in Rome in June 2008.

2.They reaffirmed that States have a primary responsibility to make their best efforts to respect, ensure, fulfil and promote the right to have regular and permanent access to adequate food, especially of children under-five years old, women and other vulnerable groups. In aiming to the right to food, the special problems faced by women, female small farmers need to be addressed effectively; States are encouraged to seek inspiration from the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security adopted by the FAO General Council in 2004.

Attendees were determined to ensure access to adequate food for all in a sustainable manner, to improve nutrition, to stimulate food production, to strengthen social protection systems, and to increase investment in all areas related to food security. They are committed to ensure that food security for all becomes a reality.

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