Home » General » Text adopted – Combating hunger – P5_TA(2002)0366 – Thursday, 4 July 2002 – Strasbourg – Final edition

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the conclusions reached by the 183 nations attending the United Nations World Food Summit in Rome between 10 and 13 June 2002, and to those previously reached by 185 nations at the 1996 World Food Summit,

–   having regard to the Development Council Declaration of 8 November 2001 on the Preparations for the UN Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), the conclusions reached by EU Foreign Ministers on 17 June 2002 in Luxembourg on the World Food Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the conclusions reached by the fifteen EU Heads of State and Government meeting in Seville on 21 and 22 June 2002,

–   having regard to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–   having regard to Articles 24 and 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–   having regard to the conclusions reached at the G-8 Summit in Kananaskis, Canada, between 26 and 28 June 2002, which focused on cooperation with Africa and the New Partnership for Africa"s Development (NEPAD),

–   having regard to the forthcoming United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg from 2 to 11 September 2002,

–   having regard to its position of 4 May 2000 on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Community of the Food Aid Convention 1999(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2001 on the European Community"s development policy(2) , as well as to previous resolutions on debt reduction for developing countries and the coherence of EU policies – particularly its resolutions of 7 February 2002(3) and 25 April 2002(4) on the financing of development aid, and of 16 May 2002(5) on the United Nations World Food Summit in Rome,

–   having regard to the above-mentioned Development Council Declaration, which confirms "the great importance which the European Union attaches to the success of the UN conference on FfD and the World Summit for Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002",

–   having regard to the Marrakesh agricultural agreements, to the resumption of agricultural negotiations since 1 January 2000 and to the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Doha,

–   having regard to the conclusions reached at the UN Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, between 18 March and 22 March 2002,

–   having regard to OECD documents on the role of development cooperation on the threshold of the 21st century, the UN Millennium Declaration, the G-8 report on poverty reduction and economic development, and resolutions adopted at the Politicians" and Governors" Jubilee Assembly,

–   having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly"s resolution on security of food supplies adopted on 1 November 2001,

A.   whereas every human being has the right to healthy and nutritious food and clean water, and a fundamental right to be protected from famine; and whereas water and biodiversity must be considered a public good,

B.   whereas "food security and sustainable rural development strategies" are one of the six priorities of the European Union"s development policy, and should be promoted by all international economic and financial institutions; whereas the World Food Summit has done little to address the problem of world hunger and has mostly repeated promises made in 1996,

C.   whereas six nations in Africa – Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique – face an immediate crisis, with 14 million people suffering from food shortages and famine,

D.   whereas the 2002 World Food Summit is one of three key United Nations meetings to focus on eradicating poverty and hunger, together with the Monterrey UN Conference on Financing for Development in March 2002, which laid the foundations for additional funds, and the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002,

E.   whereas the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome set the deadline of 2015 by which to halve the number of people in the world - currently estimated at 815 million - who suffer from hunger, and whereas that deadline has now been declared unrealistic by both the Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, and the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan,

F.   whereas the 2002 World Food Summit in June has to be considered a failure, and whereas the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002, focusing on the need to integrate sustainable development and environmental policies, constitutes the key to progress towards action instead of unrealistic commitments,

G.   whereas, at the World Food Summit, the Commission should have committed itself to a coherent EU strategy as regards its agricultural and fisheries policy and its trade policy within the framework of the WTO,

H.   whereas an International Alliance against Hunger and Poverty – including contributions to the FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety – will require reform of the EU"s development policy, which is funded through two separate instruments (the European Development Fund and the EU budget), so as to ensure better coordination in policy formulation, parliamentary scrutiny and implementation between the Commission, Parliament and the Member States and other international organisations,

I.   whereas there is a need to reform the FAO"s food aid policy and management of budgets in order to improve transparency and efficiency so that the 2002 World Food Summit could result in concrete action,

J.   whereas EU Leaders at the European Council in Seville concluded by stressing the need for a successful outcome at the World Summit on Sustainable Development by adopting "in Johannesburg clear and concrete political commitments with a precise time frame",

1.  Deplores the fact that the World Food Summit has ended with no new commitment and denounces the unending mantras of world summits committed to development issues that produce few results; considers that the decisions taken at Monterrey should have led to a renewed effort by all nations attending the World Food Summit in Rome;

2.  Warns that if pledges are not to be worthless they must be backed by clear and concrete political commitments at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and accompanied by a precise timetable;

3.  Regrets that only two out of the EU"s fifteen leaders attended the World Food Summit in Rome and demands that all EU leaders attend the Johannesburg Summit in September;

4.  Whilst recognising the special legal status of UN meetings, regrets that the President of Zimbabwe – Robert Mugabe – was able to use the UN World Food Summit in Rome to flout EU smart sanctions, and finds it particularly ironic that President Mugabe should address the conference on food security whilst his own ZANU-PF policies are destroying Zimbabwe"s agricultural base;

5.  Urges the European Council and Commission – working with the United Nations World Food Programme and other international donors – to draw up an emergency plan to tackle the growing crisis of famine and food shortages now facing around 14 million Africans;

6.  Deplores instances in which governments of food-insecure countries have let military expenditure prevail over the acute nutritional needs of their inhabitants, and urges the European Council and Commission, when preparing country strategies, to encourage a reallocation of funds;

7.  Reaffirms that food aid must be reserved for emergencies and granted solely in the form of donations – giving preference to local purchasing and respecting nutritional balance and food habits whenever possible – and that such food aid must be accompanied by measures which allow this aid to be phased out whilst rebuilding the productive capacity of the regions affected;

8.  Recognises the impact of the HIV-AIDS pandemic and other communicable diseases and urges the European Council and Commission to ensure that food security policies take account of these critical health issues, as well as the need for education about prevention and cure;

9.  Urges the European Council and Commission to ensure that decisions taken at the UN Conference on FfD, the World Food Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development result in concerted international action to eradicate hunger, poverty and disease, whilst promoting the key principles of good governance and the rule of law;

10.  Welcomes the World Food Summit"s call for industrialised nations to explore new and innovative ways to promote cooperation and technology transfer in the areas of agriculture, water management and sanitation, whilst recognising that developing nations should be free to choose which technologies to apply; calls on the EU and international donors to encourage equitable access to land, to increase investment in rural economies, and to improve technology transfer and technical training;

11.  Underlines the need to encourage micro-finance and low-interest credit to help rural economic development for farmers, access to land, local fisheries, fish farming, and the encouragement of local food processing facilities in developing countries and calls for the promotion of and respect for non-industrial fishing and local aquaculture;

12.  Emphasises the need to apply the rule of law, democracy and good governance when issues such as land reform are being determined and welcomes the commitment to this made by EU leaders at the Seville European Council Meeting;

13.  Believes that a binding international code of conduct on the right to adequate food should be drawn up as soon as possible;

14.  Deplores the catastrophic impact of the recent US Farm Bill on developing nations; believes that trade barriers, subsidies and other trade-distorting measures, particularly in sectors of special export interest to developing countries such as agriculture, should be assessed with a view to their being reduced;

15.  Calls on the EU to ask its industrial partners to open up their markets to products from the 49 least-developed countries to match the European Union"s "Everything But Arms" proposals, and to ensure in the Doha Trade Round that agriculture in developing nations may be protected against low world market prices; calls on the Commission, along with EU and ACP ministers, to make food security and access to resources the main focus of negotiations over future ACP-EU trade systems;

16.  Calls on the current WTO round to focus its attention on the need for development – including food security – and draws attention to the fact that this will mean adjustments being made to the EU"s common agricultural policy and common fisheries policy in order to take account of these objectives; condemns the growing protectionism practised by some developed countries in favour of their own agricultural products, which runs counter to the WTO rules on free trade;

17.  Believes that the European Union must ensure that its food production standards do not create a barrier to trade for developing countries and urges the EU to work with the FAO both to agree reasonable derogations in this area, and to give financial support to enable such countries to meet the criteria applied by the EU and other developed nations;

18.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to urge the United Nations to organise a conference of FAO member countries at which the FAO's structure, management, budget and operations may be carefully reviewed and rationalised so as to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness of FAO action alongside those of other international donors;

19.  Calls on the Council, Commission and Member States to provide clear financial pledges to the Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety and to undertake the necessary institutional reforms with a view to facilitating greater cooperation between international and bilateral donors so that development aid is delivered efficiently; in order to achieve this, calls on the Council to agree to incorporate the European Development Fund into the EU budget so as to establish a transparent overall financial framework for EU development assistance which will enable EU aid to be administered effectively and without duplication;

20.  Believes that the FAO should play an active role in determining and implementing the international legal instruments required for the management and control of the exploitation of shared resources; welcomes the decision at the 2002 World Food Summit to set up an Intergovernmental Working Group to evaluate over two years a set of guidelines to support Member States" efforts to achieve the right to adequate food, but demands that this must involve civil society and that the proceedings be open and transparent;

21.  Asks that the Council and Commission support and promote the establishment of water and biodiversity as a public good at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and candidate countries, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth, OECD and Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Security Council, United Nations Economic and Social Council, European Investment Bank, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and the Directors-General of the Food and Agriculture Programme, World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

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