TOYAKO, Japan – Following is a text of the G8 statement on food:
1. We are deeply concerned that the steep rise in global food prices coupled with availability problems in a number of developing countries is threatening global food security. The negative impacts of this recent trend could push millions more back into poverty, rolling back progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We have taken additional steps to assist those suffering from food insecurity or hunger, and today renew our commitment to address this multifaceted and structural crisis.
2. We are determined to take all possible measures in a coordinated manner, and since January 2008 have committed, for short-, medium- and long-term purposes, over US$10 billion to support food aid, nutrition interventions, social protection activities and measures to increase agricultural output in affected countries. In the short-term, we are addressing urgent needs of the most vulnerable people. In this regard, we welcome the contributions, which others have made to address the global food crisis. We call on other donors to participate along with us in making commitments, including through the World Food Programme (WFP), to meet remaining immediate humanitarian needs and to provide access to seeds and fertilisers for the upcoming planting season. We will also look for opportunities to help build up local agriculture by promoting local purchase of food aid. We underline the importance of strengthening the effective, timely and needs-based delivery of food assistance and increasing agricultural productivity.
3. Responding effectively to this crisis requires leadership, ambition and an appropriate scale of resources. The international community needs a fully coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue in an integrated fashion from short- to medium- and long-term. We welcome in this regard the outcomes of relevant international fora including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) High-Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome and the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) IV in Yokohama. We commend the leadership of the United Nations (UN) and Bretton Woods institutions in convening the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis to establish the “Comprehensive Framework for Action”, and urge the relevant stakeholders to swiftly implement plans to achieve prompt delivery for countries in need.
4. To coordinate and implement this effectively, we will work with the international community in forming a global partnership on agriculture and food, involving all relevant actors, including developing country governments, the private sector, civil society, donors, and international institutions. This partnership, strengthening and building on existing UN and other international institutions, could provide efficient and effective support for country-led processes and institutions and for local leadership, draw on the expertise in existing international organisations and, in particular, ensure monitoring and assessment on progress. The UN should facilitate and provide coordination. As part of this partnership, a global network of high-level experts on food and agriculture would provide science-based analysis, and highlight needs and future risks.
5. We are committed to thorough reform of the FAO to enhance its effectiveness in helping to ensure food security for all. In this context, we expect the next FAO extraordinary conference to provide effective follow-up to the Rome Food Summit and outline concrete steps to enhance the effectiveness of the FAO.
6. Food security also requires a robust world market and trade system for food and agriculture. Rising food prices are adding inflationary pressures and generating macro-economic imbalances especially for some low-income countries. In this regard, we will work toward the urgent and successful conclusion of an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced Doha Round. It is also imperative to remove export restrictions and expedite the current negotiation at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) aimed at introducing stricter disciplines on these trade actions, which prolong and aggravate the situation, and hinder humanitarian purchases of food commodities. Furthermore, we continue to promote the development of open and efficient agricultural and food markets, and support monitoring of the functioning of such markets by relevant agencies, with a view to minimising the volatility of food prices and pre-empting future crises. We also call for countries with sufficient food stocks to make available a part of their surplus for countries in need, in times of significantly increasing prices and in a way not to distort trade. We will explore options on a coordinated approach on stock management, including the pros and cons of building a ‘virtual’ internationally coordinated reserve system for humanitarian purposes.
7. We fully recognise the need for a wide range of mid- to long-term measures to tackle the issue of food security and poverty, inter alia, the importance of stimulating world food production and increasing investment in agriculture. To this end, we will:
a) Reverse the overall decline of aid and investment in the agricultural sector, and to achieve significant increases in support of developing country initiatives, including – in Africa – through full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP);
b) Support CAADP’s goal of 6.2 percent annual growth in agricultural productivity, and work toward the goal of doubling production of key food staples in African countries meeting CAADP criteria in five to ten years in a sustainable manner, with particular emphases on fostering smallholder agriculture and inclusive rural growth;
c) Promote agricultural research and development, and the training of a new generation of developing country scientists and experts focusing on the dissemination of improved, locally adapted and sustainable farming technologies, in particular via the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and through partnerships such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA);
d) Support improvement of infrastructure, including irrigation, transportation, supply chain, storage and distribution systems and quality control;
e) Assist in the development of food security early warning systems;
f) Encourage the efforts of international financial institutions including regional development banks and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); in this regard, we particularly welcome the World Bank’s recent announcement of a new US$1.2 billion rapid financing facility to address immediate needs, and the work of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the needs of food-importing countries facing balance of payments difficulties, including through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and the review of the Exogenous Shocks Facility;
g) Accelerate research and development and increase access to new agricultural technologies to boost agricultural production; we will promote science-based risk analysis including on the contribution of seed varieties developed through biotechnology;
h) Support country-led development strategies in adapting to the impact of climate change, combating desertification, and promoting conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, while intensifying our efforts to address climate change;
i) Ensure the compatibility of policies for the sustainable production and use of biofuels with food security and accelerate development and
commercialisation of sustainable second-generation biofuels from non-food plant materials and inedible biomass; in this regard, we will work together with other relevant stakeholders to develop science-based benchmarks and indicators for biofuel production and use;
j) Promote good governance in developing countries with particular emphasis on their food security and market policies; and
k) Mainstream food security objectives into the development policies of donors and recipient countries, reaffirming our common commitment to the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
8. We have tasked a G8 Experts Group to monitor the implementation of our commitments, and identify other ways in which the G8 can support the work of the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis and work with other interested parties for the next UN General Assembly to realize the global partnership.
9. We also ask our ministers of agriculture to hold a meeting to contribute to developing sound proposals on global food security.
10. We will review the progress on this issue at our next Summit.
Leaders of the world’s top industrial powers, The Group of Eight (G8), met in Japan from July 7-9. The G8 brings together Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. – Nampa- Reuters-AFP-Sapa