|SOMMET D'EVIAN 2003|
G8 members met today to identify measures to be taken to help tackle urgent food shortages and to address immediate and long-term food security needs, especially in Africa. G8 members have heard the call for action by African leaders , multilateral agencies and NGOs.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan opened the meeting, underlining the urgent need for a strategy to break the pattern of recurrent food crises and bring about a Green Revolution in Africa, and highlighting three intersecting challenges: food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and an emaciated capacity to govern and provide services.
The meeting was co-chaired by France as Chair of the G8 (led by French Minister Pierre-André Wiltzer), and the United States, which initially proposed the meeting. They and their counterparts from Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union and a representative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) heard a report from World Food Program Executive Director James Morris about the critical food situation Africa is facing and the need to strengthen emergency response mechanisms, including preparedness, mitigation and prevention. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Lennart Bage, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch-Brown, and a representative of World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn all reported efforts their institutions are undertaking to promote agricultural development in Africa, with special stress on the need to improve water management, rural markets and infrastructure, soil quality, research and technology.
While taking immediate action to avert humanitarian crisis, the G8 recognised the need for longer-term solutions to food insecurity. With poverty and food insecurity prevailing mostly in rural areas, it is essential to address more systematically rural and agricultural development concerns in the context of national development and donor response strategies, based on a comprehensive approach including addressing HIV-AIDS, education, and the empowerment of women.
G8 members agree on the need to consider flexible, efficient approaches to specific food crisis situations. There is a need for donors to examine ways of using food aid, to be more responsive to the needs of the recipients, avoid distortions and strengthen local markets, mitigate and prevent future crises, including by promoting agricultural production capacities and rural development.
In order to ensure long term food security, and while recognising that the primary responsibility for food security lies with national governments, G8 members are determined to support African governments, including through continued engagement with NEPAD in line with the Africa Action Plan, to put in place appropriate policies and strategies to improve both access to and availability of food.
The G-8 representatives confirmed their firm intention to continue building on these ideas before the G-8 Summit meeting in Evian, France, on June 1-3.
Source: Official G8 Evian Summit website
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