SA pleased with the Food Summit

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa is satisfied by the outcomes of this week's World Food Summit, including the adoption of a declaration that serves as a basis for addressing the challenge of hunger faced by a billion people worldwide.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who has concluded his visit to Rome where he participated in the summit, said the declaration set the tone for investments in agriculture and urges governments to support small scale farming which was a step in the right direction.

Heads of State and Government attending the summit committed to take decisive action in supporting and implementing the declaration.

"In adopting this declaration we agree to undertake all necessary actions required at national, regional and global levels and by all states and governments to halt immediately the increase in - and to significantly reduce - the number of people suffering from hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity," reads the declaration.

"We will reinforce all our efforts to meet by 2015 the targets of Millennium Development Goal 1 and the World Food Summits. We commit to take action towards sustainably eradicating hunger at the earliest possible date."

In his address to the summit, the Deputy President echoed the linkage between food security and climate security.

He affirmed that the outcomes of the summit were also a function of the outcome of the two forthcoming important events, the Copenhagen Summit on climate change and the conclusion of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha round of talks.

"If the solution is found in Copenhagen [on climate challenges], it protects and enhances the possibility for retention of fresh produce and on the other hand, if Doha is concluded and the terms of trade are not loaded negatively against developing countries, or products from developing countries, then the market will be available for producers in the developing countries," said Motlanthe.

Meanwhile, as the number of chronically hungry people tops one billion, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WPF) is calling on ordinary citizens, worldwide, to mobilize through the "Billion for a Billion" campaign to end hunger.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a statement said food security was not only a matter of humanitarian assistance and agricultural development; it was a matter of national security, peace and stability.

"Without food, people revolt, migrate or die. This is the emergency issue of our generation, and we stand at a critical crossroads. At this moment in time we must galvanize all nations, all people and all resources do defeat hunger."

"A Billion for a Billion" (www.wfp.org/1billion) is an online campaign designed to make a link between the 'on-line haves' and the 'have nots'."

It is based on the idea that more than a billion people go hungry, but more than a billion people are on the internet.

"If everyone with plenty gave just $1.50 or 1 Euro a week, those without food would have enough to eat," Sheeran said.

"Together we need to make sure that the hungry eat today - and are able to feed themselves tomorrow. It's time to act."

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