Food Security Summit Calls for National Governments to Act Now

Only national solutions can solve food security problems, UN director says.

The World Summit on Food Security was a forum for raising awareness and encouraging international action, said Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, at the end of the event.

“The responsibility for ensuring food security, agricultural and rural development is the responsibility of each government and its people,” Diouf said during the closing press conference today. “It’s not the responsibility of the FAO and certainly not the responsibility of a summit. A summit does not have land. A summit does not have farmers. A summit does not have a budget to invest. A summit is a framework for discussion and debate to arrive at consensus solutions in the face of common challenges at the global level.”

National responsibility for food security is one of the principles in the summit declaration, which states that plans for food security must be “nationally articulated, designed, owned and led.”

Diouf said the summit was successful in creating consensus on three issues:

1)      The need to reverse the trend of under-investment in agriculture

2)      The need to eradicate hunger, not just decrease it

3)      The need for a more coherent governance system

It is now up to national governments to act on the proposals, Diouf said.

Concerns about food security have become more prevalent in recent years, especially after the 2007-08 food crisis when international prices reached record highs and caused riots in several cities. Prices have fallen because of the subsequent economic crisis, but are still above historical levels.

Climate change, population growth, lack of investment in agriculture and farmland acquisition abroad are factors that prompted the FAO to convene the food security summit.

Summaries of roundtable discussions held during the three-day summit will be released soon, according to FAO officials.

Read Circle of Blue’s coverage of day one and day two of the summit.

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