12 October, 2008
Resolution on Agriculture and Nutrition in a changing world (PC2)

The XXII UEF Congress meeting in Paris on 10-12 October 2008,

evaluated

the positive trends in world economy trained by several emerging regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America that let a growing population to participate in the production of the world gross income;

alarmed, at the same time,  


- for the wide government spending in armaments and wars and the scarce international commitment in eradicating hunger in all countries, as 862 million people have still insufficient nutrition and 88 million are fully assisted by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization);  

- for the negative impact of soaring food prices, bio-energy productions, climate change, financial instability and speculation on the most vulnerable countries and populations;

- for the recent diminution in foodstuffs stocks consequent to the general lack of investments, and persistent local wars and political unrest in the less developed countries;

deeply convinced

- that fast economic development and demographic growth in emerging countries will continue, influencing growing urbanization, cultivable land reduction and diet change (more meat, cereals and dairies) in these areas just as occurred in our industrialized countries;

- that this phenomena will rapidly convert traditional self sufficient economies, like China and India, in large net food importers and increase tensions on the foodstuffs markets and prices;

- that economic development in industrialized countries, on the contrary, will continue at a reduced rate while theirs older and older population will shift to a light alimentation (more fruits and vegetables) reducing by this way their consume;

underlines   

- that exceeding productions and export capacities in basic commodities are concentrated in the OCDE countries (cereals, meat, dairies and oilseeds) and Argentina and Brazil;

- that tariff barriers and subsidies are spread all over the world, according to the FAO reports,  and in particular among developing countries, consequently impeding reciprocal “South-South” fair trade and cooperation in promoting a local modern and competitive agriculture;

- that the commodity international trade is very limited to cereals, oilseeds, cocoa, coffee, tea, sugar, and tropical fruits;

- that the commodity international trade is managed by a limited group of multinational companies which control the whole production-freight-consume chain, depressing prices paid to farmers and soaring prices paid by consumers, and that the final retail sector is concentrated in about thirty companies that influence standard final consumes all over the world in processed food and diet;

recalls
 
- that trade liberalization in agriculture, as promoted by WTO, in the present above said framework, is a false issue and cannot be considered a lever for the domestic development of many countries;

- that the international prices of  commodities are instable and influenced by seasonal crops and speculations, and their price volatility affects consumer prices too;

- the necessity not to abandon to the anarchic market forces the basic production factors as land, labour and capital which need to be ruled and preserved as “public goods” of the humanity;  

- that in our global economy the issue at stake is to affirm the “alimentary sovereignty” of all the citizens and populations, all over the world, and their right to a sufficient and healthy nutrition as a first step for the acknowledgement of further individual and civil rights to education, freedom, democracy and political participation (see the concept of “Human development index” introduced by Amartya Sen);  

- that the effective response to these complex issues is to build a local governmental capacity in homogenous continental regions, just as Europe did through its integration process, and enhance domestic production and infraregional trade in Asia, Africa and Latin America for a secure foodstuffs supply to their growing populations and promotion of a domestic food processing industry;

stresses  

- that the European Economic Community successfully adopted in the sixties the Common Agricultural Policy;

- that, notwithstanding its deviations, owed to European Union (EU)’s intergovernmental rule and vested interests, CAP remains a model of free market and public intervention for ruling agriculture at a supranational level;

- that the Mc Sharry (1993) and Fischler (2003) reforms reduced subsidies and stocks, introduced new approaches for a rural economy and opened the way to containment in the net EU’s spending notwithstanding the European enlargement;

- that the EU has produced an impressive environmental and sanitary regulation to protect person, animal and plant welfare and has the right to promote our landscape, local biodiversity, food safety, old farmer civilization from destructive market forces, external diseases, product manipulations and low quality imports;

- that the EU is the largest commodity importer in the world, promoter of cooperative agreements with the developing world (see the ACP preference system and All but Arms programme), and exports high quality processed products, supporting a large agro-industrial sector that represent 15% of its occupation and output;  

- that the CAP shall be considered a strategic European policy also in external relationships for world foodstuffs issues and renewable industrial and energetic resources;

recommends to European institutions  

- to respect the right of the developing world to grow;

- to adopt the universal principle of  “alimentary sovereignty” as the right of every  citizen and population to grow and consume the fruits of their land and protect local environment and economy from climate challenges, deforestation and monoculture;

- to promote large regional integration processes in South East Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America in order to organize supranational self-sufficient markets and agricultural policies just as obtained in the USA, EU and India;

- to commit their selves  in reforming international global institutions and, specifically, the FAO in a world Authority able to ensure stable supply, affordable prices for consumer and fair income for farmers.

deeply convinced

that  only a European Government can promote a deep international commitment for eradicating hunger and underdevelopment in the world and affirm the long-term objective of a global food self-sufficiency;

invites

the European political forces and civil society to mobilize in sight of the European election of 2009 and open the debate on the role of a modern agriculture and rural economy in EU and the world in response to the positive but dramatic demographic and economic trends in other continents.



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