7 July 2008
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6356

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

2008 Substantive Session

22nd Meeting (PM)


ASSESSING WAYS TO STRENGTHEN UNITED NATIONS EFFORTS TO ERADICATE POVERTY, HUNGER


FOCUS, AS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OPENS COORDINATION SEGMENT


Panel:  ‘Working towards Food Security:  The United Nations System Approach’


The global food crisis was a collective call to action for the United Nations system and required an urgent, innovative and collective response, the Economic and Social Council was told today, as it opened the coordination segment of its 2008 substantive session.


The Council took up the role of the United Nations system in implementing the ministerial declaration of the high-level segment of the Council’s 2007 substantive session, which is the theme of this year’s coordination segment.  That declaration called for strengthened effort to eradicate poverty and hunger including through the global partnership for development.  The Council also today focused on the role of United Nations agencies and actors in global food security in the first of four panel discussions that it will hold during this segment.


Opening the coordination segment, and setting the stage for general debate, which will be held tomorrow, Council Vice-President Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima of Cape Verde said that last year’s declaration underscored that achieving the goal of reducing poverty and hunger was a complex challenge that needed to be addressed from a broader development perspective.  In particular, it called for action on such areas as rural and agricultural development, employment creation.  The United Nations system had an impartial role to play in all those areas.  This year’s coordination segment gave the Council the opportunity to assess the United Nations system’s current role and provide guidance on how to strengthen the United Nations system approach to support the realization of eradicating poverty and hunger.  While the United Nations system had made important progress towards system-wide coordination at the substantive and operational level, a more comprehensive policy framework to guide follow-up activities was needed to implement the overall United Nations development agenda.


The coordination segment provided further opportunity for the Council to promote the necessary collaboration and synergy to strengthen the normative, policy work of the functional commissions and the programmatic, operational work of the United Nations agencies, he said.


In introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the theme of the coordination segment (E/2008/21), Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, emphasized that, to further promote a unified United Nations system response to the unfolding global food crisis, the implementation of the Comprehensive Framework for Action created by the Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force was critical.


At the afternoon panel on the theme “Working towards food security:  The United Nations system approach”, speaking in his capacity as Coordinator of the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Food Security, John Holmes said the world’s food situation posed a “serious humanitarian emergency” that affected all countries in some way.  As a result, food assistance “must be stepped up, and stepped up urgently” to feed the nearly 100 million that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had estimated that would be pushed below the poverty line by rising food costs.


Mr. Holmes, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, stressed that the response must also address structural agricultural matters, including ensuring that adequate investment in the historically neglected sector was increased and maintained for years to come.  To that end, the Task Force had put together a draft comprehensive framework for action that could serve as a “menu” of activities countries could use to craft a response to the crises.  A second version of the report, which had been distributed earlier this month in Rome, should be available by the end of the week.


Picking up that thread and stressing the role the World Food Programme (WFP) was and would continue playing to mitigate the food crisis, Allan Jury, Director of the Division of External Relations, said the crisis called for innovative responses.  To that end, WFP was recalibrating its assessment programmes and was adapting its existing technical and programmatic support to Governments to meet the needs of urban populations particularly.  It had also implemented a “Purchase for Progress” approach, which aimed to optimize the impact of WFP local food purchases to support local agricultural development.


Emphasizing the need for collective policy responses by Governments, Christopher Delgado, Adviser, Agriculture and Rural Development, World Bank, said a massive collaborative effort was necessary, if only because it was impossible to think of the world today as divided neatly into “developing countries on one side and developed countries on the other”.  While it was clear that the major industrialized economies would have to lead the charge, for instance, “there will be no solution to the crisis in Africa that doesn’t involve China and India, if only looking at market perspectives”.


Still, such a broad, multisectoral action must nevertheless be speedy, carefully coordinated, promote genuine partnerships, and focus on ensuring medium- and longer-term sustainability, he said.


Also participating in the afternoon panel were Julia Howard, Executive Director, Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa; and Themba N. Masuku, Director, FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations.


The Council will convene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8 July, to continue its coordination segment with a panel discussion on “Rural development and the challenges of social welfare:  a country-level perspective”.  The coordination segment’s general debate will begin at 12 p.m.


Background


When the Economic and Social Council met today to open the coordination segment of its annual session, it had before it a copy of the Secretary-General’s report on the role of the United Nations system in implementing the ministerial declaration of the high-level segment of the substantive session of 2007 of the Council (E/2008/21).  The report provides an overview of United Nations system efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development, identifies areas in which the United Nations system needs to promote more comprehensive and effective approaches, and makes recommendations on ways in which United Nations system support can be strengthened


The report also provides an overview of the United Nations approaches to eradicating poverty and hunger, and highlights progress in the areas of employment generation, trade and rural and agricultural development.  It underlines the need to do more to integrate sustainable development and science and technology dimensions in United Nations system programmes and activities in support of national poverty eradication efforts.  It also emphasizes science and technology, trade and financing for development as cross-cutting issues that need to be dealt with at the system-wide level.


The document concludes that increasing the United Nations system’s analytical capacity is critical to its ability to provide policy support to developing countries, and inter-agency research, analysis and interdisciplinary studies on a broad range of issues should be promoted.  Further collaboration is needed in the areas of statistics, labour, trade and information and communications technology.  At the operational level, more effective use of existing frameworks and instruments for country-level support, such as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the poverty reduction strategy paper and the poverty and social impact analysis, should be made to ensure that the various dimensions of poverty and hunger are taken into account.


Opening Statements for Coordination Segment


In opening remarks, Council Vice-President ANTONIO PEDRO MONTEIRO LIMA ( Cape Verde) said the 2007 Ministerial Declaration represented an important step towards implementing the United Nations development agenda, and particularly in achieving Millennium Development Goal 1.


In pursuit of a pro-poor development strategy aimed at achieving Goal 1, the Declaration especially called for urgent action on rural and agricultural development, employment creation; enterprise development, sustainable development; trade; and financing for development.


This year’s coordination segment gave the Council an opportunity to asses the United Nations system’s current role in all these areas and provide guidance on how to strengthen this work and realize Goal 1, he said.  Indeed, reducing poverty and hunger was a complex challenge that should be addressed from a broad development perspective that encompassed a wide range of policy areas.


The internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, had increasingly become the framework for the United Nations system’s work, and the Council’s functional commissions had tried to highlight the linkages and synergies between the goals of various conferences and promote a comprehensive approach to economic and social development.


The focus now was on implementing the United Nations development agenda, he said.  While the United Nations system had made important progress towards system-wide coordination at the substantive and operational level, there was a growing realization that to foster and implement the agenda, a more comprehensive policy framework to guide follow-up activities was needed.  The coordination segment, therefore, provided further opportunity for the Council to promote the necessary collaboration and synergy to strengthen the normative, policy work of the functional commissions and the programmatic, operational work of the United Nations agencies.


In closing, he stressed that the debate should unfold in the broader context of the Council’s two new functions, the Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum, and be closely linked to these functions.


THOMAS STELZER, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the theme of the coordination segment (E/2008/21).


He said considerable progress had been made in recent years at the inter-governmental level in understanding and recognizing the impact of different policy sectors on reducing poverty and hunger.  Yet, the Declaration’s message was that action should be sought in a broad range of policy areas to ensure education for all, promote gender equality and strengthen the global partnership for development.


The Secretary-General’s report noted that the United Nations system’s approach to supporting the goal of eradicating poverty and hunger had evolved, along with the discourse on the issue at the intergovernmental level.  As a result, Goal 1 was the objective of both targeted United Nations system activities and a broad range of policy areas.


On rural and agricultural development, the report said the “twin-track” approach adopted by Rome-based agencies included both immediate interventions to alleviate hunger and longer-term programmes to increase agricultural productivity, as well as improve natural resources management and adapt to climate change.  To further promote a unified United Nations system response to the unfolding global food crisis, the Secretary-General had established a High-Level Task Force.  The challenge was to ensure the implementation of the actions identified in that Task Force’s Comprehensive Framework for Action.


He said the report notes that, despite the progress made in employment and trade, more efforts were needed to support sustainable development, science and technology and financing for development.  On sustainable development, the link between United Nations system interventions aimed at ending hunger and poverty and those aimed at promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns and fostering sustainable use and management of natural resources needed reinforcing.  A more comprehensive approach was also needed to fully exploit the potential of science and technology to fight hunger and confront the emerging challenges of climate change, biofuels and crop varieties.


The United Nations system had made important progress on strengthening the capacity of developing countries to assess their resource needs, attract and manage international resources and generate and use domestic resources to eliminate poverty, he said.  But, the system could devote more attention and capacity to that effort and play a bigger role in helping developing countries identify and address sectoral imbalances in their resource allocation and investment decisions.


Measuring results and strengthening accountability for implementation were key in realizing the Millennium Development Goals, he added.  The Secretary-General had, therefore, launched two important initiatives to sharpen the focus on Africa’s development:  the United Nations MDG Gap Task Force, to monitor progress in the global partnerships for development; and the MDG Africa Steering Group, which would help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in the region.


Panel Discussion


After the opening of the segment, Council Vice-President Lima chaired a panel on “Working towards food security:  The United Nations system approach”.


The panel was moderated by Mr. Stelzer and featured the participation of John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Christopher Delgado, Adviser, Agriculture and Rural Development, World Bank; Julia Howard, Executive Director, Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa; Themba N. Masuku, Director, FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations; and Allan Jury, Director, Division of External Relations, World Food.


Mr. HOLMES, speaking in his capacity as Coordinator of the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Food Security, said the current crisis was not only urgent, but huge in scale.  The world’s food situation was being rapidly redefined and in a negative way, especially as the soaring prices and dwindling stocks put pressure on developing country economies.  The world was in the midst of a “serious humanitarian emergency”, affecting all countries in one way or another, but the most poor and the most hungry had been impacted the most.


He said that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had estimated that the crisis now threatened to push at least 100 million people below the poverty line, joining nearly 1 billion more already struggling to survive.  By example, he said that in Afghanistan and in countries in the Horn of Africa, the parallel crises of drought -- which limited production -- and high food prices had left millions without access to food.  With all that in mind, he said that food assistance “must be stepped up, and stepped up urgently”.


That must be accompanied by unhindered access to foods when they arrived in country, he said.  Export restrictions needed to be eliminated for humanitarian deliveries of food.  Such restrictions commonly led to a 90 to 120 day time lag between the time foodstuffs were purchased and their arrival where they were needed most.  He said that the response must also, in the longer-term, address structural agricultural matters, including ensuring that adequate investment in that sector was increased and maintained for years to come.  The sector had been neglected for decades and, in the case of Africa, had fallen from some 10 per cent of development assistance in the 1990s to a mere 3.5 per cent in recent years.  The food crisis also called for “major reinvestment” in agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers.


He said failing to act quickly risked, among other things, a slowing down in global economic growth and development, erasing years of gains towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; spiralling inflation; increasing migration; and unrest and instability in some countries and regions.  “We must act now and we must act together,” he continued, stressing that urgent actions to address immediate needs must be fully compatible with longer-term strategies aimed at tackling structural imbalances.  The way forward required comprehensive, coherent and coordinated partnerships for food at the global, regional and national levels.


Such partnerships should include United Nations agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as farmers, agricultural agencies and civil society, he said.  The response did not require creating new structures, but using existing mechanisms in a more coherent way towards achieving nutrition and food security needs.  He said that the Secretary-General’s Task Force had become somewhat of a focal point in the effort.  And, while that panel was providing a platform for key United Nations agencies and Bretton Woods institutions, it was also trying to reach out and put together a programme that addressed the views of a wider range of stakeholders.


The Task Force had put together a draft comprehensive framework for action that could serve as a “menu” of activities countries could use to craft a response to the crises, as well as to provide a foundation for moving forward.  A focus had been on smallholder farmers.  The Task Force had produced a first draft of the framework in time for the high-level meeting, hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization earlier this month in Rome, and hoped to have a second version available by the end of the week.


He went on to say that bringing together immediate and longer-term issues required scaling up humanitarian issues to address the needs of the hungriest and cushion the impact of the high food prices; identifying ways to boost harvest this year, and especially next year; boosting global production by 30 per cent by 2050; making the international trading system work more effectively to ensure that food was more readily available; avoiding a lapse into self-determination sufficiency policies, including through the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization trade negotiations; and finding greater consensus on how to feed the world’s poor and meet growing energy needs, especially regarding biofuel production and use.


Finally, he said that Governments had a role to play, and he hoped that developing countries themselves would identify needs and consider devoting more resources to agricultural sectors.  At the same time, donor countries must consider doubling international assistance for food security.  All that required high-level political and institutional engagement for many years to come, even if food prices fell back to previous levels. 


“Food security affects people,” said the next speaker, Mr. MASUKU, who noted that, in the past decade, the number of under-nourished and food insecure people in the world had increased by 20 million to some 854 million.  That spike had occurred after Governments at the 1996 World Food Summit had pledged to cut in half the number of hungry people in the world by 2015.


Meanwhile, the world population continued to grow and, if current estimates held, about 3 billion more people would need to be fed by 2050.  That figure was “worrisome” in light of the planet’s dwindling resources and actual carrying capacity.  Indeed, Governments would be challenged to boost production on already-overworked farmland, or to eke out new arable lands in overpopulated countries.


Against the backdrop of soaring food prices, booming populations and economic growth in countries such as India, China and South Africa, as well as increased biofuel production, it was clear that food security was going to be more critical, in both long and short term, than ever before.  “The food crisis is not about to just disappear and, in fact, the world may be starting to experience a permanent crisis,” he said, stressing that the United Nations main approach should be through generating and facilitating partnerships.  Such partnerships should be between humanitarian, development and financial agencies, and should include inputs from civil society.


As for Africa, he said that, at the country-level, such partnerships should support Government efforts, especially to help farmers and other stakeholders to rapidly raise productivity and farm incomes.  Partner agencies should also deliver expertise to ensure an environmentally and economically sustainable “green revolution” that would end the continent’s food crisis.  He added that FAO was actively working with other agencies to respond to the challenges posed by climate change and its relationship to the current food crisis.  FAO was also helping countries establish action plans to respond to the crisis and mobilize resources to turn those plans into concrete action.  It was also working to ensure that seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs got to the countries and farmers that needed them the most.


Mr. JURY said the recent escalation in food prices was threatening security on a global scale.  Poor households were responding by eating less, buying less nutritious food, cutting expenses in health care and education, selling assets and incurring additional debt.  Vulnerability was increasing as poor people mortgaged their future to meet current food needs. 


The crisis was, therefore, an unambiguous global call to action.  It presented an opportunity for the international community to demonstrate leadership as never before.  We must feed the hungry today and help people produce the food to prevent hunger tomorrow.


The World Food Programme (WFP) was already taking action as part of the United Nations response under the Secretary-General’s High-Level Task Force on the food crisis.  Its extensive deep-field presence, broad practical toolkit, orientation to strong partnerships and robust logistics capacity were key assets towards a more integrated approach that was Government-owned, community-led and partnership-based. 


In the immediate response, Governments might need to launch emergency assistance and enhance safety-net programmes, including school feeding, mother and child nutritional support and assistance in the form of food, vouchers, cash transfers or food-for-work programmes.  Food security and nutritional surveillance had to be scaled up to identify and address needs early.  Where civil unrest threatened, targeted food distributions might be needed.


While WFP had an established record of programme performance in all of those areas, its expertise had largely been in providing food to rural areas.  To meet the needs of urban populations would require considerable adaptation of existing technical and programmatic support to Governments.


As Governments reviewed and reformed existing policies to mitigate the impact of high food prices, they would have to help poor rural and urban households benefit from the opportunities that could be created for their farmers.  To that end, WFP could contribute by advocating for the needs of the poor and vulnerable, establishing and supporting monitoring systems, advising on how to strengthen food distribution systems, and piloting and supporting food procurement systems.  It would also help share experiences across countries and regions and would continue to champion food security with international financial institutions.


Vulnerability analyses and needs assessments were becoming the backbone of WFP operations, he said.  To ensure that disaster preparedness systems were translated into timely operational responses, WFP was working towards raising the capacity and response of national Governments.  It was also strengthening its capacity to analyse response options leading to enhanced programme design.  Those efforts were particularly focused on improving the analysis of non-food responses.  Already two thirds of its assessments recommended innovative interventions, such as vouchers/cash transfers and food-based safety nets, and local procurements.  Still, work needed to be done, because appropriate efforts fell outside the WFP mandate.


Both the evolution in WFP’s assessment systems and the current world conditions called for innovative responses, he continued.  One such response already under way was WFP’s “Purchase for Progress” approach, which aimed to optimize the impact of WFP local food purchases to support local agricultural development.


WFP had taken a double hit from the food crisis, as costs rose for the food already being provided and as more people went hungry.  An anticipated extra $3 billion would be needed for the current year.  But, extraordinary challenges created extraordinary opportunities.  It was the aim of WFP that the “new face of hunger” caused by the food crisis would become a face of hope, not despair.


Ms. HOWARD said the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa was an independent global organization to increase American investment in African agriculture and improve programmes aimed at enhancing agricultural development on the continent.  Saying that “now was the time to respond”, she stressed that the grave challenges facing Africa’s agricultural development were balanced by a sense of opportunity to invest in and unlock the continent’s agricultural capacities.  Until last year, the complaint was that commodity prices were so low, investment could not be stimulated.  Now high commodity prices meant more money would be available to reinvest in farming and food production.


The policies of the United States Government illustrated the overall problem -- while it had gone quite far in social investments, it had devoted minimal support for agriculture.  Now there was an opportunity to depart from the fragmented development approach of the past.


To achieve coordination and coherence, medium- and long-term investment strategies had to be organized at the country level, she said.  They should be responsive to local and regional priorities.  United Nations coordination should not take place in isolation from other organization and donor activities.  Several countries had begun multinational discussions on investment priorities and the standing strategies and priorities they established would play a key role in shaping work towards better agricultural development.  But, a commitment to long-term capacity-building would be required.


Noting the increasing number of partnerships among United Nations agencies and with new partners, many of which were located in countries where development was targeted, she stressed that the food crisis had stimulated more collaborative and innovative work.  She highlighted the innovative strategic plan from the World Bank, which linked crisis response to long-term development efforts, saying such strategies were “visionary and very much worthy of our support”.


Turning to funding, she said funding mechanisms would be critical in fostering agricultural development.  While $11 billion had been pledged towards the food crisis, just how those funds would be accessed had not been elaborated.  It should also be asked if those funds represented new funding, or if they were a simple rearrangement of already promised aid.  Also key in enhancing future responses to growing food needs, particularly those of urban populations, would be improving information analysis and monitoring capacities.  She added that, because improving agriculture in Africa required improving infrastructure, proposed “transport corridors” needed to be evaluated to make sure that, as railways were built to natural resources, feeder roads and electricity grids were also created.


The final panellist, Mr. DELGADO, said that, in the modern era, responding to skyrocketing food prices required a massive collaborative effort, if only because it was impossible to think of the world today as divided neatly into “developing countries on one side and developed countries on the other”.  Indeed, while it was clear that the major industrialized economies would have to lead the charge, for instance, “there will be no solution to the crisis in Africa that doesn’t involve China and India, if only looking at market perspectives”.


It was also clear that all countries and inter-governmental institutions had been complacent about food for too long, if only because everyone believed “if you didn’t get your food pricing right, the market would correct it”.  That complacency had led key countries to reduce their major stocks of rice and other grains and, for the first time since 1974, there weren’t enough of those reserves to meet growing demand.  So, the prices had skyrocketed.  Still, the fact that the prices had risen was not really the problem; the problem was that they had risen so quickly.  “That’s what hurt,” he said, adding that the poor had been particularly hard hit, since they were the least able to respond to such rapid changes.


Now, no Government could ignore food security, he continued, adding, “What they have to guard against is coming up with strategies that aggravate the current problem for their neighbours or make things worse for themselves in the years to come.”  So, overall, collective actions for immediate relief, hammered out by both developed and developing countries, must open up the way for longer-term solutions, not set up hurdles that might hinder them.  “The stakes are very high,” he continued, adding that, while food and commodity prices were expected to level off and even dip below current highs by next year, there was a general consensus that it was unlikely that they would drop to what might be considered “normal” -– or pre-2007 levels.


Collective policy responses by Governments mattered now, especially since there was also a consensus that the factors behind the increases in global food prices were here to stay, regardless of improved harvests next year, and regardless of a drop in overall prices.  He said the international community must, therefore, draw on its experience in the area of emergency response and disaster management, and link that with food and economic policy, social protection, human health and nutrition, financial risk management, agricultural production and marketing.  Such a broad, multisectoral response must, nevertheless, be speedy, carefully coordinated, promote genuine partnerships, and focus on ensuring medium- and longer-term sustainability.


The World Bank, for its part, had established the Global Food Crisis Response Programme, which aimed to, among other things, reduce the negative impact of high and volatile food prices on the lives of the poor in a timely manner; support Governments in the design of sustainable policies that mitigate the adverse affects of the volatile prices; and support broad-based growth in productivity and market participation in agriculture, to ensure an adequate supply response as part of a sustained improvement in food security.  The Programme provided a comprehensive menu of possible action and investments and, among other things, addressed immediate humanitarian needs and facilitated adaptation to the reality of higher and more volatile global food prices going forward.


Following the presentations, Mr. STELZER noted that a general assessment, which ran like a red thread through the panellists’ discussions, was that the food crisis was too big for a fragmented response.  Achieving long-term sustainable solutions required a coordinated, cooperative and comprehensive approach.


In the lively interactive discussion which followed, delegations commented on a range of issues, including the status of the United Nations comprehensive approach to the food crisis, and how to increase agricultural production without increasing the sector’s share of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


Delegates also touched on the causes of the food crisis, saying that the failure to fulfil the promises of sustainable development was partly to blame.  Some of the causes were “more actionable” than others.  Increased demand from developing countries due to population and wealth growth, for example, was “in-actionable”, in that it was a situation that would continue.  Further, it was becoming clear that the link between climate change adaptation and the food crisis was “closer than we would like to think”, and it was important to take adaptation measures immediately to deal with both phenomena.


The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said World Bank policies forced on developing countries 30 years ago had greatly discouraged agricultural production in various developing countries, forcing them to import food and change consumption and production patterns.  Those policies were today part of the problem.  Second, there was an over-reliance on the market.  Hence, the dismantling of international arrangements would have helped the situation.  To move forward on the issue of coordination, it would be important to bring resources together in a way that would reduce competition for them.


Responding, Mr. HOLMES stressed that the Comprehensive Framework for Action to boost food production meant relying on traditional multipliers:  fertilizers and seed varieties.  However, he noted the need for a new model of agriculture that was less damaging to the environment.  To the idea that the past policy framework had been discredited, he said the new policy paradigm encouraged food production in all countries, but was not one of self-sufficiency, as that would not be the best use of competitive and comparative advantages.  On the question of research capacity to deal with crop losses, he said increasing research through the Global Food Crisis Response Programme was being examined.  The political will to implement ideas -- not knowledge -- was lacking.


Mr. MASUKU remarked that, by 2050, some 9 billion people would be living on the planet, and he wondered about how much water would be needed to sustain their survival.  To a question on early warning systems, he said FAO and other agencies, indeed, had them in place.  On agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, he said research was very important in that regard.  On the use of biofuels, he said it was time now to look at land competition issues.


In his response, Mr. JURY reiterated that community-based climate change adaptation was integral to the response to the food crisis.  He also said there was much to be done to support people in bringing their products to market without incurring storage and transport losses.


Mr. HOWARD, on the issue of coordination, said it was often easy to show distinct action; however, the larger question was in how to judge improvements in a coordinated response.


Mr. DELGADO noted that, in 1974, markets failed peoples’ trust.  What was different was that, back then, there was a context for overcoming it.  A “police action” could not install confidence and ensure prices would remain stable; a market solution was needed.  To the issue of past World Bank policies, he said those policies had not occurred in a vacuum.  The Bank placed 10 to 12 per cent of the portfolio in new investment in agriculture.  On the nexus between climate change and agriculture, he urged finding an agriculture that was more sustainable.


In closing, Mr. LIMA stressed that the issues raised were extremely relevant.  Indeed, there was a true desire to move forward in a coordinated fashion, and to determine how to effectively deal with the myriad of current global crises.  Today’s discussions would help lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for all regions around the world.


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