La pobreza y la desigualdad son problemas complejos, pero no inevitables. Una sociedad bien informada puede provocar la transformación económica y política que pondrá fin a la pobreza. Este blog, elaborado por el área de investigaciones de Intermón Oxfam, quiere contribuir a ese debate: proponer reflexiones e ideas sobre la globalización y el desarrollo, y escuchar lo que otros tienen que decir.

lunes, 20 de abril de 2009

El G8, sus ministros de agricultura y el hambre

Hoy ha concluido la reunión de ministros de agricultura del G8 (y otros países invitados) para tratar sobre la agricultura, la crisis de los alimentos y el hambre en el mundo... en medio de un dispendio de lujo y palabras vacías.

Nuestros enviados al evento nos hacen llegar el relato que copio a continuación... un entretenido viaje hacia las entrañas de estas reuniones:

Saturday 12.30h
Sat in the splendour of Castelbrando in Cison di Valmarino in northern Italy awaiting to hear preliminary outcomes from the Agriculture Ministers’ discussions makes the outrageous discrepancies in wealth and food security more striking than ever. So far the event has felt more like an exercise in the promotion of tourism and Italian agriculture than a summit to tackle world hunger. In our rooms at the press hotel, we found brochures advertising Treviso province’s vineyards and restaurants and a complementary bottle of Prosecco. Need to check what Oxfam’s ethical policies say about that before consuming it! The original programme for the delegates was dominated by gala dinners, wine tasting and a half-day tour to a nearby area known for its asparagus and wine production. The programme has since been spun, apparently under pressure from some of the delegations, with the fine meals turning into working dinners and the tour now a whistle stop visit. Right now this place is making me feel a little sick in the stomach. The early draft of the final Declaration that we saw was full of vague platitudes and lacking in concrete proposals. I have a feeling my stomach will be turning somersaults come the end of the meeting on Monday afternoon. I sat through a press conference in Italian with the Italian Agriculture Minister, Luca Zaia. The only words I understood were parmesan and olio di oliva. I guess he was not talking about smallholder farmers in Malawi or food consumption in Bihar!

Saturday, 15:15h
This just gets worse! I have just been handed a piece of paper advertising the world’s biggest bottle of prosecco, which can be seen here at Castelbrando at the G8 meeting! If the first morning is anything to go by, this meeting will be remembered as the “Prosecco Summit”. Maybe I should give the Ministers a chance. The pre-Summit press briefing says that they will be discussing how to relaunch world agriculture, increase food production and fight speculation. Question: for whose benefit?
In this morning’s press briefing, Mr Zaia promised that these will be “three days that will make history”. He went on to say that one of the priority issues for the Italian Presidency is the origin of products. He said: “eating a product like the Parmesan, that badly imitates one of the top products of our agrifood production, is like wearing a bad copy of a Swiss watch”. What am I doing here?! This is not Rome but whilst the G8 fiddles thousands die.

Saturday 16:20h
There has just been a press briefing with the German Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner. The first question she was asked was whether concrete actions had been identified today to tackle world hunger. Reading between the lines of her answer, no they have not. She said that sustainable development is the key and the right to food has a major role to play in order to promote access to land and water. She emphasized the need for coordination between international organizations – so at least global institutional reform and partnership are on the agenda. Absolutely no details of the discussion, hints of agreements or disagreements however.

Saturday, 17:15h
Luca just came back from the latest briefing with Zaia. Finally! More detailed information on the discussions on hunger, climate change, biofuels and global reform. There was clear acknowledgement of the highly detrimental impact of climate change on agricultural production and the need to support farmers to adapt. Agriculture should be the engine of economic growth. On biofuels, his view is that it is possible to increase biofuel production without impacting on food production even taking into account the need to double food production by 2050. He said there was agreement amongst a number of Ministers that there was need to find a balance in trade rules between protecting small farmers in G8 countries and enabling smallholders from developing countries to access their markets. There was discussion about the urgency of FAO reform and they are looking forward to receiving an update from Jacques Diouf this evening. Global food stocks and water issues were debated but it seems unlikely that agreements will be reached. GMOs are not on the agenda at all. So, at least they are discussing key issues but huge scepticism still prevails that there will be many, if any, clear new proposals.

Saturday, 17:45h
Right now it looks like the only way this summit will “make history” is as one more nail in the coffin of the MDG 1. Perhaps it is now time to accept that unless there is a radically new approach by civil society organizations politicians will fail to act. We have to do something to really galvanize political action. In our pre-Summit statement we said the Ministers should give serious consideration to a legally binding international convention that aims to eradicate hunger by 2025 and would raise the accountability of all governments, rich or poor, in relation to their commitments. Right now there is no way of holding governments to account for their failure to ensure people do not die of hunger in a world in which we have the means to eradicate hunger. The one positive I am taking from this Summit is that at least world hunger is still high on the political agenda not least because rich countries are seeing it as a threat to their own political stability – see US Minister Vilsack’s open remarks at the Summit.!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/04/0117.xml
Maybe now is the time to harness the political attention and turn it into legally binding action to erase hunger from the face of the earth within the next 20 years. The German Minister talked of the Right to Food but did not say what it would look like in reality. How about a group of like-minded governments making it a legally binding commitment? This would require a massive campaign by civil society organizations to mobilize popular support in northern and southern countries and to hold governments to account against their promises.
Zero hunger by 2025! That would be economic justice!

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