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Apply pressure to governments to address root causes of hunger

21. October 2009

    The 2009 World Food Summit, convened by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will take place in Rome, Italy, 16 -18 November 2009. World leaders will discuss the total eradication of hunger from the planet. The FAO has stated its aim to put in place a more coherent and effective system of governance of world food security. The aim of the Summit is also to make sure developing countries have a fair chance of competing in world commodity markets; to mobilize substantial additional public and private sector investments in agriculture and rural infrastructure; to agree on more effective mechanisms for early reaction to food crises, and to ensure that countries are prepared to adapt to climate change and mitigate negative effects.

    The FAO says the global food insecurity situation has worsened and continues to represent a serious threat – the number of hungry people could increase by a further 100 million in 2009 and pass the one billion mark. Food prices remain stubbornly high in developing countries, while the global economic crisis is aggravating the situation by affecting jobs and deepening poverty irrespective of the commitments made by governments on the right to food.

    Governments have been invited around the world to negotiate a declaration for adoption by the Summit. We need to speak out for solutions that promote just and sustainable production, trade and distribution systems; address unsustainable consumption; and ensure the right to food for all people. It is up to us to hold our governments accountable to the commitments they make to eradicate hunger.
    What can you do?

    Sign on to EAA letter below to affirm inclusion of the respect for the right to food and adoption of just and sustainable production and consumption practices in the outcome of the conference. The deadline for signatures is 30 October 2009.

    The final letter with all the signatures will be sent back to you for sending to your respective governments. The EAA will send the same letter to the FAO Director General.

    Organizational signatures (with the country in which you are based) are preferred but individuals may also sign with your name, title of your position, name of your church or organization, and the country in which you are based.

    By e-mail to:    sspeicher@e-alliance.ch or amunzara@e-alliance.ch

    By fax to:         + 41 22 710 2387

    Text of the letter (The EAA will send this letter to the FAO Director General; other organizations are encouraged to send the letter to their national governments with the full list of signatures):


    Dr Jacques Diouf

    Director General, FAO

    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla

    00153 Rome



    Dear Dr Diouf,

    We, as religious leaders and leaders of faith-based organizations, look with great hope to the outcomes of the upcoming World Food Summit to be held at the FAO, 16-18 November.

    We want to particularly affirm the recommendations of the Comprehensive Framework of Action (CFA) and in particular the right to food. But we also hope the summit takes into active consideration the report and recommendations from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

    As people of faith, we are committed to actions that promote justice for all people and care for God’s Creation. As part of our fulfillment of this calling, we have joined together as churches and Christian organizations in the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s Food for Life Campaign that calls for:

        * Just and sustainable food production, trade and distribution systems

        * Just and sustainable consumption practices
        * Realization of the right to food for all people

    These are fundamental elements to reaching the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015.

    As part of the EAA campaign, we bring a particular concern for the right to food as it affects people living with, and vulnerable to, HIV. Access to sufficient and appropriate food is essential not just in aiding the effectiveness of treatment but reducing vulnerability to the transmission of HIV. The answer lies not in the short term provision of aid or reliance on cheap imports that decimate the livelihoods of local producers, but in just and sustainable solutions that support local producers and economies in ways that preserve the environment for future generations.

    We appreciate the fact that the FAO text, entitled "Secretariat contribution to defining the objectives and possible decisions of the World Summit on Food Security", calls for the complete eradication of hunger from the face of the Earth by 2025 and for secure, sufficient, safe and nutritious food supplies for a growing world population that is projected to reach 9.2 billion in 2050. We are also pleased that the recommendations from IAASTD were included onto the agenda of the High Level Expert Forum on How to Feed the World in 2050.

    The IAASTD report calls for fundamental changes in farming practices in order to address soaring food prices, hunger, social inequities and environmental disasters. We believe there is need to move away from destructive and chemical-dependent industrial agriculture and to adopt modern, environmentally-sound farming methods that champion biodiversity and benefit local communities. More and better food can be produced without destroying rural livelihoods or our natural resources. Local, socially and environmentally responsible methods are the solution especially in the midst of climate change.

    “Give us this day our daily bread” is a petition repeated by millions of Christians around the world every day as they pray the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer, surrounded by the Biblical narrative that calls us to care for humanity and all of Creation, leads us to provide food to those who are in immediate and dire need, and simultaneously work to expose and eradicate the causes of hunger.

    We ask you in the preparations and decisions around the World Food Summit, to put into place tangible actions that will realize the commitments governments have made to the Millennium Development Goals and the right to food. Food, for life, is a matter of justice.


    Yours in faith,

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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