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Latest News

Over the past two days, high-level ministers, representatives of international organizations and several non-government and civil society organizations gathered at the Madrid High Level Meeting on Food Security for All. The event, hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was held to discuss the challenges to presented by soaring food prices, ways to stimulate agricultural development and food production and to address obstacles to food access.

During the event, the Spanish Government committed 1 billion Euros over the next 5 years (200 million Euros per year) to ensure agriculture development and food production in the South.

“I would like to take this opportunity to ask all countries committed to this cause to make an extra effort to mobilize resources and make them available to ensure food for all,” Zapatero said in his closing speech. The Spanish Prime Minister also re-stated his commitment to donate 0.7 percent of gross national income to overseas development assistance by 2012 and pledged that the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger will be a key issue on the agenda during the Spanish Presidency of the European Union starting in January 2010.

Despite welcoming the resource mobilization, the UN Millennium Campaign is warning that the food crisis is expected to continue as long as specific mechanisms are not in place to support the interests of poor people and small scale farmers.

The number of undernourished people in the world has risen to 963 million. Amongst them, hundreds of millions who come from small scale farming households. Concerted action to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers has been very slow. An urgent increase in investment in the agricultural sector and a shift of focus away food aid dependant remedies are challenges that must be addressed.

In this context, the UN Millennium Campaign plans to challenge the European Common Agricultural Policy in 2009 on the issue of subsidies in light of the negative impact they have on the livelihoods of poor farmers, the environment and domestic equity in Europe.

There were also unmet expectations that the Madrid meeting would bring progress in setting a framework for a global partnership for food security, bringing together governments, regional bodies, civil society, businesses, foundations, international agencies, development banks and donors.

See the photos of the high level meeting

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