The food crisis of 2007-08 and 2010, aggravated by the uncontrolled management of States has led the international community to recognize the need for an effective governance of world food security. On 16th October, during World Food day, José Graziano da Silva the Director General of the FAO, reaffirmed that “in the globalized world in which we live, no country can achieve food security alone”. We recommend reading the article published by FAO1
because it has the merit of emphasizing the essential character of the governance of food and agriculture to ensure food security and reminds us of the achievements of recent years: the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), creation of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), the development of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). Though these initiatives need to be further developed and completed, they are in no doubt major breakthroughs for global food security. Because it can only be achieved by reinforcing global governance, notably through the improved coordination of the policies employed by the various countries of the world, more sharing of information and more transparency at an international level. Notwithstanding, this is simply a necessary, but by no means sufficient condition. Assessment tools and solid monitoring must be developed in order to assess the effectiveness of policies in the fight against food insecurity at the local level but also internationally, as well as their impact on economic efficiency on national and global levels. Though many indicators for food insecurity exist, as well as for economic efficiency, there is currently no indicator that evaluates the joint impact of a policy on both these very interrelated issues, especially for developing countries. The unilateral decisions made by Thailand for rice, or Russia for cereals following the fires of summer 2010 demonstrate the many dangers a policy for the drastic limitation of trade and the instability it creates on regional or even global markets. With this in mind, the momagri agency is developing the OSE indicator (Optimum food Safety and Economic efficiency) the objective of which is to evaluate the relative position of different countries of the world on these two key issues and their evolution over time.
momagri Editorial Board
Continuing food price volatility requires improved global governance of food security FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told a ministerial meeting on food price volatility today attended by some 20 ministers.
"Food prices and volatility have increased in recent years. This is expected to continue in the medium-term," he said.
"In this context, it is important to improve governance of food security. In the globalized world we live in, it's not possible to have food security in one country alone,"he added.
French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll, who moderated the meeting, said: "In the course of its G20 Presidency and in the face of the risk of tension on the grain market, President François Hollande called for a high-level meeting on global agricultural governance. Discussions were held on transparency in agricultural markets, the coordination of international actions, response to the global demand for food and the fight against the effects of volatility. France will continue to support any political initiatives and any concrete plans in this direction.
Important advances have already been made in governance, the Director-General said, citing the reform of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) the most inclusive intergovernmental platform on food security and nutrition; the establishment by UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon of the High Level Task Force on Global Food Security; and the creation last year by the G20 of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to ensure improved international coordination, information and market transparency.
Graziano da Silva said , "The new global governance system of food security that we are building together, that has the CFS as its cornerstone and AMIS as one of its components, is part of a new world order that needs to emerge."
AMIS is fully functioning and has contributed to better international coordination, information sharing and transparency, he continued.
"This allowed us to react quickly to the price rise we saw in July 2012, preventing panic, avoiding unilateral actions and further spikes in those initial tense days," he declared.
"We are still in a complex situation but we are handling it successfully", Graziano da Silva added.
AMIS was created as part of a G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility approved in Paris in June 2011. The Presidency, initially held by France for a year passed to the United States on October 2.
World Food Day
Today's ministerial meeting on food price volatility coincided with celebrations of World Food Day at FAO Headquarters and round the world. Ministers from the following countries took part: Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Lebanon, Mozambique, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka and United Republic of Tanzania.
Their discussions, covered three main topics: how can transparency in agricultural markets be increased and how can international action be better coordinated; how can increasing demand for food be addressed; and how can the effects of excessive food price volatility on the most vulnerable be limited.