Responsibility for the Global Food Crisis

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by Ben Lilliston | May 20, 2009 • Bad agriculture and trade policy in the U.S. and the European Union, pushed aggressively through global institutions, has been a major driver in global hunger, finds a new paper IATP co-published today along with CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies.

Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

Global Food Responsibility, by IATP’s Alexandra Spieldoch and Anne Laure Constantin, identified policy failures by the U.S. and EU, including: neglected agriculture programs, ill-advised economic adjustment policies, poorly regulated commodity markets and unjust trade rules. The overlapping effects of poor U.S. and EU public policy has led to a vulnerable global food system.

“The EU and the U.S. need to contribute to, rather than block, the establishment of an entirely new global model for food and agriculture,” said Spieldoch in a press release on the report. The paper shows how the EU and U.S. could play a constructive role in addressing the global food crisis through a series of recommendations, including:
* An inclusive and binding global partnership for agriculture and food security that strengthens UN agencies, involves non-state actors and has a strong mandate;

* A substantial increase in aid for agriculture, delivered in line with the right to food;

* Respect for the multifunctionality of agriculture including ecological and social sustainability, access to land and water for small scale producers and greater use of local seed varieties;

* Measures to address price volatility, including food reserves and tight regulation on speculation;

* A shift in trade policies away from the quest for market access for European and U.S. agribusiness firms.

Nearly 1 billion people are currently suffering from hunger around the world and increasing in number. What further evidence do we need that the current system is broken and systemic change is needed?

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