ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

ActionAid's reaction to final draft of G20 Agriculture Ministers "Action Plan"

Overall this first G20 Ag Min meeting failed to make strong enough decisions to avert the looming food crisis. There are a few elements of the Action Plan that we welcome.

We welcome the recognition of the CFS as the foremost body for food related policy decisions and the acknowledgement of the “right to food” in the text. The stronger language on small holder farmers is also an improvement, but the Ministers still have failed to provide any concrete support to smallholders.

Livia Zoli, Head of Policy at ActionAid Italy said, “The ministers mention both the need to support smallholder and women farmers, who feed most of the world’s people, and the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative.  But their failure to make any commitments to get that program back on track sharply contradict the words of support they regularly offer.”    

After all evidence of market failures that led to a food crisis it is a mockery to tie risk management solutions to market instruments.

Adriano Campolina, Country Director of ActionAid Brazil, said, “In 2009, the G20 showed it can arrange massive bailouts for bankers, but now it’s demonstrating it has no will to stop the looming food crisis that will hit the poor the hardest.  ActionAid will continue mobilizing to hold President Sarkozy to his promises on global food security by the November G20 summit despite the agriculture ministers’ failure.”

Marie Brill, of ActionAid USA, said, "It is a shame that the G20 commissioned a study by 10 organizations on how to address food price volatility, but chose to ignore the clear recommendation to remove subsidies and mandates for biofuels. As a result more countries will follow the lead of the U.S. where 40% of the corn crop is burned for fuel while the world teeters on the verge of a new food crisis.

Soren Ambrose, International Policy Manager of ActionAid International, said, “We are disappointed that the Ministers are delaying the implementation of regional coordination of food reserves which are urgently needed to prevent the next food crisis. We will hold the heads of state accountable to realizing this goal in November, and we look forward to being a part of the process.”

Antoine Bouhey of Peuples Solidaires/ActionAid France, said, “Making AMIS the headline from this meeting reveals the ministers’ failure: we may see the problem more clearly, but there is no commitment to actions that will stop the crisis." 

ENDS

For interviews contact:

(In Paris) Samantha Bolton on + 336 23 94 49 12 or +44 (0) 7972428633 orsamanthabolton@gmail.com

(In Paris) Patricia Brookes: +1 (202) 351-1757 or patricia@matchmapmedia.com

Editors' notes

ActionAid spokespeople available for interview include:

Adriano Campolina, an agricultural engineer and ex milk producer, is a specialist in food safety and international trade relations. And can give strong interviews on agricultural policies in Brazil, smallholder agriculture and agribusiness, biofuels, food stocks, sustainable agriculture and international technical cooperation. He currently serves as Executive Coordinator of ActionAid Brazil. Adriano has coordinated the fight against poverty in America and Africa, including crisis and humanitarian emergencies response operations. He coordinated humanitarian relief efforts undertaken by the organization in Haiti. Prior to joining ActionAid, Adriano was technical advisor for the network of alternative technologies for agriculture, which comprises 30 agro-ecological organizations in Brazil. Adriano may intervene especially on.  Adriano can interview in Portuguese or English.

Soren Ambrose has been an activist for global economic justice since 1994.  His analyses of the international financial institutions (IFIs) and the global economy have been published and quoted extensively in U.S. and international media.  Soren’s interest in the topics developed during his graduate studies on Nigerian literature and politics at the University of Chicago. He joined the 50 Years Is Enough campaign, a coalition effort founded on the 50th anniversary of the IMF and World Bank, shortly after its founding in 1994, and moved to Washington in 1995 to work with it full time. He left the 50 Years Network in 2005 to move to Kenya, where he co-founded Solidarity Africa Network and Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center.  In 2007 he took a position as Africa Program Coordinator for Bank Information Center (BIC), which has been monitoring the IFIs for over 20 years.  He joined ActionAid International in 2009 and now serves as its International Policy Manager, based in Nairobi. Ambrose can interview in English.

Marie Brill currently serves as ActionAid USA’s Senior Policy Analyst on food rights, joining the staff of ActionAid in 2010. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Director of Africa Action, the oldest human rights organization in the U.S. focused exclusively on Africa. Ms. Brill was previously the Executive Director of the Jubilee USA Network, an organization of 50 religious denominations, development and human rights organization seeking the cancellation of impoverished country debt.She has been quoted on issues of international economic justice in the Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications and has appeared on CNN and CNN International, BBC, Voice Of America and other news networks. Ms. Brill is a member of the Board of Directors of NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. Brill can interview in English.

Antoine Bouhey has been the food sovereignty officer in Peuples Solidaires / ActionAid France for two years. Supporting peasants struggles in poor countries he works on getting them heard by French and international leaders. He has a law degree and has spent 8 months working in Ecuador as coordinator of Amnesty International's campaign against violence towards women. He was working at UN on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development during the 2007 financial and food crisis. He then joined the team representing France at UN and was part of the European Union delegations in meetings and negotiations regarding food security. Bouhey  can interview in French.