e-alliance ::

Faith Communities Call on African Governments, UN Secretary General and the US Secretary of State to respect the right to food

21. October 2009

    The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton co-organized a Conference: Partnering for Food Security on 26th September 2009 at the UN headquarters in New York. The conference was meant to reaffirm the commitments made by G8 members at L’Aquila in July 2009 to “take decisive action to free humankind from hunger and poverty through improving food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture,” and to work together to: 1) support country-led processes; 2) ensure a comprehensive approach to food security; 3) strategically coordinate assistance; 4) support a strong role for multilateral institutions; and 5) sustain a robust commitment of financial resources, including $20 billion in resources pledged at the G8 Summit.

    The UN Secretary-General noted that food and nutritional security are the foundations of a decent life, a sound education, and, indeed, the achievement of all the millennium development goals. He further highlighted that there is more than enough food in the world and yet today, more than one billion people are hungry.  This he noted as unacceptable and pointed out the need for multilateral commitment, creativity, and leadership to solve the food crisis. It is encouraging to note that the goal is to initiate a new era for agricultural development, a revolutionary approach that will support small-holder farmers, especially women, and a transformation of markets and trading systems, so they work better for the poor.

    The U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton, also highlighted the need to  address the underlying causes of hunger, by investing in everything from research to better seeds to insurance programs for small farmers to large-scale infrastructure projects that create sustainable, systemic change.  She also emphasized  putting women at the heart of efforts, because most farmers of small holdings in the world are women.

    The proposals from the conference are to be shared at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) donor meeting to be held in Abuja (11-12 November 2009) and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Africa Forum in Nairobi (30 November-4 December 2009).

    What can you do?
    As part of the Food for Life Campaign we are asking you to join us in:
    •    Writing to the US Secretary of State and the UN Secretary-General to:
    i) Express appreciation for their leadership.
    ii) Affirm inclusion of the respect for the right to food and adoption of just and sustainable production and consumption practices at both the CAADP and ECOWAS donor meetings.
    iii) Introduce the commitment of the churches and Christian organizations on this issue, and the campaign we will undertake together.

    Sign on to the letter below no later than 30 October 2009 at 15:00hrs Geneva time. US faith based organizations are encouraged to sign.
    •    EAA has also prepared a letter to ECOWAS and African Union encouraging them to call for sustainable agricultural production, distribution and consumption patterns at the upcoming ECOWAS donor and CAADP meetings. The EAA encourages faith-based communities in Africa to sign on to this letter. The letter can be viewed at(link). Sign-ons must be received by 30 October 2009 at 15:00hrs Geneva time.

    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 Honorable Ban Ki-moon
    Secretary-General
    The United Nation Headquarters
    New York, NY 10017
    USA

     AND

    US Secretary of State- Hilary Clinton
    U.S. Department of State
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, DC 20520

    Your Excellency/Madam Secretary  
    We are writing to thank you for your leadership in support of the right to food for all. We look with great hope to the outcomes of the upcoming ECOWAS donor meeting to be held in Abuja (11-12 November 2009) and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Africa Forum to be held in Nairobi (30 November-4 December 2009) where your input will be greatly valued to support food self-sufficiency in Africa.

    As people of faith, we are committed to actions that promote justice for all people and care for God’s Creation.  At the foundations of our approach is the right to food, which resonates with our biblical understandings of justice so that all people have access to the means and ability to procure sufficient and nutritious food for themselves without sacrificing other fundamental rights such as housing, education and health. We believe all governments are required to ensure the right to food is protected and fulfilled. 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. How we produce food, how we distribute it and how we ensure that all people have access to culturally-appropriate nourishment is a fundamental matter of justice towards all people.
    We are writing to express our appreciation for the recommendations of the conference you jointly organized: Partnering for Food Security, on 26th September 2009 at the UN headquarters in New York. Your call for governments and the international community to initiate a new era for agricultural development, a revolutionary approach that will support small-holder farmers, especially women, and a transformation of markets and trading systems, so they work better for the poor, was a sign of strong leadership and commitment. Also, your reaffirmation of the commitments made by G8 members at L’Aquila in July 2009 to “take decisive action to free humankind from hunger and poverty through improving food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture,” and to work together to: 1) support country-led processes; 2) ensure a comprehensive approach to food security; 3) strategically coordinate assistance; 4) support a strong role for multilateral institutions; and 5) sustain a robust commitment of financial resources, including $20 billion in resources pledged at the G8 Summit is well appreciated.
    We write now to ask that you ensure this vision is converted into practical and tangible action but we also hope that you will propose and take into active consideration the report and recommendations from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) as part of the solutions to ensuring food self sufficiency. 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 chemically-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.

    Be assured of our support of efforts to realize the right to food and to reflect on, critique, and act against the systems that lead to pervasive and debilitating hunger.
    Yours in faith,

     
    B) Letter to African Union and ECOWAS                        

    The African Union Commission (AU)
    PO Box 3243
    Addis-Ababa
    Ethiopia

    Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
    6 King George V Rd
    Private Bag 12745
    Lagos
    Nigeria

    Your Excellencies
    We are writing to you in advance of your important meetings concerning food security issues. We noted that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton co-organized a Conference: Partnering for Food Security on 26th September 2009 at the UN headquarters in New York whose recommendations they plan to share at the upcoming ECOWAS donor meeting to be held in Abuja (11-12 November 2009) and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Africa Forum to be held in Nairobi (30 November-4 December 2009), right at the same time when the WTO Ministerial Conference will be taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

    We are writing to ask that you call for:
    •    Just and sustainable food production, trade and distribution systems; just and sustainable consumption practices and the realization of the right to food.
    •    Inclusion of recommendations from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) at the CAADP and ECOWAS donor meeting.  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 chemically-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.
    •    The respect of the right to food for all people at the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held from 30 November-3 December 2009.
    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. How we produce food, how we distribute it and how we ensure that all people have access to culturally-appropriate nourishment is a fundamental matter of justice towards all people.
    “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.

    As people of faith, we are committed to actions that promote justice for all people and care for God’s Creation. Foundational to our approach is the right to food, which resonates with our biblical understandings of justice that all people have access to the means and ability to procure sufficient and nutritious food for themselves without sacrificing other fundamental rights such as housing, education and health. We believe all governments are required to ensure the right to food is protected and fulfilled.

    As part of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance please be assured of our support of efforts to realize the right to food and to reflect on, critique, and act against the systems that lead to pervasive and debilitating hunger.
    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/

Food Campaign
HIV and AIDS Campaign
EAA Resources