Thursday, 15 July 2010

EU and ACP non-state actors insist on food security as a human right

EU and ACP non-state actors insist on food security as a human right

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and their partners from across Africa met at the 11th Regional Seminar of ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They addressed the revision of the Cotonou Agreement and called for greater involvement of non-state actors in its implementation. They broached the challenging issues of Economic Partnership Agreements for the East African Community (EAC) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) regions, sustainable food secu rity and the EU-Africa Strategy.

The Cotonou Agreement still lacks both effective dissemination and timely information and consultation with non-state actors, namely when it comes to its five-year revision, said the delegates. The future revision of Cotonou should take into account the strengthening of social protection schemes in ACP countries, as well as better fiscal governance.

Food secu rity has to be considered a human right. To achieve this, food secu rity clauses have to be introduced in the EU-Africa trade agreements and the agricultural sector needs to be placed at the centre of national and international development policies. Local and regional markets need to be supported, and farmers' organisations should be reinforced and consulted in decision-making policies. The EU-ACP non-state actors supported the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreements under the condition that they include provisions aimed at the development of the beneficiary regions, namely the inclusion of economic, social and environmental provisions, timely information and involvement of non-state actors, promotion of infrastructures, modernisation of the agricultural sector and good economic governance.

In the presence of Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs for the African Union Commission and Mr Muna, President of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union (AU), the delegates called for the AU and the European Union to take urgent action to inform and to effectively involve non-state actors in the EU-Africa Joint Strategy. Grabbing the occasion, Members of the EESC and ECOSOCC of the AU officially launched their cooperation and joint involvement in the implementation of the Strategy.

Mr Jahier, President of the ACP-EU Follow-up Committee of the EESC, welcomed this joint initiative and stressed that “the EU-Africa Strategy was supposed to be ‘people centred’, however, this has not yet been achieved.”

The recommendations of the participants on all of the above topics can be accessed on the webpage of the EESC

Background note:
Under the auspices of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the EESC organises meetings with ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups. This role has been confirmed by the Cotonou Agreement, which mandates the EESC to organise consultation sessions and meetings of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups.

Kind regards,
Isolde Juchem
Press Service, EESC

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