Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to attend the World Food Summit, 16-18 November 2009

Pretoria- Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will on Saturday, 14 November 2009 depart for Rome, Italy, to participate in the World Food Summit scheduled to take place from 16 - 18 November 2009. Deputy President Kgalema Matlanthe will be supported by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and senior government officials.

President Kgalema Motlanthe’s visit takes place within the context of strengthening North-South Dialogue and directly corresponds to South African foreign policy objectives of creating a better world for all by eradicating poverty and promoting food security particularly on the African continent. In addition South Africa’s support for the World Food Summit is informed by its desire to improve and strengthen the international multilateral system in its efforts to find a global solution to an international problem of food insecurity, that not only affects Africa, but also South Africa’s poor, both in rural and urban areas.

South Africa’s participation highlights a critical reality that food security should be addressed within the context of a global partnership, while recognising the obligation of the international community to assist developing countries to build its capacity to deal with the crisis. Critical to the support by developed countries would be implementation of commitments already made during previous international conferences to address the scourge of food insecurity.

Accordingly, issues to be addressed at the World Food Summit include, among others, the following:

  • Consideration of measures to eradicate hunger from the face of the earth by 2025.
  • Establishment of a coherent and effective system of global governance of world food security (Reformed CFS).
  • Efforts to mobilise USD 30 billion per year for public and private sector investments in rural infrastructure to enhance food production.
  • Establishment of early warning mechanism for food crisis.
  • Development of consensus on fair rules and mechanisms for farmers in developed and developing countries to profit from agriculture without market distortions.

In its contribution to the Summit, South Africa is expected to call for measures to strengthen the international resolve, by agreeing to implement commitments already made in previous meetings, particularly the commitment by G8 countries at L’Aquila to mobilise US$20 billion for food security and agricultural development. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has appealed during 2008 for US$1.7 billion to support the urgent activities under its initiative on soaring food prices.

The global food crisis affects an estimated 1,02 billion people globally, most of whom reside in developing countries. In South Africa alone, 2.2 million households are regarded as food insecure and vulnerable. It is estimated that this group utilizes more than 60% of their income on purchasing food.

Higher food prices not only negatively affects the attainment of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) One, the reduction of poverty and hunger, but will also make it more difficult to achieve the targets for education (MDG2), child and maternal mortality reduction (MDGs 4 and 5), and the spread of major diseases (MDG6).

The Summit is expected to adopt an Outcome Document, emphasising the world’s collective commitment to fight hunger and poverty.

Deputy President Motlanthe is also expected to hold discussions with the Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, Dr Jacques Diouf.

Deputy President Motlanthe is expected to return to South Africa on 19 November 2009.

For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
Pretoria, 0001
13 November 2009


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