Global Food Reserves: A Key Step Towards Ending Hunger

For Immediate Release

Save The World's Resources (STWR)
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Global Food Reserves: A Key Step Towards Ending Hunger

Food reserves could play an important role in a longer-term strategy to achieve universal food security if implemented as part of a new international framework for trade and agriculture, finds a study released today by Share The World's Resources.

LONDON - The
issue of food reserves has received renewed attention from policymakers
following the major increase in world food prices that pushed an additional 115
million people into hunger in 2007 and 2008. With the threat of world food
price inflation returning, proposals for a system of globally-coordinated food stocks
have recently been considered at several high-level international forums,
including the G-8 meeting and the United Nations General Assembly.

While
welcoming recent discussions about instituting food reserves at the local,
regional or international level, the paper emphasises the continuing structural
problems that underlie the volatility in agricultural commodity markets.
Without wider changes in agriculture and trade policy, it remains unlikely that
food reserves would make a significant impact on global food security, argues
STWR.

The
briefing paper proposes that policymakers adopt a two-pronged strategy in
approaching the issue of reserves; firstly, as part of a multilateral supply
management framework, and secondly to address critical food shortfalls in
humanitarian emergencies.

The
paper argues that self-interest drives the current support for food reserves
from the major industrialised and food exporting countries, which
constrains their effective implementation as mechanisms for achieving food security.

New Vision Needed

"We
need a bold new vision for food and agriculture policymaking," says Robin
Willoughby, policy officer at STWR. "Food reserves should be employed as part
of genuine multilateral cooperation between nations, rather than with the end
aim of propping up the existing trade export regime that favours countries such
as the US and EU."

Any
move towards the creation of multilaterally coordinated food reserves would
likely need the adoption of a new international treaty and legal regime, the paper
states. To address the democratic deficit that characterises a number of other
institutional structures dealing with food and agriculture policy, STWR
encourages sympathetic governments, UN agencies, civil society groups and
farmers' organisations to push for a Global Convention on Food Security coordinated
by the United Nations.

The
Convention could initiate a broader and more inclusive international dialogue
on food and agriculture policies, and create a binding human rights framework
to promote, protect and realise the Right to Food, says STWR.

"A
Global Convention on Food Security could put human rights rather than
international trade at the centre of a new framework for food security," says Willoughby.
"The ultimate goal of any reform should be to manage the negative impact of
international trade flows on developing countries, to improve the productive
capacity of poorer nations, and to improve the livelihoods of small-scale
farmers."

You can read the full policy brief here

The authors of the policy brief are Robin Willoughby and Adam Parsons.
For
further information, questions or interviews contact Share The World's
Resources press office:
Email:

press@stwr.org

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Phone: +44 (0) 20 7609 3034

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Share The World's Resources advocates for governments to secure basic human needs by sharing essential resources such as water, energy and staple food. We aim to promote greater international cooperation to facilitate a more equitable distribution of these vital goods and services.

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