For Immediate Release

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Signs of Hope That International Community Might Be Getting Its Act Together to End World Hunger, says Oxfam

ROME - UN countries began to find common ground on some important
and deep-seated problems contributing to global hunger, at a meeting of
the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) that ends in Rome tomorrow.

agency Oxfam said that the CFS – which has long been undermined by
scepticism and squabbling by some of its members – had made a break with
its past in agreeing a common plan to tackle global hunger. “Civil
society organizations were more prominent in helping the CFS begin to
transform itself from a talk-shop to a work-shop,” said Oxfam
spokesperson Chris Leather.

“This is a reason for hope on the eve of World Food Day.
However the CFS still needs much more high-level participation –
including from institutions like the World Bank and the private sector –
so that it can drive better policies and coordinated action to solve
world hunger. We’ve seen a good start – but it’s only a start.”

The agency singled out land grabbing and food price volatility as two of the most critical global issues that would test
whether the CFS could really deliver meaningful change. There was some
progress on both of these issues but also indications that more
political will is needed to tackle them properly, with binding
Governments worked constructively on tackling the problem of food price volatility. “They acknowledged that excessive speculation is a problem and that work was needed on the impacts of climate change adaptation
and mitigation policies on food security,” Leather said. “The CFS also
made an important decision to ask the independent High Level Panel of
Expert to make science-based recommendations to inform its policy
decisions next year.”


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The CFS agreed to move quickly to ensure that land laws should protect the interests of poor people against
the phenomenon of huge land grabs that are transforming the
agricultural landscape. “It is encouraging that governments appear to be
taking responsibility. But Oxfam remains concerned that poor people
remain at risk and more needs to be done sooner.”

Oxfam welcomed helpful interventions from rich countries such as the UK, US and Australia
that have in the past been sceptical about the CFS, suggesting that
they are joining the EU and Brazil, to find global solutions to global
problems. The constructive engagement by developing countries such as
Cameroon and Tanzania was important to ensure the meeting reflected the
views of those countries most affected by hunger.  

"Thanks to
reforms carried out last year, governments agreed that the CFS should
become the highest international political authority on food security.
This progress is only the first step,” said Leather. “The question
remains whether the countries have the political will to implement the
measures once they have been agreed. They must deliver results in time
for the CFS meeting in October next year.”


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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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