World Food Summit Update

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is hosting the "World Food Summit: Five Years Later" in Rome from June 10 through June 13, 2000.

Food First is providing regular reports on the summit.

Food First at World Food Summit:

Daily Reports from Peter Rosset, Co Director of Food First:

Report from the 2002 World Food Summit: Day 1

Report from the World Food Summit: Day 1, June 10, 2002

United States Behavior at World Food Summit: "Reprehensible"

ROME -- At 3:00 AM on Monday morning the United States stood alone among all nations of the world in blocking further discussion of the draft text of the declaration that governments will sign at the World Food Summit. What was leading the U.S. to stop the all night negotiating session? First, the U.S. wanted all references to "food as a human right" to be deleted, and second, the U.S. wanted strong language saying that genetically modified (GM) crops are a key way to end hunger. The Third World nations organized in the Group of 77 wanted mandatory language on the Right to Food, while Europe and Canada held out for the compromise of a voluntary Code of Conduct. No other nation felt strongly that GM crops should receive prominence.

"The U.S. is behaving in a reprehensible fashion," said NGO delegate Dr. Peter Rosset, co-director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy, an American food policy think tank. "It makes me ashamed to be an American when my government stands alone in the entire world in opposing the recognition of food as a fundamental human right," he said.

Later in the day U.S. negotiators backed off from their harsh stance, accepting "with reservations" watered-down language on the right to food. What this means is that the discussion of the rest of the
declaration can move forward, but the U.S. reserves the right to re-open the Right to Food issue later in the week. The U.S. may also decide to not to sign the final declaration, as it did at the 1996
World Food Summit, and in Kyoto, Rio and other major international negotiations.

Meanwhile, delegates and ministers from other nations report being subject to "immense" U.S. pressure to accept strong language in favor of GM crops. "The United States is redefining the very concept of 'Rogue Nation,'" said Dr. Rosset. "Any concept of human dignity and decency would see food as the most basic of all rights for human beings, but the U.S. somehow feels such notions would restrict the freedom to operate of American corporations."

AMP Section Name:Food and Agriculture
  • 181 Food and Agriculture

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