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G8 Agriculture Ministers Adopt Declaration on the World Food Emergency

© G8 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting.jpg20 April 2009: The Ministers of Agriculture of the G8 countries and Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Egypt convened from 18-20 April 2009, in Cison di Valmarino, Italy, to discuss food security under the theme “The World Food Emergency.” The meeting was also attended by the Heads of UN agencies that are members of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on Food Security and other intergovernmental bodies.

In their statements, the Heads of agencies called on ministers to invest heavily in agriculture to create jobs and incomes for poor people, and underlined the need to enable the rural poor and small holder farmers to access markets, cope with climate change and catalyze economic growth in poor rural areas. Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International, a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), urged ministers to give greater prominence to agricultural biodiversity as a basis for sustainably increasing food production while adapting to the impacts of climate change.

The ministers adopted a Declaration, which included proposals to: place agriculture and food security at the core of the international agenda; increase public and private investment in sustainable agriculture, rural development and environmental protection to tackle climate change impacts and ensure sustainable management of water, forests and other natural resources; ensure that sound agricultural policies and strategies underpin these investments; and sustainably increase renewable energy production from biomass without compromising food security, with a strong emphasis on the development and commercialization of second generation biofuels. The Declaration will be forwarded to the G8 Heads of State summit to be held in Italy in July 2009. [Final declaration] [FAO press release] [Bioversity International press release]