News of the FAO and IPC process in 2006

European FAO Consultation and other FAO and IPC events

15 mars 2006

In June 2006, in the week from 6 to 10, will take place the FAO Conference and the FAO-NGO/CSO Consultation for Europe, in Riga, Latvia.
The European Organizations will take the oportunity of these events to work on main issues for Europe : rural development, food security, impact of European policies in other Regions, impact of the CAP in European Eastern and Central Countries, struggle against chicken flu, etc.

1. The European IPC defines its strategic guidelines
2. Regional FAO Conference and Consultation in Europe (Riga, June 2006)
3. Regional conferences and consultations in the World
4. FAO Conference and IPC Forum on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Porto Alegre)
5. Forum "World Food Summit ; ten years later", Rome, October-November 2006
6. Attached documents

1. The European IPC defines its strategic guidelines

During the World IPC meeting held in Rome from 4 to 8 November 2005, a discussion was held about the role of the IPC. It appears clearly to the European members, during the discussion on the role of the Regional IPCs, that the European IPC had to deal with important specificities of the European civil society situation. For instance, many networks did already exist in the European Union, contrarily of what exist in other continents. On the other hand, the European IPC need also to consider the specific situation of the Eastern and South Eastern countries where the civil society is quite weaker.

In Rome, the European members decided to continue the important discussion about the specific role of the European IPC in the first European meeting of the Steering Committee in charge of the preparation of the Riga Consultation. This meeting was held on the 16th and 17th in Budapest and a text defining the strategic guidelines for the European IPC was written during and finalized after the meeting.
The following text was adopted after the meeting in Budapest.

The IPC Europe

A. IPC Europe is :

1. the regional group of the World IPC(1) for food sovereignty(2) ;

(1) IPC was born as the FAO interface to prepare the 2002 WFS : five years later civil society Forum and has an agreement with FAO to facilitate the participation of civil society in the FAO technical committees (e.g. Committee on World Food security) and other meetings, to organise consultations in advance of the regional FAO conferences and direct liaison with the institution, in order to facilitate civil society interaction with governments on the main issues that FAO deals with.

(2) Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labor, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies.

2. facilitating the agenda of the World IPC at European level and organizes the input of European contributions in World IPC, particularly concerning the work on the four thematic issues of Food Sovereignty, as they relate to Europe :
- right to food e.g. Food Sovereignty ;
- trade and local markets e.g. impacts of CAP and WTO on European agriculture ;
- new agricultural models, such as agroecology, and responsible fisheries e.g multifunctional agriculture ;
- access to resources e.g. access to land, water, biodiversity/seeds, guarding against patenting, GMOs / Terminator ;

3. a network that could facilitate contacts worldwide with similar organizations, working on food sovereignty including, for example, the global impact of the CAP and other European agri-food policies on other regions of the world ;

4. a platform for lobbying European governments on the main issues dealt with by FAO, in particular showing the contradictions between what governments are supporting on the FAO level and what they are supporting on the WTO level.

B. IPC Europe Activities in 2006 include :

1. promotion of Food Sovereignty policies in Europe in the 4 main priority issues of World IPC ;

2. mobilization of Civil Society to develop a policy on the east-west issue concerning food and agriculture policy within Europe ;

3. organization of the regional consultation with governments at the time of the FAO Regional Conference in Riga, Latvia (June 2006) ;

4. facilitation of the participation of European organizations in the Special forum on food and hunger (WFS+10) in Sept 2006.

C. Why is FAO important for Europe ?

1. for its regulatory role : e.g. codex alimentarius (HACCP,...) , voluntary guidelines on right to food, code of conduct on responsible fisheries, international treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (in the future also on animal genetic resources), sustainable forestry, animal welfare, pesticide controls etc... ;

2. for its role in food security assessments in Eastern and Central Europe ;

3. for raising European issues in international conferences e.g. the current one on land reform ;

4. for its assessments of the impact of international trade policies in Europe ;

5. for its assessments of the effects of CAP in Central and Eastern Europe and non European countries.

D. What IPC Europe is asking FAO to do for Europe ?
(i.e. priorities for the Regional Conference)

1. propose policies to ensure food sovereignty in Europe ;

2. conduct a multifunctional analysis of agriculture ;

3. act as an external watchdog of the impact of the European Common Agricultural Policy on European agricultural, especially on family farms ;

4. propose policies to deal with the East-West difference.

The present guidelines insist on the role of the European IPC in the specific context of Europe, but additional work needs to be achieved in the future, on the decision process (how to organize ourselves to fulfill our role), on the priorities for different sectors in the Region, on the European contribution to the world process, etc.
An opportunity to deepen these issues will be the Special Forum of September 2006 (WFS ten years after) that the IPC will organize in Rome to assess the work done since the 2002 WFS five years after parallel Forum.

2. Regional FAO Conference and Consultation in Europe (Riga, June 2006)

In 2006, the FAO will organize the Regional Conference for Europe in Riga, Latvia (8-9 June 2006). This important European meeting will be preceded, the 5th and 6th of June, by the Consultation between the FAO and the European Civil society, like it happened already in the past years (Porto, Nicosia, Montpellier).
The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Social Movements from Europe will co-organize with the FAO Regional Office for Europe, the FAO-CSO/NGO/Social movements Consultation, at the beginning of the same week (5-6 June 2006).
Between these two meetings will take place, the 7th of June, a third meeting, the European Committee for Agriculture. The Committee is more technical, while the Conference is more political.

More information about the Consultation, the Conference and the Committee for Agriculture is available in a preceding document. It concerns the IPC participation in the Multi Stakeholders Dialogue (MSD), to take place during the Conference, the Consultation’s agenda and the financial aspects, the preparatory process for the Consultation and other meetings from Riga.

3. Regional conferences and consultations in the World

The other Conferences organized in 2006 by the FAO in the world are the following :
- for Africa (ARC) : 24th Regional Conference : 30 January - 3 February, Bamako, Mali ;
- for the Near East (NERC) : 28th Regional Conference : 12 - 16 March, Sana’a, Yemen ;
- for Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC) : 29th Regional Conference : 24 - 28 April, Caracas, Venezuela ;
- for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) : 28th Regional Conference : 15 - 19 May, Jakarta, Indonesia ;
- for Europe (ERC) : 25th Regional Conference : 8 - 9 June, Riga, Latvia.

A Consultation was held in Africa and others will probably also be held for in other Regions, except for the Near East, where the relations between the FAO regional authorities and the regional IPC are too difficult.
For the African Consultation, some final documents are available (see attached documents) :
- the message of the farmers organizations, the NGOs and other organizations of Civil society from Africa ;
- some elements from the report of the 5th FAO - NGO/CSO African Consultation and the final declaration.
For all the Conferences in the world, for documents please go to the following website :

4. FAO Conference and IPC Forum on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Porto Alegre)

In addition to the FAO-civil society Consultations, another top priority for the World IPC was the organization, in March 2006, of the IPC Forum "Land, territory and dignity", in relation with the FAO "International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development", organized on demand of the Brazilian government.

Concerning the IPC, the Forum does not target only the land reform process as such, but also all the questions related to the situation of access to land and water, and this in all the regions in the world. This is also valuable for Europe, where problems exist in the EU (where the farmers are loosing their lands and where concentration is growing) and in the European East and Central Countries (EECCs), where specific problems exist after the collectivisation of land during the communist regimes.

For the FAO International Conference, the IPC was involved in the preparatory work of the FAO, and will also participate, bringing some input in the preparatory texts and in the workshops. The IPC preparatory text is available (see attached documents).

For the FAO International Conference, all the information is on the following website :

5. Forum "World Food Summit ; ten years later", Rome, October-November 2006

Another world IPC top priority in 2006 is the organization of the Special Forum related to the World Food Summit (WFS) ten years later (Rome, October-November 2006). This event, first scheduled in September by the FAO that decided the change during this summer, will give the opportunity to assess the work achieved since 2002 (World Food Summit ; ten years later) by the governments, civil society and the IPC. It is in 2002 that the IPC received its mandate at the WFS ; five years later parallel Forum.

For the FAO and for the IPC, the Regional processes (Conferences and Consultations) are important pieces to prepare the WFS ten years later.

Daniel Van Der Steen

Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (Collective for Food Strategies - Belgian Non Governemental Organization)

Focal point for the European region in the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty.

6. Attached documents

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