As UN World Summit on Food Security Meets, IUF Asks What about the Workers?
The number of hungry people on the planet is now officially estimated to exceed one billion, and the price of basic foodstuffs is predicted to remain high, volatile and susceptible to shocks. This is the background against which the United Nations' World Summit on Food Security is now taking place in Rome November 16-18.
In the run-up to the Summit, the IUF has written to Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, highlighting the total absence of any reference in the Draft Summit Declaration document to the crucial role of the world's half a billion waged agricultural workers, those who help feed the world but are frequently hungry themselves.
The IUF's letter to Diouf points out that chronic food insecurity among agricultural workers and their communities is indivisibly linked to the chronic violation of their collective rights, and therefore calls on the FAO head "to recommend to member Governments that a firm commitment to the creation of decent work and living wages in agriculture are included in the commitments and actions adopted by the Summit." The IUF also emphasizes that another essential outcome of the Summit must be that the ILO, as the sole UN agency responsible for the world of work, must be designated as one of the UN agencies with a specific mandate to work on eradicating hunger from the world.
The IUF, which participates in the civil society consultation group of the UN's High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, will be assessing the outcome of the Rome Summit and its possible implications for IUF policy and action.