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International Organisation Food And Agriculture Organisation Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 2468 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, or ONUAA for its French equivalent Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO acts as a neutral forum, serving both developed and developing economies, where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is a source of information and knowledge, and helps developing countries/ countries in transition to modernise and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring adequate nutritional bal. Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates into English as “let there be bread”. As of 8 August 2008[update], FAO has 191 members’ states along with the European Union and the Faroe Islands, which are associate members.

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2. The Food and Agriculture Organization [1] of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. During its last summit in 2009, plan of action including seven commitments was drawn out. First of it is to ensure an enabling political, social and economic environment for eradication of poverty, most conducive to achieving food security for all. The importance of basic human right to food and sustainable agriculture was acknowledged by the summit. FAO has a special programme for food security

which is country based steering committee. Another programme, food security and vulnerability information and mapping system (FIVIMS) is established at world food summit and is monitoring undernourished people and issues of food access.

United Nations Development Programme

3. The United Nations Development Programme is concerned with integrating human rights in all global development activity, such as democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment [2] .

Export Credit Agencies (ECA) Watch

4. ECA Watch is an outreach mechanism of a larger international campaign to reform Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). Non-governmental organisations working on issues related to the environment, development, human rights and anti-corruption participating in this campaign lobby national and global ECAs to improve their environmental policies and practices.

World Agro forestry Centre

5. The World Agro forestry Centre is an autonomous, not-for-profit research and development institution supported by nearly 60 different governments, private foundations regional development banks and the World Bank whose primary mission is to improve food and nutritional security and enhance environmental resilience in the tropics [3] .

International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI)

6. Aimed at identifying and analysing policies for sustain ably meeting the food needs of the developing world. The research at IFPRI focuses on economic growth and poverty alleviation in low income countries and the sound management of the natural resource base that supports agriculture [4] . IFPRI seeks to make its research results available to all those in a position to use them and to strengthen institutions in developing countries that conduct research relevant to its mandate.

Consultative Group on Agricultural Research

7. CGIAR is a strategic alliance of countries, global and regional organisations and private foundations supporting 15 international agricultural centers. It works with national agricultural research systems and civil society organisations to achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy and the environment [5] .

Harvest Plus

8. Harvest Plus, one of the CGIAR’s Global Challenge Programs, seeks to reduce the effects of micronutrient malnutrition by harnessing the power of plant breeding to develop staple food crops that are rich in micronutrients, a process called Bio fortification [6] .

International Rice Research Institute

9. The International Rice Research Institute, an autonomous, non profit agricultural research and training organisation with offices in more than ten nations aims to find sustainable ways to improve the well-being of poor rice farmers and consumers while protecting the environment [7] .

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

10. IIED is a London-based independent, non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable patterns of development through collaborative research, policy studies, networking and knowledge dissemination. It works to address global issues like mining, paper industry and food systems. A 34 year-old organisation with a presence in 18 countries, IIED was the first recipient of the Blue Planet Prize (1992) for outstanding contributions to environmental policy and action [8] .

Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

11. CIFOR is an international research and global knowledge institution committed to conserving forests and improving the livelihoods of people in the tropics. CIFOR’s high impact research in 40 countries helps local communities and small farmers gain their rightful share of forest resources, while increasing the production and value of forest products [9] .

International Water Management Institute

12. IWMI is a non-profit scientific research organization specialising in water use in agriculture and integrated management of water and land resources. The institute works with partners in the developing world to develop tools and methods to help these countries eradicate poverty and ensure food security through more effective management of their water and land resources [10] .

World Health Organisation

13. The world’s foremost health agency, the World Health Organisation is the United Nations specialised agency for health, established with the objective is to achieve attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health [11] .

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

14. A research institute with five Indian centers and four overseas affiliates, TERI is committed to every finding innovative solutions to critical energy and environment related issues and the challenges posed by sustainable development — from providing environment-friendly solutions to rural energy problems to helping shape the development of the Indian oil and gas sector and from tackling global climate change issues across continents to enhancing forest conservation efforts among local communities [12] 

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United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

15. Established in 1972, United Nations Environment Programme acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and civil society [13] .

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

16. Located in New York. It has separate divisions called sustainable Energy and Environmental division (SEED) and Sustainable Lively hoods unit of poverty. The former focus on food security research and monitoring technical and policy issues e.g. food security action plans and the later focus on field and policy work having direct relevance to food security and emphasis on capacity building [14] .

Centre for Science and Environment

17. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is an independent, public interest organisation which aims to increase public awareness on science, technology, environment and development [15] .

Environment News Service

18. The Environment News Service provides daily international news updates on the environment [16] .

World Bank

19. World Bank is the major founder for Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) which conducts much of Green Revolution related R & D.

Adequacy Of Role/Contribution Of International Organisation

20. As per UN convention, Industrialised and developed countries are required to spend 0.7 percent of their national income on international aid. However, except Norway, Sweden, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Denmark, no other developed nation is meeting the target. (Data fact Map of UN). Lack of political consensus among developed countries on food security related issues and non implementation of UN convention in terms of national contribution towards aid has further weakened UN standing. Organisation of economic co-operation and development data mentions reduction of aid by 5.1 percent with effect from 2005 to economic crisis looming those countries. A mere scrutiny of mother organisation of world in respect of Global food security i.e Food And agriculture Organisation of United Nation enunciates the level of inadequacy of international agencies dealing with the crisis.

21. There has been severe public criticism [17] of FAO performance for the last 30 years. After the 1974 World Food Conference, due to dissatisfaction with the FAO’s performance two new organizations ie World Food Council (WFC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD were created. World Food Programme, which was started as an experimental 3-year programme under FAO, grew in size and independence, with the directors of FAO and WFP struggling for power.

Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. wrote that” the sad fact is that presently, the FAO has become essentially irrelevant in combating global hunger. In recent years, bloated bureaucracy known for mediocrity of its work and the inefficiency of FAO staff, the FAO has become increasingly politicised”. In the same year, the Society journal published a series of articles about FAOs inefficiency and lack of transparency.

22, US State Department expressed the view that “The Food and Agriculture Organization has lagged behind other UN organizations in responding to US desires for improvements in program and budget processes to enhance value for money spent”. In 1991, The Ecologist magazine produced a special issue written by experts such as Helena Norberg-Hodge, Vandana Shiva, Edward Goldsmith, Miguel A. Altieri and Barbara Dinham under the heading “The UN Food and Agriculture Organization: Promoting World Hunger” and questioned FAO’s policies and practices in forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, and pest control.

23. In 1996, World Food Summit organised by FAO was attended by 112 Heads or Deputy Heads of State and Government and concluded with the signing of the Rome Declaration, which established the goal of halving the number of people who suffer from hunger by the year 2015. In the meantime, 1,200 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from 80 countries participated in an NGO forum. The forum was critical of the growing industrialisation of agriculture and called upon governments and FAO to do more to protect the ‘Right to Food’ of the poor. Although some progress has been made during the last twenty years, the future is not bright. At the World Food Summit in 1996, high-level policy makers from more than 112 countries agreed to the goal of reducing the number of food-insecure people by half, to 400 million, between 1990 and 2015. At the follow-up Summit in 2002, policy makers from the same countries reaffirmed the same goal. Unfortunately, action does not seem to follow rhetoric. Even after ten years of first summit less than one third of the countries managed to reduce the number of food-insecure people, while one half experienced an increase.

24. To reach this target of world food summit, 22 million people need to escape from food insecurity every year. But only 6 million have been fortunate enough to do so. Given the progress, this commitment seems to have been mere lip service. Till date the countries who undertook this commitment have made choices each year about how to spend money and expend effort and policy goals to pursue. But for the vast majority, food security has never made it near the top of the agenda. With the present policies and approaches now being pursued in most countries and international organizations, there is no possibility of achieving sustainable food security for all in next decade. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations projects that even the more limited WFS goal will be met not by 2015, but by 2050.


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