"Farmers feed the world, yet far too many of them put their children to bed underfed."
Posted by Bertie
What are the topics of fundamental importance to our economies, societies and to the future of sustainable development?
Agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
These were also the themes discussed by ministers and other high level representatives during the CSD17, the 17th Session of the United Nations Commission of Sustainable Development, held from May 4-15 in New York.
From the Commission's Shared Vision Statement:
"The multiple challenges the world is facing in terms of climate change, degradation of ecosystems, the food insecurity, the financial meltdown and economic recession require an integrated response that ensures that short term emergencies are addressed while developing long term strategies within the framework of sustainable development. With the economic crisis, many countries, especially developing countries, are hard hit by collapsing exports, capital flight and rising unemployment.
Still, to feed a growing population adequately and to allow for improved nutrition under conditions of growing water scarcity, climate change, soil depletion and ecosystem degradation, business as usual will not suffice. Ministers highlighted the urgency of appropriate national and international action and greater cooperation to bring about a paradigm shift and to realize a truly sustainable green revolution that reverses the widespread trends of declining agricultural productivity and incomes. Nothing less is needed than a revolution in ideas and a revolution in technologies, supported by a revolution in trade policies and market access and the financial means to implement it.
With sharing our vision we underlined our deeper appreciation of the centrality of agriculture to sustainable development: agriculture in the broad sense, including livestock raising, agro-forestry and mixed systems. Farmers, particularly women farmers and small rural farmers are at the heart of sustainable agriculture. Farmers are central to the enterprise of building and sustaining a productive, resilient agricultural sector - here again, farmers in the broad sense, including pastoralists, farmer workers and others who make a living from the land. This includes women and men, and the important place of women in farming needs to be recognized. Farmers feed the world, yet far too many of them put their children to bed underfed. This injustice must cease.
We must commit ourselves to working to create the conditions and provide the opportunities and resources so that farmers everywhere can increase their food production, send their children to school, and enjoy rising living standards and fulfilling lives. This applies specifically to small farmers. (Emphasis mine. B.)
A paradigm shift is needed. Agriculture should no longer be seen as part of the problem, but part of the solution. Agriculture is at the heart of poverty eradication. It is at the heart of sustainable development. It is also increasingly at the heart of climate change."
The Commission's Shared Vision Statement was sent to the Dutch Parliament on May 29 by Gerda Verburg, Dutch minister of Agriculture, and Chair of the 17th Session of the Commission.
The full text of the Shared Vision Statement can be downloaded from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture's website (click here). On the same page: "Policy options and practical measures to expedite implementation in agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa."