Report of the Enlarged European IPC members in preparation of the European FAO-CSO/NGO/Social movements Consultation in Montpellier. Brussels the 8th March 2004.Next meeting
We will meet again on the
Tuesday 30th of March in Paris from 10.00 (10.30) to 16.30 (or 17.00)
The place is still to be decided.
Marie-Noëlle Hedouin (CNJA), Gilles Hirzel (FAO/Regional European Representation), Kölling Anhe (Agric. Commiss. European Parliament- collaboratrice Hans Martin Lorenson), Marcel Mazoyer (Association Française pour la FAO-AFFAO), Patrick Mulvany (ITDG/ Genetic Resources focal point), Marek Poznanski (CSA, Belgium), François Vanier (CNJA), Jonas Vanreusel (FIAN Belgium/Right to Food focal point), Jean-Louis Vielajus (CFSI), Manon Favrin (European Public Health Alliance – EPHA- collaboratrice Tamsin Rose), Daniel Van Der Steen (CSA, Belgium/European regional focal point), rapporteur.
Dicky De Morrée (BBO – Netherlands), Andrea Ferrante (IPC Liaison bureau Rome)
Christine Hertrich (MIJARC), Nora McKeon (FAO/ TCDS), Aksel Naerstad (The Norvegian Development Fund), Paul Nicholson (Via Campesina/Farmers focal point), Antonio Onorati (IPC chairperson and Liaison bureau), Brian O'Riordan (ICSF/ Fishworkers focal point), Peter Rottach (Brot für die Welt), Lidia Senra (Spain/CPE member organisation), Anamarija Slabe (ISD, Slovenia/ European regional focal point)
1. Exchange of information about the IPC at world level
In absence of an IPC Liaison bureau member, Daniel Van Der Steen gives some basic information about the preparation of regional consultations in the world.
Begin 2004 (which is very late to organise the Consultations in the first months -until April- of 2004), the IPC liaison bureau was informed that 80.000 $ should be available for each Regional Consultation, except the European one. So was decided by the funder (Italian government). Another amount was available for the Rome IPC liaison bureau, but the amount was less than expected, related to the relation $/€ and to the 6% administrative costs going to FAO and that the liaison bureau didn’t expected.
In November-December 03, at the general IPC meeting, the IPC staff and some FAO people still believed that some funds should be available for the European consultation. Reality is now clearly different.
About other activities, a second meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) was held in Rome (27 to 29 October 2003), as usually well followed by FIAN. The next meeting was an Intersessional Working Group the first week of February 2004 in Rome.
The IPC decided also to set up a new working group (agroecology was the first) on agriculture research. But it didn’t started until now.
Begin 2004, the IPC finalised a document that will be a framework for all consultations, the “guidelines for the FAO/Regional NGOs/CSOs consultations” (available on the IPC website).
2. Briefing about the preparation of the European Regional Conference
An important step for the preparation of the European Regional Conference was the European Commission on Agriculture. Daniel VDS participated and took the opportunity to have a meeting with the new Regional office for Europe representative (Mrs Krause, in replacement of Mrs Forthomme) and with the IPC Liaison bureau (Andrea Ferrante).
The FAO European Committee on agriculture for the European Region was held in Rome the 1st and 2nd of March 2004 and discussed the issue of Food Safety and Quality in Europe, and particularly the aspects of quality, nutritional balance and the importance of agricultural land and cultural heritage (“terroirs”) (document ERC/04/4).
Another point (ESCORENA, the FAO research networks first based in the European and Mediterranean regions) was discussed, with some links with the agriculture research.
A working group on women’s contribution to rural development also exist in the European region. If you look to the documents they produce, they are interesting, even if the very bureaucratic report they made to the ECA was not at all exciting.
All these documents are on the FAO European Region website.
It was a good opportunity to rethink the first draft agenda for the Consultation and to take some contacts (with Mr Jouve, the author of the document on quality and with the WHO representative Mrs Aileen Robertson).
What appears is the link that can be done between agriculture policies in Europe (taking in account CAP reform and entrance of accession countries in the EU) and quality issues; also between food policies and production systems in Europe. Who will be able to produce for the European markets? And the small producers in the accession countries will they still have access to their own markets after entering the EU?
A comment is made on the quality document (ERC /04/4): the recommendations seems to be poorer that the content suggests, in particular concerning the environment (see page 9 in English).
The attendance to the meeting gave an opportunity to review the draft agenda for the Consultation4.
3. Briefing about the preparation of the European Regional Consultation
As explained in the point 2, nothing can be expected threw IPC for the European Consultation.
To be complete, it must been said that the FAO European Region will provide help in kind: the Conference room and the full translation disposal (included interpreters) is at our disposal during the 2 Consultation days, and also small meeting room with computers. A help will also been provided for the edition work for the report and Gilles Hirzel also proposed to help us during the Consultation. A local contribution from the City is also proposed for the participant’s transportation. But we have to tell them which are our needs.
A funding was also asked by the IPC European focal point and CFSI to the French government (host country) but, according to the CFSI representative Jean-Louis Vielajus, it appears clearly we will have nothing. He asks to the organisations to support the petition of the French organisations that are actually severely threatened by their government with a strong reduction of the funds for development cooperation in support of the NGOs programs.
4. Organisation and preparation of the Consultation
The preparation and of the organisation of the Consultations relies on the regional IPC focal points and on the host countries civil society organisations collective, in collaboration with the FAO. For the 2004 European Consultation, the CFSI (Comité Français de Solidarité Internationale), member of the french WFS follow-up structure “Coordination Sud” and of the Animation Committee of the french “Plate-forme pour des agricultures durables et solidaires en Europe et dans le monde” accepted formally to be the leader of the french civil society host Committee.
For the 2004 Consultations, guidelines were drafted by the IPC in collaboration with the FAO.
4.1 Participation and active networks to involve
The need to rely on existing active networks
Giving the lack of money, it is important to invite to Montpellier existing dynamics that rely on active networks. So, giving the Consultation Agenda and the possible synergies on these issues, we invited the European Network of Platforms for food and agriculture (platforms working on the European Common Agriculture Policy) to participate actively in the Consultation. They will probably decide on the 18th -19th of March in Madrid to meet in Montpellier, also on a separate day for institutional work. Wednesday the 5th of May is proposed, given the week end is the one of first of May (workers day) and that it is good to keep a day for holiday on Sunday if the people arrive on Saturday night for cheap air tickets (the place remains to be find).
This synergy can be interesting, and even more in considering that the actual concern of the Network (actually rooted in the European Union) is to enlarge in direction of organisations from other European countries. So Montpellier will be for the Network the opportunity to enlarge the work with other countries of the European Region.
There is a need to find a meeting place for the meeting of the European platforms on the Wednesday 5th May, necessary in a different place that the Consultation, because on the 5th, the Conference will follow the Consultation in the same room. Mazoyer think this is possible in Montpellier at a moment where many students are away on work experiences (stages pratiques) and proposes his help.
The participation of all European subregions
Many participants stress the problem of the imbalance between the European sub regions, the richer and the poorest ones. This has to been said during the Conference in our declarations. In the future, it is necessary to look for other funding lines than North-South ones. We should investigate if other lines don’t exist in order to facilitate the exchanges of accession countries with other EU countries. Il is a reality that even the accession countries will have difficulties to participate on their own budget in Montpellier, even if the Consultation will take place after the accession date of the 10 new countries.
It was also suggested to contact the Trialog project, who promotes exchanges in Europe. Also in CONCORD (new European liaison committee), the Estonian are very active to involve European NGOs in Eastern and Central European countries.
In this light, the lack of funding was a problem for the involvement of the regional focal point for East and Central European countries, Anamarija Slabe.
If there is a difficulty for Development NGOs to find funds for European organisations, we should better explore in the future which budget lines exist outside of the North-South field.
In conclusion, it was decided:
- to ask to all the organisations to fund, if possible, their own travel and stay costs for the Consultation ;
- that, unless the lack of funding for the Consultation, the organisations interested into the Consultation should fund at least some participants from the European East and Central Countries. CFSI (looking towards Albania) and CNJA have already proposed some effort to help some organisations, but an appeal is made to other organisations to contribute in this effort
To reduce costs, we also need to look for cheap flies, what means the participants arrive on Saturday.
Daniel VDS will send top everyone the list of contacted organisations in the EECCs while asking for suggestions coming from other members of the Committee.
But even in this framework, an imbalance will exist and it is proposed to give first the word the sub-regional minorities present in the meeting.
It is also important to propose to the organisations coming to Montpellier opportunities of very cheap hotels. As the local authorities provide transportation, these places don’t need to be near the meeting place. But they should not be too far from the City Center, to avoid people being isolated.
M Mazoyer have some ideas: Agropolis and IAM (both isolated), Ensam (more central).
Daniel VDS insist that everyone communicates him the EECCs organisations (with postal and e-mail addresses) that are interested and able to participate (with help or via their own means), in order to transfer to the FAO, that will send an official invitation for facilitate the visa requirements.
The participation of all sectors
In general, the help of the Steering committee members is needed to inform in each country all the interested organisations. In absence of Brian O'Riordan (ICSF), help for contacts with fisherpeople’s organisations should be asked, to Brian and Beatrice Gorez.
Gilles Hirzel asks not to forget to contact the network active on agricultural research. Such networks exist in Montpellier, says Mazoyer.
Lobbying and statements during the Consultation
Probably we will have the opportunity to present several statements, on each point of the Conference agenda. The statements has to be distributed to the delegations before the debates, to avoid that delegates discover our ideas when the debates are closed.
We feel it is necessary to say something about the impact of the financial difficulties we encountered to prepare the Consultation. The uncertainty we had created a great loss of effectiveness and an unbalance in participation to the detriment of non EU Regions. This should be written in a diplomatic way: first congratulate for the opportunity of the Consultation, and after what we regret.
It should be good also to have an encounter with the DG (as in Cyprus), the FAO European delegates, the EU delegates and the Commission. We should ask for it now.
4.2 Agenda and preparation of the Consultation
A new agenda draft was proposed by Daniel VDS after the ECA meeting in Rome.
It is suggested to have a theoretical introduction based on the 3 main points of the agenda.
About the preparation process, the following proposal is discussed.
The organisations interested in the diverse aspects of the Consultation should be involved in the preparation of the aspects on which they get expertise, experience or interest, and some organisations should act as “leaders” for the preparation thematic groups. The groups don’t need to meet physically, but they can work as networks threw e-mail and other communication systems. Amongst the task of the preparatory groups is the choice of preparatory texts and resource persons. The following preparatory groups are proposed, in accordance with the issues of the agenda.
Preparatory group 1
The group will prepare points 4 and 5 of the agenda.
Point 4 is about the impact of agricultural policies on the quality, diversity and safety of food production in the enlarged European Union and in other countries of the Region. The group will deal with questions of world agriculture prices and with the related agricultural policies (lost of market regulation to direct aid in the EU-APC Countries partnership, direct aid in the EU and the CAP reform aspects, etc.) and their impact on specific food quality/ diversity/safety problems in the EU, the accession countries and other countries, included the impact on health and on production systems (access to the European market). Which objectives and strategies need to be defined for agriculture policies to promote sustainable rural development (back to market regulation, which international trade policies at the WTO, in Europe and in the free trade areas from the Cotonou agreements…)
Point 5 is about the food policies and the impact on the producers in the framework of the reinforcement of the legal and regulatory framework in favour of the food safety. The group will deal with the evolution of food consumption, the reinforcement of agribusiness (production and distribution of food), the evolution of food regimes, the food crises, the reinforcement of the legal and regulatory framework (codex alimentarius, national legislations …) and the negative impact of these evolution. The group will also work on the strategies and take into consideration the existing network (newly created in Europe) on agribusiness influence. This network, that met the first time in Brussels, is called the Agribusiness Accountability Initiative (AAI). It is an open and ongoing global forum for sharing research, advocacy ideas, networks and public education strategies to address the disproportionate impact of Transnational Agrifood Corporations on the livelihoods and food security of producers, workers, consumers, and communities around the world.
The European Network of CAP Platforms could lead (to discuss in Madrid) and other members could be: EPHA, AFFAO, CFSI, EPHA, CNJA, CSA, Comite d’animation de la Plate-forme pour des agricultures durables et solidaires, UK Food Group, MRJC, European Farmers Coordination, Oxfam Belgium, some Italian NGOs, FUJA, Vredeseilanden, Banana Link, the AAI ...
Preparatory group 2
The group will prepare point 6 of the agenda on the reorientation of the European agricultural research towards a sustainable rural development related to a sound, diversified and quality food production. The group will deal with the situation of agricultural research, the influence power of food agribusiness and big distribution and with the necessary reorientation of agricultural research in Europe and in the framework of agriculture development cooperation, to ensure a sustainable rural development related to a sound, diversified and quality food production.
ITGD could lead and other members could be: Henk Hobbeling from GRAIN, Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil from Coordination Sud, Antonio Onorati from Crocevia, IFOAM and members of the IPC working group on agricultural research, etc.
Preparatory group 3
The group will prepare point 7 of the agenda on development policies and agriculture budgets in support of agriculture. The group will deal with agriculture cooperation, reduction in budget lines for the financing of the agricultural sector and the food security, financial needs of the agricultural sector and the quality improvement of the cooperation for agriculture development (campaign « More and better aid for agriculture » initiated at the WFS : five years later), without forgetting the Special Programs on Food Security (SPFS) of FAO.
The Norwegian Development Fund (Axel Naerstadt) could lead and other members could be: CSA, CCFD, Bröt fuer die welt (Peter Rottach), SOS - Hunger, etc.