Agriculture Ministers have admitted that they will probably fail to deliver on promises to halve world hunger by 2015. The final communiqué from the G8 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Northern Italy says the world is “very far from reaching” the United Nations goal of halving the number of people facing chronic hunger by 2015. This is the closest Ministers have come to admitting they will not deliver on the Millennium Development Goal – one of the eight international development goals that 192 United Nations member states agreed to achieve by the year 2015. "G8 Ministers have made an extraordinary admission of collective failure. This would be a sack-able offence in any other arena," said Chris Leather, Oxfam International’s Senior Food Advisor. “The G8 has failed the world’s one billion hungry people.”
An extra 150 million people have become chronically hungry in the last year as a consequence of high food prices, making the world total near to one billion people. Without urgent action the number will increase rapidly due to the global economic crisis and in the face of climate change. The United Nations Food and Agriculture agency (FAO) has called on world leaders to take action in order to eradicate world hunger by 2025. However setting a new goal will achieve little if rich countries fail to deliver on their promises.
It now falls to G8 Development Ministers, who are meeting at the end of April, to come up with concrete proposals to tackle the food crisis. These proposals must be agreed by Heads of State when they meet in July. “When leaders of the world’s richest countries meet in July they must put an end to the grandstanding and take concrete action to end hunger," said Leather. Oxfam is calling for G8 leaders to commit to a legally binding international convention that aims to eradicate hunger. There is currently no way of holding governments to account for their failure to deliver on promises to tackle hunger. A legally binding commitment would enable civil society to hold governments to account for their failure to prevent people dying from hunger in a world where we have the means to prevent it.
The meeting of the G8 and G5 agriculture ministers in Cison di Valmarino, near Treviso in the Veneto region of northeast Italy, was the first of its kind. The ministers were asked to come up with concrete proposals to address food security in a declaration by the G8 Summit in Japan in 2008. But the meeting has not produced a single concrete proposal to fight hunger, not to speak about new financial commitments.