jeudi 19 juin 2008

Food crisis

Conference on Food crisis : challenges and prospect.

18th june 2008 18h30

Moderator: Mrs. C. Mahon, Research Associate, Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Speakers: Mr. C. Golay, Coordinator of the Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Mr. J. Feyder, Ambassador of Luxembourg
Mr. J. Ziegler, Member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Mr. C. Golay:

In the 1974, the first World Conference took place in Rome, the second took place in 1996, and in 2002 it was the World Summit Plus Five.
Actually we are looking for the causes of this structural crisis, for the first time.
Between february 2007 and february 2008, prices of rice, soya and wheat rised. Riots appeared, which can be explained by many causes:
- food is imported: the first people touched are in the cities.
- In the South, 60-70% of the budget is for food. If the prices increase all the budget is for food.
- Climate change
- Desertification
- Agrofuel
- Price of fuel
- High and increasing demand in India, China

Once the price is high, speculation and export restrictions (Egypt, China...) appear.

20% of the people who are hungry have no access to land or water
10% of the people who are hungry are nomades
20% of the people who are hungry are living in urban areas
50% = the people who are hungry

Food crisis is not caused by armed conflicts or natural catastrophes, but by manmade causes: 90% of the people who are hungry are living in peace.

Unger is in fact exclusion and discrimination, like in Haïti where there is no political plan for agriculture in the countryside.

A solution consists in reinvesting in local production to combat structural causes of hunger.

The last Food Summit (3-5th june 2008) in Rome was concluded by a weak declaration full of contradictory things like more production and more free trade.

Mr. J. Feyder:

The situation is very complex. There are short and long term causes and solutions.
Between 1996 and 2002 price of cotton and rice decreased, and so the buying power of the producers decreased. Those countries are in the South.
The huge volatility of prices is the main problem.
Unfortunately, hunger is not new, but the number of persons concerned increases. (850 millions of persons).
Some of the main causes of this crisis is the underinvestment in agriculture. Net exporters became net importers because the governement gave priority to the export. The crisis we actually know is the result of the failures and errors of yesterday.

In the long run, solution concerns productivity gap. The rates of productivity (for 1 ton produced in the South, 100 tons are produced in the North). Developing countries have to give priority to the agricultural production in a family scale. We also need fair and sustainable prices for producers.

The European organization of agriculture was thought so that Europe was able to produce what it needs.

The need for a better cooperation between all the UN organizations concerned and between all the UN organizations concerned and the Breton Woods organization is important to reach our goal.

Mr. J. Ziegler:

Right to food is a right to quality and quantity for physical and mental alimentation.

The actual crisis is an epiphenomenal event because the normality of hunger was silent.

The is enough food for all the population, so we are testimonying assassinations.

Burning alimentation for mobility of people in the Nirth is a crime against humanity. Moreover, speculation is possible thanks to favorable reglementations.

Absurdity of the policy of of the World Economic Forum: exporting agricole items so they have to import their food. Those countries become vulnerable with regard to the food price changes.

A particular attention must be given to the dumpin on imports by developed countries.

Suzanne Roset.

jeudi 21 février 2008

Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

15th February 2008
closing session

Agenda item 6 :
Presentation of the note of the Chairperson “Drafting and negotiation of a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products”:
A note of the Chairperson was distributed to the Delegations at the beginning of the meeting.
During its presentation, the Chairperson stressed that this document was not official and was not intended to commit the Parties. It must be considered a personal view of the discussions that had taken place during the first session of the INB on a Protocol on the illicit trade in tobacco products. This document gives only an idea of the results of the session and the orientation of the negotiations.
A formal summary report will be prepared by the Secretariat.

Discussion :
The presentation of the note was followed by the intervention of Ecuador, Maldives, Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Namibia and Djibouti.
During his speech, the delegate of the Maldives (member of the SEAR) stressed the existence of different views and interests concerning the drafting of the Protocol. He expressed the hope that the Protocol will be balanced and based on a real operability.

Agenda item 7: discussed the 14th February

Agenda item 8: closure of the Session
The Chairperson opened the floor to the delegations to express the final remarks.

Party States :
As party States, Austria, India, Mali Ecuador, Oman, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Micronesia, Paraguay, China, Japan, Benin, Jamaica, Palau, Turkey, Philippines, Malaysia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia took the floor.
All the Delegations expressed their satisfaction about the proceedings of the session and the results achieved so far. They thanked the Chairperson, the Secretariat and the group of expert for their contribution, stressing the quality of the debates.
Recognizing the challenge to translate the points discussed in legal terms, all the Delegations stressed the importance to draft a strong Protocol able to include all the different positions articulated during this first session. To foster the negotiations, many Delegations asked to the Chairperson to provide a draft version of the Protocol as soon as possible (Austria and India hopes that the document will be ready in May/June).

Observer States :
No observer States took the floor.

International organizations :
Concerning the international organization, only the World Customs Organization (WCO) took the floor welcoming the results of the session.

Non-Governmental Organizations :
For the NGO’s, Corporate Accountability International and Alliance took the floor.
CAI said that the priority of the Protocol was the protection of public health, so, concerning the economic interests in the Tobacco industry, the delegate stressed that the parties should have been resilient to eventual exterior pressure.

Conclusions of the Chairperson

The Chairperson expressed its satisfaction for the work done during the session, stressing that it was only the start of a long negotiation to draft the Protocol.
The second session will take place in Geneva in October, between the 22 and the 25. The dates have been chosen by vote by the different regions: SEAR, Micronesia, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Arab countries. One month earlier, the secretariat will give the final report to the different governments.

jeudi 14 février 2008

Intergovernemental Negociating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Searo Meeting
South East Asia delegations commented the paragraphs of the template, agenda item 6 of the programme of work that would have been discussed later on during the plenary. As usual, the comments where done title by title and paragraphs by paragraphs.

Sanctions and penalties:
The last sentence of the § should read as follows: Parties may also wish to consider adopting measures that take into consideration any previous conviction of an alleged offender for the purpose of using such information in criminal or any other proceeding at appropriate stage of the sentence covered by this protocol.

Destruction and disposal:
§ 42: the money should be reinvested in other needed areas such as public health. Hence, one should add at the end of the §: or any other activity that further the objective of this protocol.
Thailand reminded other delegation that this paragraph is not mandatory.

Plenary meeting
After brief comments the chair gave the floor to the delegations for their comments.

Enhanced law enforcement capacity:
- Senegal said that the developing countries should be assisted on law enforcement.
- European Commission asks for international cooperation.

- South Africa says to have a problem with the word “intentionally”, it would create loop holds, as who will prove the intentionality. It is financially difficult for developing countries to try to prove intentionality.
- Ecuador speaking in the name of AMRO countries asked for a legal clarification of the “illicit trade” meant by the framers of the template.
- Searo expressed them selves on paragraph 33a, stating that for all countries of the region, growing without licence is not a offence as there are many small growers. Philippines endorsed that comment.
- Congo estimated that one should add 2 sub-paragraph. 1: packages not in conformity to the rules of the convention, 2: selling by and to minors.
- Togo went one the same way and added a sub-paragraph: fake or falsified licences.
Before closing this theme, the chair said that the drafters will try to take all the comments into account accordingly to the different legal systems, as the common law is different from the napoleon laws…

Sanctions and penalties
- Togo asked for a legal definition of “probation”
On paragraph 36, Philippines asked for an amendment on the last sentence, agreeing on searo comment. It would read as follows: Parties may also wish to consider adopting measures that take into consideration any previous similar conviction of an alleged offender for the purpose of using such information in criminal or any other proceeding at appropriate stage of the sentence covered by this protocol.

Search, confiscation and seizure
- EC strongly recommended all parties to have legal measure on this issue.
- India on behalf of Searo asked that the term “property” be defined clearly.

Faye Ismaïla Pedro

mercredi 13 février 2008

Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.


Searo Meeting
Searo Delegations gave there views on the Template for the protocol proposed by the expert group (FCTC/COP/INB-IT/1/4). We proceeded item by item.

The discussion focused on knowing who should be licensed and who should be registered? Both definitions are different from a country to another. Searo Coordinator has then the task to ask the chair at the plenary to provide clear definition of both notions and that it would be specified in the future protocol.
Thailand: the fees should be indexed to the inflation so that it moves automatically.

Record keeping:
The common position on paragraph 23 is that it might be difficult for small manufacturers to keep “real time” access to the information.

Enhance law enforcement capacity:
The group will ask the chair to add at the end of paragraph 31, “by mobilizing national et international resources as appropriate.

On paragraph 33a the group would like to see deleted growing (as small growers don’t necessarily need a license) and added at the end of the sentence, “…whenever the national law requires such a license”.

Plenary Meeting
The Chair stated that parties shouldn’t adopt a very strong protocol, but a protocol that would be ratify-able by all countries. The last will then be able to go forward. on the implementing but not backward.
All delegation stated that the template was very good in general lines and that it provides sufficient bases for discussion.
Palau delegates estimates that the protocol should be more focus on financial issues, especially for countries with small GDP.
The chair then invited representatives to make their detailed comments chapter by chapter:

- Canada: on should include one criminal offences: eligibility and canceling of licence
Paragraph 10c:
- Japan estimates that periodic renewal of licence will have avoidable financial costs.
- Ecuador asked what would be the periodicity.
- Congo thinks that the impossibility to assign or transfer licences will be “kill” an on going business.
Paragraph 10h:
Several country think that the money collected from licencing could also be used for other important issues at their choice, ie. health than “implementing, enforcing and administering the licencing laws”.

Tracking and Tracing:
Canada proposes to have a Working Group on the issue of international tracking and tracing regime. All delegation think that one should have this system first at the national level.

Record Keeping:
It might be difficult for small countries and small manufacturers, growers, detailers, to keep computer records. The entity emitting the licence should keep the track. Some countries were favorable to keep the period for 5 years, other thought it is not enough and ask that it should be extended to 10 years. The pros argued that it would be financially difficult and added that one need a lot of space to do so. The cons wants to keep records for financial reasons, international cooperation and said that it not necessarily has to be kept in computers.

Security and preventive measures:
Searo members think that the transporters must have the obligation to verify the clean nature of the product. Penalty should be proportional to the size of the shipment. Must have a mechanism that ensures that the seized products are not putted back for trade.

Internet sale:
Syria estimates that the same think should be apply to duty free sales। All delegations recognize the difficulty in monitoring the cyber space and want the prohibition of internet tobacco sales.

Faye Ismaila Pedro

mardi 12 février 2008

Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

First session 11-16 February 2008

Searo Meeting

The South East Asia Region chose a new regional coordinator. The former coordinator was Thailand. All states agreed on saying that the coordinator for the regional bureau and the coordinator for INB should be the same person in order to avoid duplication.
Searo members decided not to go further and to put an end at the meeting. All parties where asked to read out the several documents for the group to discuss them on Tuesday February the 12th.
Thailand, Sri Lanka and India stated that they would take the floor during the 1rst plenary session.

Plenary session

Opening of the session:
The chair made a speech stating the number of parties to the convention: 152 as of now. 23 international intergovernmental organizations and 49 NGOs are currently accredited as observers of the Conference of the State Parties.(Item 4: Progress since the second session of the Conference of the Parties FCTC/COP/INB-IT/1/3)

Election of officers:
Austria on behalf of the EU proposed Doctor Ian Walter Gorge from England. That was the only proposal from the floor and it has been accepted. The new chairperson of the INB then proceeded to the election of the vice chairs representing the 5 regions.
EMRO: Oman; AMRO: Mexico; SEARO: India; AFRO: Ghana; WPRO: Micronesia.
In case the chair is not present, the above order is to retain.

Item 3: Adoption of the Agenda and organization of work:
With the proposal of the chair we moved to intervention of the parties and postponed this item.

Intervention of the parties:
All delegations asked not to split the plenary meeting into 2 sub committee as they use to do because some delegation don’t have enough delegates.
They all made general comments on agenda Item 6: Drafting and negotiation of a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products (FCTC/COP/INB-IT/1/4). Delegation welcome this draft and will give their specific comments during the 12th session.

Faye Ismaila Pedro

mardi 27 novembre 2007

lundi 26 novembre 2007

Intergovernemental meeting on pandemic influenza preparedness: Sharing of influenza virus and access to vaccines and other benefits

Report by Dorothee Wenk-Dersch

This intergovernmental working group has its mandate from World Health Assembly (WHA).
There have already been negotiations previously, in particular at the “Singapore meeting”.

The main topic to treat of this conference is “virus sharing” and “benefit sharing”.

These issues are quite technical, so I will try to explain them:
As I could understand, the main conflict was between developing countries and developed ones.
The issue is that the outbreak of H5N1 (avian influenza, transmitting from bird [in this case particularly from chickens to farmers living close to them]) in the Asian Region.
WHO and developed countries have asked developing countries, where the virus H5N1 was found, to send it to the CC (research centres). So, Vietnam and also Indonesia have sent their virus to analyse them. Then, in Europe (Germany), and afterwards in the US, scientists were researching for a vaccine. Once they had found a vaccine in the US, commercial companies patented the virus, which has not happened until then! The consequence was that affected countries like Indonesia had to buy an expensive vaccine, and afterwards they knew, that it has been produced based on the virus they have sent (from Vietnam and Indonesia).
So their position was that this is an unfair system, exploiting affected countries. They where no longer willing to cooperate with research institutions, unless they accept benefit sharing, implying that they can only produce vaccins with the prior informed consent of the originating country (that has sent the virus sample).
The position of developed countries, particularly the US, later also the EU, was that this is unacceptable to them.
These positions have become entrenched, so neither of them wanted to give up their demands and showing not a lot of willingness in the prior process to this IGM to find a solid (and durable) solution.

The IGM worked from 20-23 November 2007.

The first day consisted in finding the chair and vice chairs. Jaden Holden from Australia was elected chair and Timor-Leste (A. Dick) was elected first vice chair. The procedure was to elect one vice chair for each of the five regions: SEARO, AMERO (E. Palacios, Mexico), EMERO (K. Ahmadi, Iran), AFRO (A. Nasidi, Nigeria) and EURO (S. Hodnesteen, Norway).
After that, the chair tried to help to find the appropriate working document, with the positions papers. The basis documents of the meeting were the following white papers (wp):
(see at Agenda A/PIP/IGM/+ Rev.1)
wp 1 (IGM/wp), wp 1 Rev.1, wp 2, wp 2 Rev.1,wp 3, wp 3 Rev.1
Dictionary, principles and operational aspects.
You can find find all these documents at:
In the afternoon of the first day, the amount of work compared to the time available, turned out to be too high. So we had to split in a plenary and a working group. (Working group was lead by Nigeria). Days passed; there were negotiations, but no breakthrough!

I will focus my report on Friday 23, after the planned end of the meeting. That was from about 6 to 11pm. In my eyes it was the most important phase of the IGM:
The idea of the process was that the meeting will not be concluded, but suspend, and reconvened by an open ended working group which is open to all member states.
The recommendation made will go to the Executive Board (EB), to vehicle it to the WHA. (Where the mandate came from).
A one-page agreement was produced, which had to be agreed on in consensus.

There have been hard negotiations. Delegations, particularly Indonesia, have shown enormous goodwill. This exercise of showing goodwill without consulting to capitals was quite challenging for all delegations!
At about 8 o’clock, shuttle diplomacy began and despite of being tired and hungry, delegations have put all their energy in this process, especially to define an interim process.
Sometime later, negotiations seemed quite hopeless; it was considered deleting the most important paragraph about virus sharing, because consensus seemed impossible. But delegations continued, saying we didn’t make all that progress to delete it… !
..but still no agreement.

The chair was doing everything she could to make negotiation more comfortable by telling jokes and encouraging us. She told us that the director general is a fabulous singer.
So the director general of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, took the floor and spoke about all the work she put in that meeting, and that IGM was the conference where she attended the most time compared to all other things happening at WHO.
In this spirit she sang a song: “ know each other better, to like you and to work together”. Everybody applauded! Hope had come back to the room.
Some of the people gathered in two groups and had vigorous discussions. On one side was a group around EURO, and on the other side a group around SEARO (in particular Indonesia) centred around the director general.

Finally, the chair continued by taking the floor and giving it to the director general.
She read the agreement found in this difficult procedure.
Kenya took the floor to tell their unhappiness with leaving the African group out of the procedure from the beginning of the meeting. But the delegate stressed that he doesn’t want to oppose to an emerging consensus. He said that the African group was coming back to the chair next week with their comments.
Kenya emphasised that it is crucial that excluding a region like the AFRO region should never happened again.
The chair was thanking Kenya for that statement, responding that we all are learning on that process.

Some delegations took the floor to thank the chair, director general, the secretariat and the interpreters for their excellent work. They all had nice words for each other.

For me it was really a good experience to attend this conference. I learned a lot about WHO and influenza virus. It was a pleasure for me to represent Timor-Leste.
I could make some good contacts with the Indonesian delegation and in particular also the delegation of Thailand.
It was encouraging to see changing the situation from a zero-outcome to a real (as Thai delegate says) SOLID, outcome.

Some statement I won’t forget such as the statement of Portugal on behalf of herself: “If the virus works as slowly as we do, we won’t have a pandemia!!!”, or also the
Director general saying she is a 60 year old woman, “looking young from far away!” and comparing a facelifting with the reform of the 60 year old WHO system!

And of course the reminder of our SEARO region, “What will we do if there is a pandemia tomorrow? We don’t have any mechanism!”

If you have any question to me about WHO or some other subject, please feel free to send me an Email or leave a comment.