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Briefing of may 2003 for the European Organisations - Part 2

Activities and Functioning at European level

5 June 2003
Keywords:

Announcement
a. European official meetings
b. Organisation of the European focal point
c. Proposals and initiatives for the European Region
d. Meeting of the European region

Announcement


For all the basic information about the work done by the civil society in relation to the FAO please consult following web pages:
- about the International Planning Committee (IPC):
http://www.forumfoodsovereignty.org
- web page of the FAO devoted to the cooperation with NGOs:
http://www.fao.org/tc/NGO/index_en.htm
- general web page of the FAO:
http://www.fao.org/index_en.htm
The contact address is :
daniel.vandersteen@csa-be.org

a. European official meetings


Regional meetings of the FAO are being held every two years. In 2004 there will be regional conferences of the FAO. For European region, regional conference will be held in Montpellier in the beginning of May. This regional conference is being prepared by the other meetings, namely by the European commission for agriculture that should take place in the end of February or in the beginning of March 2004.
Final agenda should be fixed in the summer, it is however likely that the question of food safety will be on the agenda together with other issues (such as rice, obviously in the connection with the international year of rice).
On the other side it is foreseen that there will be a FAO - NGO/CSO consultation in the connection with the regional conference, as in the case of 2000 and 2002.

b. Organisation of the European focal point


For the European region there was a meeting between the European participants of IPC present in Rome and the FAO staff responsible for European region during the COAG, but the meeting of European members of the IPC (enlarged focal points, other IPC members based in Europe) is planned in June 2003.
To prepare "Forum on Food Sovereignty" of the civil society parallel to the WFS: fyl, geographical focal points for the European region working within the IPC were only two: Anamarija Slabe (for the Central and Eastern European sub-region - CEE) and myself (for the sub-region of the European Union).
As mentioned above, during the Forum in June 2003 was decided that the regional representation in the IPC should be enlarged. For Europe, the proposals for enlargement have been made taking into account sub-regional, sectorial and thematic balances.

The present situation:
-  Farmers, the minor organisation (Coordination Paysanne Européenne - CPE) from the EU: Ms Lidia Senra - (SLG - CPE), Galicia / Spain.
-  Farmers, major organisation (COPA), representative from the CEE region / EU accession countries: Mr Miroslav Louma (Czech agricultural Association, member of COPA), Prague, Czech Republic.
-  Environment, representative from the CEE region / EU accession countries: Ms Anamarija Slabe, Institute for Sustainable Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
-  Development NGOs, representative from the EU: Daniel Van Der Steen (CSA), Brussels, Belgium.
-  Fishery sector, organisation of small fishers (Greece, Italy, U.K., Spain or Portugal): to be chosen.
-  Consumers organisation: from CEE countries that are not EU accession countries: to be chosen.

According to our present categories there is a need to divide the region into:
-  European union (EU) ;
-  EU accession countries ;
-  other European countries (CEE countries not entering the EU and other countries, for example Israel).
It should be noted that Ukraine is currently not a member of the FAO but it can become one in the near future.

c. Proposals and initiatives for the European Region


During the Forum in June 2003 in Rome was decided to give the priority to the reinforcement of the regional work. Here follows the proposals that were made in this regard, especially during the European meetings in April 2003 (in the week of COAG).

1) To strengthen the regional work, which means:
-  the establishment of a platform on national level by regrouping the organisations interested in our problems and working with the FAO (however, it is not so much to do it in a systematic way but more to find active organisations that can give support);
-  identification of a facilitator or national focal point who can act as contact point.

2) To find mechanisms able to involve European organisations in the preparation of international positions: develop mechanisms of regional consultations that would make possible a more systematic representation of the members that represent the region before the FAO.

3) To develop information on the level of European region:
-  by developing a common FAO - NGO/CSO list (same remark as to the previous point), an initiative that has already been partly realised;
-  by establishing an European NGO contact point for European civil society organisations interested in the work on our issues in the relation to the FAO;
-  by concentrating the informational work of the regional focal points on the regional questions and involvement of the regional organisations in the international questions, which will become easier if the IPC secretariat would be given a task to send a monthly "informational bulletin" by e-mail and thereby reduce the task of the regional focal points.

4) To find mechanisms in order to develop relations between European NGO/CSO/social movements and the FAO in order to better the co-operation of each of the two partners.

5) To inform about the existing common projects of the FAO - NGO/CSO/social movements in Europe.

6) To work out the priorities of the agenda of European organisations, among others questions related to the reform of the Common agricultural policy (CAP), in relation with the international agricultural trade negotiations (WTO) and the EU enlargement.

d. Meeting of the European region


Ideally, it would be necessary to plan one consultation of European organisations per year, one year in the time of the FAO regional conferences, where the agenda should consider the agenda of the conference; the other year independently from the regional conferences with a more flexible agenda. In order to concretize this idea, it is however necessary to find additional funding; actually the funding exists only for the regional conferences every two year.
For 2003, there will be only a meeting of the European IPC members on the 16th of June in Brussels (to replace a meeting that should have happened in the connection of the Global forum of young farmers organised by the CEJA in Paris), to plan regional work and prepare the consultation in 2004.
With the presently available means, it is difficult to do more in 2003, as the regional meeting implies taking care for the costs of the organisations from CEE and other sub-regions that have limited means. Even in the rich European countries some very important organisations do not have the necessary means to take part.
In 2004, the European Conference will take place in Montpellier at the beginning of May (5-7 May ?) and there is therefore an opportunity to benefit from the FAO - CSO/NGO/social movements Consultation planed by the FAO, to gather more European organisations.
As previously said, FAO - CSO/NGO/social movements Consultations take place in connection with regional Conferences that are scheduled every 2 years, as it was the case in 2000 (in Porto Portugal) and in 2002 (in Nicosia, Cyprus).
The FAO - CSO/NGO Consultation of 2004 should prepare the civil society organisations’ position on the issues discussed in the official conference and to present it to the representatives of the governments. More information will be available soon (Summer).

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