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Briefing of may 2003 for the European Organisations - Part 1

Functioning of the IPC on the world level

6 June 2003
Keywords:

Announcement
a. Historical background
b. Financial aspects

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. Historical background


Between the establishment of the International Planning Committee (IPC) in the end of March 2001 and the meeting of the (FAO) Committee on Agriculture in 2003, IPC has organized, in June 2002, "Food Sovereignty Forum" of the civil society parallel to the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl).
On the other hand it has been working in the view of reinforcing its capacities in facilitating the civil society’s activities with and towards the FAO, to play this role in a more systematic way and to reinforce its role in co-ordination of activities of different interested organizations, on the national as well as on the regional level.
In this perspective a lot of "institutional" work has been done, especially from the viewpoint of reinforcing the capacity of work with FAO; a new important step has been made in this sense by the meeting of IPC members with Jacques Diouf, director general of the FAO (November 2002) and with the exchange of letters that has followed in the beginning of 2003.

From the beginning of March 2003, one person (Béatrice Gasco) has been working in Rome in charge of the secretariat, from the beginning as a voluntary, together with the already existing voluntary team (Andrea Ferrante and Antonio Onorati). She has especially facilitated the work of IPC and other representatives of civil society at the occasion of several meetings that had taken place in the beginning of the year: Technical Committees (Forests, Fishery, Commodities problems, Agriculture), Intergovernmental working group (IGWG) with the aim to initiate the voluntary commitments for assuring the right to food (new name for the "code of conduct") and the meeting for the campaign against hunger.

b. Financial aspects


The exchange of letters with the Director General has not solve all the problems because the activities of the IPC remain handicapped in 2003 due to the lack of financing that hinder realization of numerous projects foreseen at the end of the Forum on Food Sovereignty in June 2002. The applications for financing have been put in, especially to the European Union, but until now there has been no response and IPC has continued its activities mostly on the basis of the remaining of the budget for the Forum and on the resources of the involved organizations. The requests for financing outside FAO are therefore essential for a balanced financing of the activities of the IPC (that can count on some FAO funds but has to find also other co-financing) as well as for assuring a sufficient independency of the IPC with regard to the FAO.

However, during the meeting of the Committee on Agriculture in March 2003 the first two contracts have been signed with the FAO that will allow to cover one part of the operation costs for the Rome secretariat in 2003 and participation of representatives from the South at some meetings of technical Committees, but the funds available for this year coming from the FAO remain insufficient according to the proposal of the needs of the IPC in 2003.
This situation that has forced the IPC to operate with the existing means and with the prevailing of own contribution of the organisations involved in the IPC. This situation explains the weak capacities of the IPC during this year.
Precisely expressed the 2 signed contracts allow to cover the costs of the IPC or the resource persons invited by the IPC to participate at the Technical Committees and regional meetings (there is a total of 21 tickets, with a separate budget for Africa), to allow functioning of the Agro-ecology Working Group (that has met during the COAG), to publish the reports and documents of the June 2002 Forum and to finance some tools necessary for the Rome Secretariat until the end of 2003.
This means that for 2003 we need to find funds to finance (1) one plenary meeting with an increased number of IPC members in November 2003, during the FAO conference; (2) one seminar that the IPC plans to realize, on the proposals of the Agro-ecology Working Group, at the end of 2003; (3) a part of not yet financed activities of the IPC secretariat in Rome.
c. Perspective for international work
During the Forum in Rome in June 2003 it has been decided to give the priority to the reinforcement of the regional work and to enlarge the regional representation in the IPC. Also the budget proposal for regional work represented two thirds of the total budget of the IPC, including the work accomplished by the indigenous peoples that is organised on the international level (given the difficulty to address this work on the regional level). But these proposals, as well as the others that were made in Rome in June 2003, suffer the lack of available means among which is also the contribution of the involved organisations.
So, the regional IPC representatives for Africa (who were chosen since June 2002 on the basis of their sub-regional origin) have met in the beginning of 2003 using the opportunity of a NEPAD meeting that has taken place in Accra.

Among other priorities of the IPC there is also a thematic work on the 5 priorities put forward by the WFS: fyl. In this frame was launched the work on agro-ecology (working group and side event during the Committee on Agriculture - COAG) and on the food sovereignty/trade (side event during the Committee on Commodity Problems - CCP, its preparation and its follow-up).
Also important is the work on communication and circulation of information and it should facilitate the work of the regional focal points. They should first of all concentrate on their own region and spend less time in providing information about the international level. However the first step in this regard should be the publication of the report and related documents produced by the Forum on Food Sovereignty of the civil society in June 2002. In the future, we hope that a "briefing" will be distributed regularly by the IPC secretariat in Rome, to inform interested organisations in different regions.

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