Tuesday, November 17, 2009

President urges his fellow leaders to raise their voices in favour of agriculture.

…at first plenary session of FAO World Summit on Food Security

Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday addressed the first plenary session of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) World Summit on Food Security in Rome, Italy, where he urged his fellow leaders to raise their voices if the message on promoting agriculture across the world is to be heard.

While recognising that the Declaration generated by the forum was “a wonderful example of the hard work that everyone has put in at this summit”, the President noted that the world should not rely on the leaders of the developed world to act.

“We cannot rely on the benevolence of the developed world to keep their promises on ODA (overseas development assistance) or reverse the decline on ODA to agriculture, or pursue trade policies that would not impoverish us further, or to remove the debilitating subsidies. These are not going to happen just by themselves.”

To get the developed world leaders to act, President Jagdeo highlighted the need to reach the citizens of those countries and get them involved.

“How do we create the atmosphere in these countries that would be supportive of the leaders from the developed world who genuinely want to contribute to the solution, and how do we take away the excuse from those who have not been willing to live up to their commitment; and I think the only way we can do this is through a campaign,” he said.

The President noted that the mainstream media would give little attention to the Summit, and it therefore falls to the participants and the staff of FAO to carry the message to the masses.

“The mainstream media will give us five minutes of prime time if we are lucky, if no other disaster strikes by the time we exit this meeting. Very few people around the world will see this,” he stated.

“We need to get out of here after this (the Summit). We know what the message is. It’s written all here. It’s in the speeches that you would all make, and find an effective way of communicating this message to the rest of the world, to start building widespread support through internet, bypassing the mainstream media, through the progressive (media) like Al Jazeera and some others around the world that are prepared to carry this message mainstream,” President Jagdeo urged.

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