The first G-8 Summit of agriculture ministers held between April 18 and 20 in Italy, was devoted to the global food emergency. Gathering the eight member countries1, major international institutions (World Bank and FAO among others), the European Union presidency, the European Commission as well as some nations in transition, the Summit concluded with an innovative final declaration2 that included three major points that need to be underscored:
>First, price volatility is clearly recognized as a major risk for food security, to such an extent that the ministers expressed their intent to conduct research to “improve monitoring and analysis of factors potentially affecting price volatility in commodity markets, including speculation.”
> Secondly, and in spite of the fact that it clearly speaks against protectionism, the final text voices the need to establish “a rules-based international trading system for agricultural trade.”
>The G-8 therefore suggested coordinating stock management policies to fight price volatility, which could lead to a global stockholding system. According to the declaration, a mission was thus given to international organizations to assess the usefulness and effectiveness of such system to fight agricultural price volatility.
These proposals represent a new chapter in recognizing the urgency to reform the current agricultural and food governance system and to implement successful measures. At the conclusion of the meeting, French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier indicated that this first summit of agriculture ministers deserves the credit of “putting back agriculture at the top of priorities”, which is far from excessive in a world where close to one billion people suffer from hunger.
1 United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Russia, Canada and Italy
2 You can read the English version of the final declaration at : http://www.g8agricultureministersmeeting.mipaaf.com/en/index.php?pL1=news&newsId=8895ca36c193f25a5c2a63beb291a259&page=1