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International Conference on "Hunger, Food Aid and GMOs"

In collaboration with Consumers International Africa Office (CI-ROAF), União Nacional de Camponeses UNAC (Mozambique), Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria), Accion Ecologica (Ecuador), Oxfam Solidarity (Belgium), Third World Network (Malaysia), Friends of the Earth International (The Netherlands), The Oakland Institute is organizing an international conference on Hunger, Food Aid and GMOs, from July 14-17, in Maputo, Mozambique.

The shipment of GM food aid to developing countries is a growing controversy since 2000. The controversy reached a peak when several Southern African countries (Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 2002-2003) refused to accept GM food aid, despite pressure from the U.S. and the World Food Programme (WFP) while faced with a food crisis.

In 2004 this controversy flared after the U.S. administration ceased food aid to Sudan in March because of their request to provide GM-free food. Also in March 2004, the WFP told the Angolan Government that it would face a significant decrease in the food aid if it insisted that GM grain be milled. This protest comes at a time when five countries in the Southern Africa region - Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, southern Malawi and Zimbabwe are facing food shortages.

The meeting in Mozambique intends to achieve the following objectives:

• Strengthen the understanding of the GM food aid and hunger by sharing information, and starting a real dialogue between the different stakeholders.

• Facilitate interaction between activists and experts from all over the world towards establishing strategies at the national, regional and international level to deal with food shortages, as well as manufactured crises to prevent them from happening in the future.

• Identify new allies in developing and developed countries who will form a strategic coalition around these issues.

• Establish strategies to strengthen campaigns and to provide support to groups in the Third World working on these issues.

Until now the problem of food aid and GMOs has been particularly driven by environmental and consumer organizations. However, this issue cuts across many different issues including the environment, health, development policies, food relief, and trade. This complex issue requires a good multidisciplinary knowledge. Therefore, solutions and proposals to improve the current system and prevent these situations from happening again need the combination of the different expertise and skills of different stakeholders such as development, food relief, environment, consumer, farmers, trade, and faith-based groups.

Attended by participants from diverse sectors from around the world, the conference will be an opportunity for representatives of consumer organizations, NGOs and policy makers to receive current and factual information on the issues relating to hunger, food aid and GMOs. It will also present NGOs and representatives of consumer organizations with the opportunity to meet and strategize on their response to the prevailing situation.

 

Program

HUNGER, FOOD AID AND GMOs
Maputo, Mozambique, 15-16 July 2004
15 July, 2004

9-9:30
Opening Address: Mozambican Minister

9:30-10:50
Session I: Hunger and Food Aid

  • The role of food aid as a mechanism to cope with hunger: a global perspective Dr. Wilma Salgado, Former employee WFP in Latin America
  • The impact of food aid in farmer communities in Mozambique Rogerio Perreira, National Farmers Union of Mozambique (UNAC)
  • The roots of hunger and how food aid works in Zambia Dr. Drinah Nyirenda, Programme Against Malnutrition, Zambia
  • Tackling hunger through food aid from a donor perspective Representative from European Union
  • Towards ensuring Food Soverignty Anuradha Mittal, Director Oakland Institute, United States

10:50-11:10
Open discussion

11:10- 11:30
Coffee Break

11:30 13:00
Session II: GMOs, Hunger and Food Aid

  • The debate over food aid and GMOs in Latin America (2000-2004) Dr. Elizabeth Bravo, Acció Ecolóica Ecuador
  • The Southern Africa controversy over GM Food aid (2002-2004). Current SADC developments on Hunger, food security and food aid Dr. Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika, Chairperson of the South African Development Community (SADC) Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and Biosafety.
  • Food aid and GMOs: Africa and the consumers right to choose Amadou Kanoute, Director Consumers International Africa Office, Zimbabwe
  • GMOs and food aid in Western Africa Jeanne Zoundjihekpon, GRAIN - Action Internationale pour les Ressources Gééiques, Francophone Africa, Benin
  • Title to be provided by Amadou. Aaron de Grassi, University of Sussex

14:30 15:45
Session III: Drawbacks of the current food aid system

  • The US policy on food aid and GMOs Dr. Thoric Cederstrom, Counterpart International, United States
  • Problems with food aid system in Zambia and the way forward Dr. Drinah Nyirenda, Programme against Malnutrition, Zambia
  • Hunger and food aid in Eritrea Representative from a Development organization
  • Drawbacks and impacts of food aid in Latin America? Dr. Wilma Salgado, Former employee WFP in Latinamerica
  • The role of the churches in food aid delivery Representative from World Council of Churches

15:45 16:00
Coffee Break

16:00 18:00
Panel: AFRICA COPING WITH HUNGER. THE ROLE OF FOOD AID, AND GMOs

  • Is the aim of food aid to disappear or to perpetuate dependence? Will GMOs move Africa towards food sovereignty or increasing dependence?
  • Rogerio Perreira, Dr. Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika, Jeanne Zoundjihekpon, Dr. Drinah Nyirenda, Mariam Mayet, Amadou Kanoute, Nnimmo Bassey

 

DAY 2, 16 July

9:00 10:30
Working Group Session I: Identifying main problems & challenges

  • WG 1. The food aid system: Drawbacks and Main challenges.
  • WG 2. GMOs and food aid: Identifying problems and ways to cope with it

10:30 11:00
Coffee Break

11:00 11:30:
Reporting to Plenary by WG

11:30 14:45
Session IV: International, regional and national regulation of food aid and GMOs

  • The Food Aid Convention, Codex Alimentarius, WTO and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
  • Presenters: Representative of Consumers International, European Union, Third World Network
  • National and regional regulation of GMOs and food aid Presenters: Dr. Mulenga, Dr. Lewanika, Jeanne Zoundjihekpon, Mariam Mayet

14:45 13:00:
Open discussion

13:00 14:00
Lunch

14:00 15:30
Working group Session II: Coping with challenges at the national, regional and international level

  • WG 1. How to address the problematic in Mozambique
  • WG 2. Regional Strategies for Africa.
  • WG 3. International challenges. Policy strategies for the FAC, WTO, CPB, Codex, USAID.

15:30 16:00
Coffee Break

16:00 16:45
Reporting to Plenary by WG

16:45 18:00
The way forward: How to work towards ending hunger, and the need of food aid in Africa?