L’Aquila Food Security Initiative has its first meeting of 2012

In July 2008, G8[1] Leaders meeting in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan issued a Leaders Statement on Global Food Security.[2] In the statement, G8 leaders stated their ongoing commitment to pursue all possible measures to ensure global food security, noting that since January 2008, they had committed over $10 USD billion to support food measures to increase agricultural outputs in affected countries.  The Statement emphasized the urgency of short-term needs (e.g., access of small-holder farmers to fertilizers), a commitment to increase food aid and investment and recognised the coordinating role of the UN through their support for the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis (HLTF).  They also encouraged countries with surplus to released food stocks and called for the removal of export restrictions (G8 2008).

At the L’Aquila Summit, the following year, the G8 issues a stronger declaration highlighting the need to increase agricultural production. Twenty-six nations and fourteen international organizations launched the “L’Aquila” Food Security Initiative.  The Declaration was reinforced through the “L’Aquila” Joint Statement on Global Food Security[3] and a commitment to raise $22 billion over three years for agricultural investment and agreement on a comprehensive and coordinated approach, partnering with countries facing dramatic food insecurity to jointly implement national food security strategies.

The approach is articulated around five principles:

  1. Investment in country-led plans and processes;
  2. A comprehensive approach to food security that includes support for humanitarian assistance, sustainable agriculture development and nutrition;
  3. Strategic coordination of assistance;
  4. A strong role for multilateral institutions; and,
  5. Sustained commitment of financial resources.

The L’Aquila Food Security Initaitive, chaired by the USA,  has been meeting quite regularly and just had their first meeting of 2012. A video of US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statement and the transcripts can be viewed here

“As the United States looks forward to our tenure as Chair of AFSI in 2012, our primary goal is to ensure not only that donor countries are living up to our own financial pledges, but also that these contributions are being allocated strategically and making a real difference in the fight against global hunger. To do this, we will expand reporting on our investments at the country level, deepen our engagement with developing country partners, track our spending on research for agricultural development, and measure the impact of our investments.”

Want to know more about the AFSI? Keep on reading!

The pledges made through l’Aquila Food Security Initiative led to the establishment of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) Trust Fund, a multilateral financing mechanism, held in the World Bank, to assist in the implementations of the pledges made at the L’Aquila Summit. The GAFSP emerged from the Global Partnership idea which was put aside with the launch of the Trust Fund. The GAFSP Steering Committee launched the first Call for Proposals with a May 21, 2010 deadline for all countries identified by the World Bank´s International Development Association as the poorest countries in the world.[4]

The GAFSP has received a lot of political support, especially from Spain, Canada and the USA. At the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in September 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-hosted the side-event called “Partnering for Food Security” to focus on the five principles of the “L’Alquila” Initiative. Over 130 countries participated in this meeting. Here, the Secretary-General and US Secretary of State tabled a proposal “Partnering for Food Security: Moving Forward”. [5]

This proposal highlights what is referred to as “key points of agreement” including

  • Support for the principles of the L’Aquila Joint Statement on Global Food Security.
  • Agreement to continue building a Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security (GPAFS), which includes support for the ongoing Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Committee on Food Security (CFS) reform processes and the work of the UN High Level Task Force (HLTF).
  • Recognition of a common understanding of the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to improving global food security—one that includes agricultural development, research, trade, social safety nets, emergency food assistance, and nutrition.
  • Recognition that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) provides a framework through which they will coordinate support for agriculture and food security, and support similar efforts in other regions will be supported.
  • Consistent with the Accra Agenda for Action, we will work through, and in support of, country-led processes and build on existing platforms.

From these points of agreement they proposed steps to move the principles into action, including:

  • Intensify support for ongoing efforts to advance effective country-led and regional strategies; develop country investment plans and programs to achieve the goals of these strategies; ensure mutual accountability through public benchmarks, indicators, and a peer review framework to measure progress; and develop a flexible financing architecture that includes well-coordinated bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to support these integrated country-led strategies and investment plans.
  • Support and expand North-South, South-South and Trilateral cooperation for the development and implementation of country-led, comprehensive plans.
  • Work with regional economic communities, associations, organizations and agencies to strengthen their mechanisms for financial and technical cooperation with donors and other stakeholders to support country-led strategies and investment plans and to facilitate regional economic integration.
  • Support the on-going reform processes aimed at improved efficiency and effectiveness of existing international organizations and agencies, including the consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and FAO.
  • Strengthen international coordination on financing and joint actions in global processes, including through the framework of the UN High Level Task Force.
  • Adhere to the commitment of $20 billion over three years through a coordinated, comprehensive strategy “focused on sustainable agriculture development, while keeping a strong commitment to ensure adequate emergency food aid assistance,” in accord with the L’Aquila statement.
  • Monitor and evaluate our contributions to ensure transparency and accountability.

The GAFSP is coordinated by a steering committee. Each year, the steering committee will be asked to nominate members of the Consultative Board and the Consultative Board will report to the Steering Committee on an annual basis.


[1] The G8, or Group of 8, is a forum for the leaders of eight of the world’s most industrialized nations. The aim of the forum is to find common ground and solution on key topics, including global issues like food security. The presidency of the G8 rotates through member states in the following order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada. Note that since, 2008 (Washington Summit), and the growing influence of the G20, G8 leaders announced in September 2009 that the G8 will be replaced by the G20 as the new permanent council for international economic cooperation (info here)

[2] The G8 Leaders Statement on Global Food Security is available here: http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/economy/summit/2008/doc/doc080709_04_en.html

[3] A copy of the L’Alquila Joint Statement on Global Food Security is available here: http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/LAquila_Joint_Statement_on_Global_Food_Security%5B1%5D,0.pdf

[4] Information on the International Development Association of the World Bank is available here: http://www.worldbank.org/ida/

[5] The proposal from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is available here: http://www.state.gov/s/globalfoodsecurity/129626.htmAs the United States looks forward to our tenure as Chair of AFSI in 2012, our primary goal is to ensure not only that donor countries are living up to our own financial pledges, but also that these contributions are being allocated strategically and making a real difference in the fight against global hunger. To do this, we will expand reporting on our investments at the country level, deepen our engagement with developing country partners, track our spending on research for agricultural development, and measure the impact of our investments.


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