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Thursday, 03 November 2011

G20 summit in Cannes to tackle food security and development

Combating excessive commodity price volatility and enhancing G20 commitments to development – these are two of the priority areas that the heads of state of the main emerging and developed economies, the Group of 20 or G20, will discuss during the meeting in Cannes this 3 and 4 November. Next to the need to foster economic growth and to impose better rules on the international financial system, the French G20 presidency has laid a decisive focus on assuring that G20 nations do not widen the gap that separates them from developing and least developed countries.

With regard to food price volatility, the French presidency aims to enhance the regulation of financial commodity markets, improve the transparency of the physical commodity markets through an Agriculture Market Information System database (AMIS), create a Rapid Response Forum at the FAO to improve international cooperation in preventing and managing agricultural crises, create emergency humanitarian food reserves and lift restrictions on exports for World Food Programme food aid purchases, push forward World Bank programmes such as crop or weather insurances and introduce an international research initiative on wheat and a technical and scientific exchange platform on tropical agriculture.

Next to food security, the French proposals for enhancing G20 commitment to development consist of two aspects, namely developing infrastructure and innovative financing to fight climate change. To develop infrastructure in developing countries, the French Presidency created a High-Level Panel on Infrastructure charged with the research of how to establish an enabling investment environment for infrastructure and asked multilateral development banks to draft a joint action plan to improve the effectiveness of their lending for infrastructure. To improve financing for climate change mitigation, the French presidency proposes a financial transaction tax. This tax has also been endorsed by the European Commission and the European Parliament. The German finance minister had spoken out in favour of a financial transaction tax shortly before the G20 summit, and advocated that the Eurozone introduce it by itself if its international partners, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, do not agree on a financial transaction tax.

NGOs have high hopes in the G20 summit. “The G20 summit could be a watershed”, says Oxfam, while ActionAid demands the allocation of resources to end food crises around the world and CIDSE says that the G20 must adopt a just and equitable pathway out of today's crises [PDF].

Not only government leaders, but also representatives of banks and international business meet in Cannes in parallel.

Source: CTA