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Procedure : 2015/2277(INI)
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Tuesday, 7 June 2016 - Strasbourg
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

European Parliament resolution of 7 June 2016 on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (2015/2277(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development and the outcome document adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, and in particular to Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out therein, namely to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture(1),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement of the parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, adopted on 12 December 2015(2),

–  having regard to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agreed by the African Union (AU) in 2002(3),

–  having regard to the summit of AU Heads of State held in Maputo (Mozambique) in 2003, at which the AU governments agreed to invest more than 10 % of their total national budget allocations in the agricultural sector(4),

–  having regard to the assembly of AU Heads of State and Government of July 2012, which designated 2014 the ‘Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa’(5), marking the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the CAADP,

–  having regard to the declaration on ‘Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods’, adopted on 27 June 2014 by the summit of AU Heads of State held in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), whereby the AU governments recommitted allocating at least 10 % of public spending to agriculture(6),

–  having regard to the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative of the G8 of 2009(7),

–  having regard to the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G), adopted by the Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Land and Livestock which took place in April 2009 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)(8), as well as to the declaration on ‘Land Issues and Challenges in Africa’(9) adopted by the AU Heads of State at the summit held in Sirte (Libya) in July 2009, urging effective implementation of the F&G,

–  having regard to the Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa, adopted by the AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture, meeting in Addis Ababa on 1 and 2 May 2014(10),

–  having regard to the declaration of May 2013 by African civil society organisations, ‘Modernising African agriculture – Who benefits?(11),

–  having regard to the Djimini Declaration of 13 March 2014 by West African smallholder organisations(12),

–  having regard to the FAO’s ‘Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security’ of 2004(13),

–  having regard to the report of 2009 by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), ‘Agriculture at a crossroads’(14),

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966(15),

–  having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979(16),

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1987(17),

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007(18),

–  having regard to the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on development-based evictions and displacements of 2007(19),

–  having regard to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011(20), as well as to the OECD’s Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, updated in 2011(21),

–  having regard to the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development(22),

–  having regard to the 2012 Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT)(23),

–  having regard to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) of 1991(24),

–  having regard to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) of 2001(25),

–  having regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992 and the associated Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety of 2000 and Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization of 2010(26),

–  having regard to the African model law on Biosafety(27),

–  having regard to the resolution on land legislation for food sovereignty, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie on 12 July 2012(28),

–  having regard to the resolution on the social and environmental impact of pastoralism in ACP countries, adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Addis Ababa on 27 November 2013(29),

–  having regard to the Commission communication ‘An EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges’(30), adopted on 31 March 2010, and to the Council conclusions on the policy framework adopted on 10 May 2010(31),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 May 2013 on food and nutrition security(32),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Action Plan on Nutrition of July 2014(33),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2011 on an EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges(34),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2013 on the EU approach to resilience and disaster risk reduction in developing countries: learning from food security crises(35),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2014 on the role of property rights, property ownership and wealth creation in eradicating poverty and fostering sustainable development in developing countries(36),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2015 on ‘Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing’(37),

–  having regard to the Declaration of the Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles, issued at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015(38);

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 April 2015 entitled ‘Milano Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’(39),

–  having regard to the African Civil Society Demands for the Inclusion of Food Sovereignty and the Right to Food in the Germany G7 Presidency Agenda in June 2015(40),

–  having regard to the Milan Charter(41), which was presented at Expo 2015 under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ and signed by more than one million heads of state, governments and private individuals, and which calls on all associations, businesses, national and international institutions and private individuals to take responsibility for ensuring that future generations may enjoy their right to food and includes binding commitments to guarantee that right throughout the world,

–  having regard to the fact that the UN Committee on World Food Security is the adequate forum for agreement on policy guidance on this issue internationally and that it is in this forum that all concerned parties have a voice,

–  having regard to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact of 15 October 2015(42) put forward by Milan City Council and signed by 113 cities around the world, which was submitted to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, and illustrates the key role played by cities in policymaking on food,

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 January 2016 on the situation in Ethiopia(43),

–  having regard to the public hearing on the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security (NAFSN) organised by its Committee on Development on 1 December 2015(44),

–  having regard to the study ‘New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa’ by Professor Olivier de Schutter, commissioned by its Committee on Development and published by its Directorate-General for External Policies in November 2015(45),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0169/2016),

A.  whereas the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa (NAFSN) aims to improve food security and nutrition by helping 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty by 2020; whereas the participating countries have negotiated Country Cooperation Frameworks (CCFs) setting out commitments to facilitate private investment in the agriculture sector in Africa;

B.  whereas investment in small-scale farming has been neglected over the last thirty years in Africa, while low-income countries’ dependence on food imports grew significantly, rendering them vulnerable to price variations on international markets;

C.  whereas large public-private partnerships (PPPs) risk creating dominant positions for large agricultural companies in African agriculture that crowd out local businesses;

D.  whereas private investment under NAFSN has reached over 8.2 million smallholders and created more than 21 000 jobs, more than half of which are for women;

E.  whereas the food crisis of 2008 generated universal recognition of the need to support smallholder food production for domestic markets;

F.  whereas the launch of structural adjustment programmes in the early 1980s contributed to the development of an export-led agriculture in which priority was given to increasing the production of cash crops for global markets; whereas such choice favoured large-scale, highly capitalised and mechanised forms of production, while small-scale farming was comparatively neglected;

G.  whereas international markets will be more volatile in the future; whereas countries should not take the risk of being excessively dependent on imports, but should, rather, invest primarily in domestic food production to build resilience;

H.  whereas family farmers and smallholders must be at the heart of NASFN;

I.  whereas food security in developing countries largely depends on the sustainable use of natural resources;

J.  whereas so-called ‘growth poles’ aim to attract international investors by making land available to big private companies, and whereas this must not be done at the expense of family farmers;

K.  whereas the agreements on NASFN do not contain any concrete indicator on hunger and malnutrition;

L.  whereas family farmers and smallholders have demonstrated their ability to provide diversified products and to increase food production sustainably by means of agro‑ecological practices;

M.  whereas monocultures increase dependency on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, lead to massive land degradation and contribute to climate change;

N.  whereas agriculture accounts for at least 14 % of total annual greenhouse gas emissions, mostly owing to the use of nitrogen fertilisers;

O.  whereas different forms of land tenure exist (customary, public and private), but NAFSN almost exclusively refers to land titling to address tenure rights;

P.  whereas, by 2050 70 % of the world’s population will live in cities and a combined global and local approach to nutrition will be more necessary than ever before;

Q.  whereas land titling is not the only guarantee against land expropriation and resettlement;

R.  whereas gender is a very important dimension of investment in agriculture in Africa; whereas rural women have long been discriminated against as regards access to a range of productive resources, including land, credit, inputs and services;

S.  whereas until recently the support provided to agriculture has concentrated on male-managed export crops, leaving women largely in charge of handling the task of producing food for the sustenance of the family;

T.  whereas the FAO estimates that about 75 % of plant genetic diversity has been lost worldwide; whereas wide-scale genetic erosion increases our vulnerability to climate change and to the appearance of new pests and diseases;

U.  whereas control, ownership and affordability of seeds are essential to the food security resilience of poor farmers;

V.  whereas farmers’ right to multiply, use, exchange and sell their own seeds should be protected;

W.  whereas improvements in nutrition gaps in Africa are central to the sustainable development agenda; whereas poor nutrition derives from a host of interacting processes relating to healthcare, education, sanitation and hygiene, access to resources, women’s empowerment and more;

X.  whereas the commitments made under the CCF on regulatory reforms in the seed sector aim to strengthen plant breeders’ rights at the expense of the current farmers’ seed systems which the poorest farmers still largely rely on;

Agricultural investment in Africa and fulfilment of the SDGs

1.  Notes that several CCFs focus on the development of special economic areas with the goal of maximising investments through initiatives ranging from road or energy infrastructure to tax, customs or land tenure regimes; also stresses the need to improve and ensure focus on access to water, scaling up nutrition education and sharing best practice strategies;

2.  Observes that agricultural investment policies mostly focus on large-scale land acquisitions and on export-oriented agriculture that is usually unrelated to local economies; notes that the development of extensive irrigation in the targeted geographical investment areas of NAFSN may reduce water availability for other users, such as small-scale farmers or pastoralists; stresses that under those circumstances the ability of mega-PPPs to contribute to poverty reduction and food security must be critically assessed and improved; emphasises that agricultural investment policies should be linked to and should support the development of the local economy, including smallholders and family farming; recalls that the FAO Tenure Guidelines recommend secure access to land in order to allow families to produce food for household consumption and to increase household income; stresses the need to base large-scale land-based investment in Africa on these guidelines, ensuring smallholders’ and local communities’ access to land, promoting local SME investment. and ensuring that PPPs contribute to food security and to reducing poverty and inequality;

3.  Points out that the decision-making process in the cooperation framework has not involved all stakeholders, but has, rather, excluded, inter alia, rural communities, farm workers, small farmers, fishermen and indigenous peoples, and has disregarded their right to participate;

4.  Deplores the lack of consultation of African CSOs in the launch of the NAFSN; stresses that participation of food-insecure groups in the policies that affect them should become the cornerstone of all food security policies;

5.  Points out that NAFSN has made a commitment to promoting inclusive, agriculture-based growth that supports small-scale farming and helps reduce poverty, hunger and under-nutrition; stresses, to this end, that NAFSN must restrict, as far as possible, the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, given their health and environmental consequences for local communities, such as biodiversity loss and soil erosion;

6.  Criticises the assumption that corporate investment in agriculture automatically improves food security and nutrition and reduces poverty;

7.  Notes the G20 report of 2011 which stressed that tax-driven investment may prove transitory; recalls that numerous investor motivation surveys have shown a neutral or negative impact of special tax incentives on decisions to invest(46);

8.  Notes that tax incentives, including exemption from company tax in Special Economic Areas, are depriving African states of tax revenues that could have been a source of vital public investment in agriculture, especially in food security and nutrition programmes(47);

9.  Calls on governments and donors to suspend or review all policies, projects and consultancy arrangements that directly encourage and facilitate land grabbing by supporting highly harmful projects and investments or indirectly increase pressure on land and natural resources and can result in serious human rights violations; calls for support to be given instead to policies which protect and assign priority to small-scale food producers, particularly women, and promote the sustainable use of land;

10.  Warns against replicating in Africa the Asian ‘Green Revolution’ model of the 1960s and ignoring its negative social and environmental impacts; recalls that the SDGs include the goal of promoting sustainable agriculture, to be achieved by 2030;

11.  Notes with concern that in Malawi NAFSN promotes the expansion of tobacco production instead of supporting alternative livelihoods in accordance with obligations under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of 2005 and commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

12.  Urges the EU Member States to strive to transform NAFSN into a genuine tool for sustainable development and into an instrument of support for family farming and local economies in sub-Saharan Africa, recalling that family farmers and smallholders produce about 80 % of the world’s food and provide over 60 % of employment in the region;

13.  Notes with concern that the CCFs refer only selectively to international standards that define responsible investment in agriculture, and that they refer neither to the FAO 2004 Voluntary Guidelines supporting the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security nor to any duties on the part of private investors to respect human rights;

14.  Calls on the EU and its Member States, as being, taken together, the biggest development aid donor in the world, to:

   ensure that EU-based investors respect, and encourage other partners in the alliance to respect, the rights of local communities and the needs of small farms, in following a human-rights based approach within the cooperation frameworks, including the maintenance of environmental, social, land, labour and human rights safeguards and the highest standards of transparency over their investment plans;
   ensure that EU-based investors implement a social responsibility policy when drawing up employment contracts and do not exploit their economic advantage over workers from local communities;
   support and champion local African enterprises and stakeholders as primary actors and as beneficiaries of the NAFSN initiatives;
   implement the recent WTO decision to eliminate agricultural export subsidies, which are distorting local markets and destroying livelihoods in developing countries;
   eliminate tariff barriers that act as a disincentive to African countries adding value to raw produce locally;

15.  Calls on participating countries to:

   ensure that financial, tax or administrative reforms do not exempt investors from making a fair contribution to the tax base of participating countries or give an unfair advantage to investors over smallholders;
   ensure that their respective governments retain the right to protect their agricultural and food markets through appropriate tariff and tax regimes, which are particularly necessary to tackle financial speculation and tax dodging;
   adopt policies that promote responsible trade and commit to eliminating tariff barriers that dissuade regional trade;

Governance, ownership and accountability

16.  Draws attention to the commitment made by the parties to NAFSN to incorporate the FAO’s ‘Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security’, and calls on the parties to NAFSN to commit to implementing international standards that define responsible investment in agriculture and to abide by the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD’s Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises;

17.  Stresses that NAFSN must step up good governance as regards natural resources, in particular by guaranteeing that people have access to their own resources and by protecting their rights in the context of contracts on deals relating to natural resources;

18.  Calls for the EU to work with the UN towards the adoption by all countries, on a binding basis, of the Milan Charter and the commitments it contains;

19.  Emphasises how important water regulation and combating climate change are for sustainable agriculture; calls on all NAFSN partners to focus on improving access to water and to techniques involving irrigation and stepping up environmental protection and soil conservation;

20.  Calls for the EU to work with the UN towards the adoption and dissemination of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact;

21.  Calls on the participating countries to commit to implementing international standards that regulate investment via a human-rights based approach, incorporating the AU’s Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and its Guiding Principles on Large Scale Based Investments in Africa;

22.  Calls for all letters of intent within the CCFs to be published in full; stresses the need for strong institutional and legal frameworks to ensure a fair sharing of risks and benefits; emphasises that active participation on the part of civil society within NAFSN is crucial in order to step up transparency and ensure that its objectives are met; points out that dialogue and consultation with all civil society groups must be encouraged;

23.  Regrets that the only indicator common to the ten cooperation frameworks within the NAFSN is the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ index;

24.  Stresses that private companies involved in multilateral development initiatives should be accountable for their actions; calls on the parties to NAFSN, to this end, to submit annual reports on the action taken under NAFSN and to make those reports public and accessible to local people and communities, and to set up an independent accountability mechanism, including an appeal mechanism for local people and communities; stresses equally that New Alliance investment affecting land rights must be subject to an independent prior impact study on land rights and must be in line with the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests;

25.  Notes that multinationals operating under NAFSN favour large-scale contract farming, which risks marginalising small-scale producers; calls on the ten African states participating in NAFSN to ensure that contract farming benefits both buyers and local suppliers; to this end, deems it crucial to strengthen, for example, farmers’ organisations so as to improve the bargaining position of farmers;

26.  Highlights that the private sector is already driving 90 % of jobs in partner countries and that the potential for private-sector participation is undeniable, as private companies are ideally suited to providing a sustainable base for mobilising domestic resources, which forms the basis of any aid programme; underlines the importance of a transparent regulatory framework that clearly establishes the rights and obligations of all actors, including those of poor farmers and vulnerable groups, since without such a framework those rights cannot be successfully protected;

27.  Calls for the CCFs to be revised so as to effectively tackle the risks of contract farming and out-grower schemes for small-scale producers, by ensuring fair contract provisions, including pricing arrangements, respect for women’s rights, support for sustainable agriculture and appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms;

Access to land and security of tenure

28.  Warns that a pure focus on land titling often leads to insecurity for small-scale food producers and indigenous people, especially women, who lack legal recognition of their land rights and are vulnerable to unfair land deals, expropriation without consent or lack of fair compensation;

29.  Underlines the need to have small-scale food producers in leading positions, allowing their own independent organisations to support them in controlling their land, natural resources and programmes;

30.  Notes with concern that investors and local elites involved in land deals often describe the areas being targeted as ‘empty’, ‘idle’ or ‘under-utilised’, yet very little land in Africa is truly idle, given, for example, the prevalence of pastoralist activities;

31.  Highlights that 1,2 billion people still live either without permanent access to land or else occupying property for which they have no formal claim, with no legal titles, no surveys delineating their lands and no legal or financial means of turning property into capital;

32.  Welcomes the inclusion of the 2012 VGGT in all CCFs; calls for the effective implementation and systematic assessment of compliance with the VGGT and with the SDG framework within the review process for the CCFs;

33.  Stresses that NAFSAN should focus on combating land grabbing, which constitutes a human rights violation as it deprives local communities of land on which they depend to produce food and feed their families; points out that in a number of developing countries land grabbing has deprived people of their work and their means of subsistence and forced them to leave their homes;

34.  Calls on participating countries to:

   ensure participatory and inclusive arrangements that prioritise the rights, needs and interests of those in whom rights to land are legitimately vested, particularly smallholders and small family farmers; ensure, in particular, that free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is obtained from any/all communities living on land whose ownership, and/or control over which, is transferred;
   enact binding national measures against land-grabbing, corruption based on land transfer and the use of land for speculative investment;
   monitor land titling and certification schemes to ensure that they are transparent and do not concentrate land ownership or dispossess communities of the resources they rely upon;
   ensure that financial assistance is not used to support initiatives that enable companies to displace local communities;
   to recognise all legitimate rights to land and to ensure legal certainty over land rights, including informal, indigenous and customary tenure rights; as recommended by the VGGT, to promote new laws and/or effectively enforce existing laws that place effective safeguards on large-scale land transactions, such as ceilings on permissible land transactions, and to regulate on what basis transfers exceeding a certain scale should be approved by national parliaments;
   to ensure that the principle of FPIC is observed for all communities affected by land grabbing and that consultations are held to ensure the equal participation of all local community groups, in particular those that are most vulnerable and marginalised;

35.  Recalls equally that user rights derived from customary tenure should be recognised and protected by a legal system in line with the provisions and rulings of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights;

36.  Calls for NAFSN to be subject to an ex ante impact study regarding land rights and to be conditional on FPIC on the part of the local people affected;

37.  Supports a robust and innovative monitoring mechanism within the CFS; calls on the EU to build a strong position, in consultation with civil society organisations, in order to contribute to the global monitoring event during the 43rd CFS session to be held in October 2016, in order to ensure a comprehensive and thorough assessment of the use and application of the Tenure Guidelines;

38.  Calls on the governments of the countries concerned to ensure that firms carefully analyse the impact of their activities on human rights (due diligence) by conducting and publishing independent prior assessments of their impact on human, social and environmental rights and improving and ensuring access to domestic human rights complaints processes that are independent, transparent, reliable and appealable;

39.  Calls on the parties to NAFSN to put in place independent grievance mechanisms for those communities affected by land dispossession as a result of large-scale investment projects;

40.  Recalls that combating malnutrition requires a close linking of the agriculture, food and public health sectors;

Food security, nutrition and sustainable family farming

41.  Recalls the need to make all efforts to achieve improved nutrition and food security and to combat hunger, as embedded in the SDG 2; insists on better support for empowering farmers’ cooperatives, which are key for agriculture development and food security;

42.  Notes that stability is higher, and emigration lower, where there is food security based on healthy living soils and productive agro-ecosystems that are resilient to climate change;

43.  Emphasises that high-quality, balanced nutrition is essential, and affirms that nutrition should be at the heart of (re)building food systems;

44.  Calls, therefore, for means of replacing over-reliance on imported food with resilient domestic food production, prioritising local crops that meet nutritional requirements; notes that this is becoming more important as climates and markets become increasingly volatile;

45.  Recalls that energy intake alone cannot be used to indicate nutritional status;

46.  Stresses the need for strategies to minimise food waste throughout the food chain;

47.  Stresses the need to protect agricultural biodiversity; calls on EU Member States to invest in agro-ecological farming practices in developing countries, in line with the conclusions of IAASTD, the recommendations of the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, and the SDGs;

48.  Supports the development of policies conducive to sustainable family farming and encouraging governments to establish an enabling environment (conducive policies, adequate legislation, participatory planning for a policy dialogue, investments) for the development of family farming;

49.  Calls on African governments to:

   invest in local food systems in order to boost rural economies and ensure decent jobs, equitable social safety nets and labour rights, to improve arrangements for democratic scrutiny of access to resources, including farmers’ seeds, and to ensure the effective engagement of small-scale producers in policy processes and implementation; stresses in particular that NAFSN must encourage the establishment of domestic processing industries in the agriculture sector and the improvement of food storage techniques, and must strengthen the link between agriculture and trade so as to build local, national and regional markets that benefit family farmers and provide quality food for consumers at accessible prices;
   avoid making food production systems over-dependent on fossil fuels, with a view to limiting price volatility and mitigating the effects of climate change;
   develop short food supply chains locally and regionally, and appropriate storage and communications infrastructure to this end, as short supply chains are most effective in combating hunger and rural poverty;
   enable African farmers to access affordable, low-input technological solutions to African-specific agronomic challenges;
   encourage a wide variety of nutritious, local and, as far as possible, seasonal food crops, preferably locally adapted or indigenous varieties and species, including fruit, vegetables and nuts, in order to improve nutrition through continuing access to a varied, wholesome and affordable diet, adequate in terms of quality, quantity and diversity rather than calorie intake alone, and consistent with cultural values;
   commit to the full implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and the resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) on infant and young child nutrition;
   establish, promote and support producer organisations such as cooperatives that strengthen small farmers’ bargaining positions, bringing about the necessary conditions to ensure that markets remunerate small farmers better, and enabling the sharing of knowledge and best practice between small farmers;

50.  Stresses that NAFSN must lead to the establishment of a regionally adapted agricultural structure in the primary and processing stages;

51.  Calls on African governments to foster intergenerational solidarity and to recognise the key role it plays in combating poverty;

52.  Stresses the importance of promoting programmes of nutrition education in schools and local communities;

53.  Stresses that the right to water goes hand in hand with the right to food, and that the UN resolution of 2010 has not yet resulted in decisive action to establish the right to water as a human right; calls on the EU to consider the proposal of the Italian Committee for a World Water Contract (CICMA) for an optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

54.  Recognises the vital role of access to clean drinking water and the impact farming can have on it;

55.  Recognises the role of access to water for farming needs, and the risks of over-relying on precious water for irrigation, and, in light of this, notes the need to reduce wasteful irrigation practices and stresses the role water-conserving agronomic techniques can play in preventing evapotranspiration, in retaining water in a healthy living soil and in keeping drinking sources unpolluted;

56.  Notes that sustainable soil management can increase world food production by up to 58 %(48);

57.  Notes the synergies between soil-based and tree-based approaches and the importance of adapting agro-ecosystems to climate change; notes especially the large demand for firewood; notes in particular the multiple uses of nitrogen-fixing trees;

58.  Recognises the specific needs of tropical and semi-arid agriculture, especially with regard to crops needing shading from the sun and soil protection, and considers extractive monocultures to be outdated, also noting that they are increasingly being phased out in NASFN donor countries;

59.  Cautions against over-reliance on producing non-food agricultural commodities rather than food, in particular biofuel feed stocks, in initiatives financed by NAFSN, in which the production of such commodities can have a detrimental impact on food security and on the food sovereignty of participating countries;

60.  Notes that agronomic techniques – boosting natural processes such as topsoil formation, water and pest regulation or closed loop nutrient cycling – can assure long-term productivity and fertility at a low cost to farmers and administrations;

61.  Notes that agrochemicals can be both over-used and used inappropriately in developing countries, such as those participating in NAFSN;

62.  Notes that this is compounded by illiteracy and lack of appropriate training, and can result in significantly elevated levels of pesticide residues in fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as in poisoning and other impacts on human health for farmers and their families;

Regulatory reform in the seed sector

63.  Recalls that farmers’ right to produce, exchange and sell seeds freely underpins 90 % of agricultural livelihoods in Africa, and that seed diversity is vital in building resilience of farming to climate change; stresses that corporate requests to strengthen plant breeders’ rights in line with the 1991 UPOV Convention must not result in such informal arrangements being prohibited;

64.  Notes the dangers of deregulation of the seed sector in participating countries, which may lead to smallholders becoming over-dependent on seeds and plant protection products manufactured by foreign companies;

65.  Recalls that the TRIPS provisions which call for some form of protection for plant varieties do not force developing countries to adopt the UPOV regime; stresses that those provisions do, however, enable countries to develop sui generis systems which are better adapted to the characteristics of each country’s agricultural production and to traditional farmer-based seed systems, while LDCs that are parties to the WTO are exempted from compliance with the TRIPS provisions concerned; emphasises that sui generis systems must be supportive of and must not counter the objectives and obligations existing under the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol and ITPGRFA;

66.  Deplores the corporate call to harmonise seed laws on the basis of the principles of distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS), in the African context via regional institutions, which will hamper the development and growth of farmer-based seed systems at national and regional levels, since such systems usually do not breed or save seeds that fulfil the DUS criteria;

67.  Urges the G7 member states to support farmer-managed seed systems via community seed banks;

68.  Recalls that while commercial seed varieties may improve yields in the short term, traditional farmers’ varieties, landraces and associated knowledge are best suited for adaptation to specific agro-ecological environments and climate change; stresses that, in addition, their higher performance depends on the use of inputs (fertilisers, pesticides, hybrid seeds) which risk trapping farmers in a vicious circle of debt;

69.  Notes with concern that the introduction and spread of certified seeds in Africa increases smallholder dependence, makes indebtedness more probable, and erodes seed diversity;

70.  Advocates supporting local policies aimed at ensuring consistent and sustainable access to a diverse and nutritious diet, following the principles of ownership and subsidiarity;

71.  Urges the Commission to ensure that the commitments made to farmers’ rights by the EU under ITPGRFA are reflected in all technical assistance and financial support for seed policy development; calls for the EU to support intellectual property rights regimes that enhance the development of locally adapted seed varieties and farmer‑saved seeds;

72.  Urges the G8 member states not to support GMO crops in Africa;

73.  Recalls that the African Model Law on Biosafety sets a high benchmark for biosafety; believes that all assistance from foreign donors in developing biosafety at national and regional levels should be framed accordingly;

74.  Urges African countries not to implement national or regional biosafety regimes with lower standards than those set out in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety;

75.  Calls on participating countries to give farmers the option of avoiding input dependency, and to support farmers’ seed systems in order to maintain and improve agro-biodiversity through maintaining local publically-owned seed banks and exchanges and continuous development of local seed varieties, specifically providing flexibility on seed catalogues so as not to exclude farmers’ varieties and to guarantee the continuation of traditional produce;

76.  Calls on the participating countries to safeguard and promote access to, and exchange of, seeds and agricultural inputs for smallholders, marginalised groups and rural communities, and to respect international agreements on non-patentability of life and biological processes, especially where native strains and species are concerned;

77.  Stresses the risk of increased marginalisation of women in decision-making resulting from the development of certain commercial crops; notes that agricultural training often targets men and tend to sideline women, who therefore find themselves excluded from the management of land and crops that they have traditionally looked after;


78.  Regrets that the CCFs largely fail to define precise commitments on gender budgeting or to monitor progress through disaggregated data; stresses the need to move from abstract and general commitments to concrete and precise ones in the remit of national action plans to empower women as rights-holders;

79.  Urges governments to eliminate all discrimination against women in terms of access to land and microcredit schemes and services, and to effectively involve women in the design and implementation of agricultural research and development policies;

Funding agricultural investment in Africa

80.  Stresses the need to ensure the transparency of all funding granted to private -sector companies, and that such funding must be made public;

81.  Calls on donors to align Official Development Assistance (ODA) with the development effectiveness principles, to focus on results with a view to poverty eradication, and to promote inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability;

82.  Calls on donors to channel their support for developing agriculture primarily through national development funds which grant subsidies and loans to smallholders and family farming;

83.  Urges donors to support education, training and technical counselling for farmers;

84.  Calls on donors to promote the forming of farmers’ organisations of a professional and economic nature, and to support the establishment of farmers’ cooperatives which enable the delivery of affordable means of production and help farmers process and market their products in a way that safeguards the profitability of their production;

85.  Believes that the funding provided by G8 member states to NAFSN contravenes the objective of supporting domestic local companies which cannot compete with multinationals that already benefit from a dominant market position and are often granted business, tariff and tax privileges;

86.  Recalls that the purpose of development aid is to reduce, and ultimately to eradicate, poverty; believes that ODA should focus on direct support to small-scale farming;

87.  Stresses the need to revitalise public investment in African agriculture, while providing support for private investment, and to prioritise investment in agro-ecology, so as to sustainably increase food security and reduce poverty and hunger while conserving biodiversity and respecting indigenous knowledge and innovation;

88.  Stresses that G7 member states should guarantee African countries the right to protect their agricultural sectors through tariff and tax regimes that favour family and smallholder farming;

89.  Calls on the EU to address all the deficiencies of NAFSN outlined above, to act to enhance its transparency and governance, and to ensure that actions taken under it are consistent with development policy goals;

o   o

90.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the parties to NAFSN.

(1) UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/1.
(2) UN FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1.
(4) Assembly/AU/Decl.7(II).
(5) Assembly/AU/Decl.449(XIX).
(6) Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XXIII).
(9) Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XIII) Rev.1.
(29) OJ C 64, 4.3.2014, p. 31.
(30) COM(2010)0127.
(33) SWD(2014)0234.
(34) OJ C 56 E, 26.2.2013, p. 75.
(35) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0578.
(36) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0250.
(37) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0073.
(39) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0184.
(43) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0023.
(46) Mwachinga, E. (Global Tax Simplification Team, World Bank Group), ‘Results of investor motivation survey conducted in the EAC’, presentation given in Lusaka on 12 February 2013.
(47) ‘Supporting the development of more effective tax systems’ – a report to the G20 working group by the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank, 2011.
(48) FAO, Global Soil Partnership.

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