"Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas" will be the Central Theme of the 42 OAS General Assembly in Bolivia
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, David Choquehuanca, today presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) the theme “Food Security with Sovereignty” that his government has proposed as the central theme for the 42 OAS General Assembly, to be held in Cochabamba June 3-5.
In his presentation, the Bolivian Foreign Minister explained that the General Assembly’s theme is based on his country’s concern regarding the various problems and crises that affect humanity, and especially the continent. "The development model implemented by Western society has created major imbalances and inequalities and has caused many crises, including energy, financial, institutional and food crises, as well as climate change, and even a crisis of values," he said. Minister Choquehuanca emphasized the need to address these problems jointly, as he considered that solving them “is not only the responsibility of Governments, Heads of State and authorities, but it must also involve everyone, including social organizations, the organized civil society and all democratic institutions in our countries."
Referring to the expectations and content of next June’s hemispheric meeting, Choquehuanca expressed the Bolivian government’s desire to make the General Assembly "an opportunity for reflection, sharing of experiences and building of proposals in a common way that allows the generation of specific actions to address the food crisis." In this regard, he recognized the efforts developed in each country to address the problem of hunger and to guarantee access to healthy food.
The Draft Declaration submitted for consideration by Member States includes mechanisms and commitments on issues such as the prevention of the commodification of water and energy resources; avoiding concentration of land ownership and the sale of land to foreigners; prioritizing domestic and regional products for domestic markets; promoting fair trade in the region; controlling food prices; stimulating intra-regional marketing of foods; establishing food banks for periods of crisis; upgrading and strengthening family agriculture; and developing food education, among others.
At the special meeting of the Council, the Bolivian Minister also presented the General Assembly logo, explaining the elements that compose it and their meaning: the variety of color refers to democracy and the different ways of thinking, and the "pachakuti" code represents the consensus and complementarity.
Minister Choquehuanca closed his speech by inviting all OAS Member States to participate in the meeting in Cochabamba, so that "together we can work on proposals for the benefit of our peoples and build options for the welfare of future generations."
Welcoming the Bolivian Minister, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza thanked him for his visit and presentation, and highlighted the "paradox" that the Assembly theme shows: "The Americas, and even North America and Latin America separately, have a surplus in food production, with more than enough products to feed its entire population; nonetheless, we still have a large number of hungry citizens in our countries," he explained and called this trend as "an immense injustice and a lack of solidarity among ourselves."
The highest OAS representative also added that "there is no reason to justify that regions that produce enough food, even for export to other regions of the world, lack the capacity to feed all their citizens. This trend validates a meeting on the issue of food sovereignty." He finally referred to other effects of inadequate food distribution, such as obesity, malnutrition and the number of diseases that arise as a consequence of them.
Following the session, Secretary General Insulza and Minister Choquehuanca held a working meeting during which they reviewed the preparations, program and activities prior to the June General Assembly.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.