Final declaration of the Presidential Summit

Declaration by the Heads of State and Government of the Republics of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Dominican Republic, gathered in Managua, Nicaragua, for the celebration of the Presidential Summit on Sovereignty and Alimentary Security “Food for Life”


Managua, Nicaragua, 7th May 2008

The Heads of State and Government of the Republics of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Dominican Republic, gathered on 7th May 2008 in the city of Managua for an emergency meeting entitled Presidential Summit on Sovereignty and Alimentary Security “Food for Life”. Our objective is to discuss the serious problems faced by our peoples, magnified by the rapid increase in the price of foodstuffs, which has already caused violent outbursts in several countries. We gather having made the decision of unifying efforts to confront the impact of the global alimentary crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean.


• The Declaration issued by the Ministers of Agriculture and the High Officials of 11 Latin American countries, gathered on 26th April 2008 in Managua, where the global alimentary crisis was discussed with particular attention to its effects in Latin American and Caribbean countries, our peoples, families and communities.
• That developed countries (the European Union, United States and Japan) maintain a policy of subsidies to their agricultural production. These subsidies amount to $327,000 million per annum, figure that on average, represents the 21%, 35% and 59% of the total income of farmers in these respective countries. This policy seriously distorts international trade and erects barriers to the fair trade of agricultural products.
• That such distortion is aggravated by the combination of subsidies and the exorbitant prices of production and foodstuffs. As a result, the heaviest weight of this crisis befalls on impoverished countries.
• That the existence of various agricultural policies and programs within the region creates the ideal conditions for the development of a common strategy of complementarity. Some of these initiatives include the PACA (Central American Agricultural Policy 2008-2017), and the ALBA’s Agreement for the Implementation of Programs of Cooperation for the Guarantee of Sovereignty and Alimentary Security. These initiatives represent an opportunity to stimulate the production of foodstuffs in the region.
• That foodstuffs, together with health and educational programs, constitute needs and rights fundamental to the survival and development of human beings. In order to guarantee sovereignty and alimentary security, any form of imposition and/or speculation must be eliminated. Foodstuff producers and consumers must be protected.
• That the situation of shortage and high cost of foodstuffs negatively affects the fulfillment of the Millennium’s Development Goals, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The present situation has caused malnutrition indexes and shortages in medical attention to rocket, thus infringing upon the basic rights of millions of human beings.
• That the current crisis affecting the price and availability of foodstuffs is a result of the prevailing global economic order, and of economic policies unfavorable to the alimentary sustainability of developing countries.
• That States are under the obligation of guaranteeing, protecting and respecting the universal right to alimentation. They must comply with this obligation through the implementation of specific measures that particularly protect vulnerable social groups, and provide them with the necessary means for their alimentation.
• That the effects of climate change unfairly befall on the most impoverished and vulnerable countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Our countries only emit 5% of global emissions, yet they suffer the catastrophic effects of climate change, including droughts, hurricanes and floods which have become more frequent, prolonged and violent.
• That developed countries have implemented proposals and policies that allow the use of foodstuffs for the production of fuel. Such practices aggravate the already critical alimentary situation of many countries and peoples.

It has been agreed:

• To reject the practices of agricultural subsidies and internal aid, so common in the industrialized nations of the world, since they impact on the agriculture of poorer countries and distort the markets. It has also been agreed to prioritize the use of agricultural products for the production of foodstuffs, as opposed to their use in the production of fuel.
• To subsidize national agricultural production by supporting small producers who do not have access to credits from national or private financial institutions. Other producers should be supported by allowing them access to low-interest credits given by national banking institutions.
• To encourage the private financial sector to allocate a minimum of 10% of their budget to finance the country’s agricultural production.
• To join efforts in order to augment sustainable production and productivity in the alimentary sector, while respecting our traditions both as consumers and as producers. To encourage sustainable production while protecting our resources, flora and seeds; acknowledging our duty to restore and preserve nature and the environment, using local resources, creating improved conditions in the financial, technological and organizational areas, guaranteeing the supply of raw materials, and in sum, fostering inclusive practices, in accordance with the cultural traditions of Latin American and Caribbean countries. 
• To express our concern for the dependency and inequality caused by the imposition of monopolic foreign technologies.
• To augment sustainable output and productivity through the promotion of ecological / organic agriculture and industry, and to improve their access by popular sectors.
• To coordinate our combined regional and national potential in order to achieve full alimentary security, thus guaranteeing the supply of healthy and balanced foodstuffs. It has also been agreed to guarantee the physical, social and economic access to sufficient foodstuffs, while reaffirming our belief that foodstuffs must not be used as a tool of political pressure.
• To instruct every Minister of Agriculture, Economy and Commerce to elaborate a Solidarity Program for Sovereignty and Alimentary Security. The program must include an Immediate Action Plan, to be presented within 30 days, which identifies the productive potential and resources needed to substantially increase production, taking into account the contributions made by international organizations.
• To prepare the aforementioned Action Plan in conformity with the principles of solidarity and cooperation between the participating countries. The Plan must also recognize the complementarity of the nations involved, along with the existing asymmetries. The principle of fair trade between and within regions must be respected, so that fair prices can be offered to both producers and consumers.
• To create a Fund for the allocation of the necessary resources to further develop productivity. The Fund shall also make funding, technology and equipment available to producers. Fair prices must be guaranteed both for producers and consumers.
• To urge the international community to substantially increase the extent and facilities provided for the purpose of cooperation, and to reduce expenditure in order to mitigate the effects of the crisis.
• To request international organizations that they provide short-term credits to increase agricultural production.
• To continue to support the Action Plan adopted at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which took place in Bali in December 2007, where it was agreed to reach a new agreement on global warming by 2009. This agreement should represent the true compromise of nations, and especially of developed nations, to reduce their greenhouse emissions and to implement technologies that are respectful to nature and the environment. The agreement must include proposals for the funding and prevention of the climate crisis.
• To promote productive organization and cooperation between small, medium and large agricultural producers, including women and promoting full participation, so that all citizens contribute to guaranteeing the sovereignty and alimentary security of our peoples. In this respect, our objectives are intensifying productivity and situating the agricultural sector in a privileged position from which it can help restore and protect our planet and the environment.
• To allocate governmental resources that stimulate the production of foodstuffs, in particular the production of staple grains.
• To recognize the significance of the Declaration issued at the XXX Regional Conference of the FAO, which took place in Brasilia in April 2008.
• To recognize the importance of the FAO’s global conference on Alimentary Security, Climate Change and Bio-energy, which will take place in Rome between the 3rd and 5th June this year.
• To acknowledge the agreements reached during the Extraordinary Meeting of the COMISCA (Central American Council of Ministers of Health), which took place in Panama on 24th April 2008, together with the Third Meeting of Ministers of Environment, Agriculture and Health, celebrated at the same city on 25th April 2008. These agreements aim to develop a regional strategy and action plan to confront the crisis caused by the rise in foodstuff prices. The agreements should be enforced in order to complement the strategy presented by the CAC (Central American Agricultural Council), which aims to intensify agricultural production.
• To acknowledge the proposals made by the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, which are attached to the Annex of this declaration for the consideration of all those involved. 
• To acknowledge the proposal submitted by the Government of Nicaragua, entitled “Solidarity Program for the Sovereignty and Alimentary Security of the Countries of Central America and the Caribbean”. This proposal was submitted at the meeting held by Ministers of Agriculture and other High Officials, which took place in the City of Nicaragua on 26th April 2008. The proposal remains open to the incorporation of other countries of the region.
• To endorse the offer made by the Government of Mexico to organize a technical meeting at the highest level at the end of May, with the intention of tackling the issues involved in the transfer initiatives of agricultural technologies.  The terms of this meeting were handed out at the start of this Summit.
• To incorporate the subjects of Sovereignty and Alimentary Security to the Agenda of the Fifth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the ALC-UE (Summit of Heads of State and Government of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union), to be held in the city of Lima, Peru, on 16th May 2008.
• To incorporate the subjects of Sovereignty and Alimentary Security to the Agenda of the 63rd United Nations’ General Assembly.
• To support a process of agrarian reform that provides with land those agricultural producers who are not in possession of this resource.
• To establish a mechanism of consultation along with the necessary tools to follow up the agreements hereby presented.
• To declare all Latin American and Caribbean countries in an emergency, in order to expedite the process of intensification of the production and an increase in the productivity of foodstuffs.

Agreed in the City of Managua, Nicaragua, on 7th May 2008



The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela proposes:

• To create a Bank of Agricultural Raw Materials to diminish the cost of production to small and medium producers
• To allocate $100 million through the Bank of the ALBA  to the agricultural portfolio, in order to fund the projects presented by the countries involved.
• To create a special plan within the framework of Petrocaribe to finance agricultural production, via special fuel quotas that affect production
• To strengthen the power of States through the imposition of a special tax dedicated to creation of a special agricultural fund.
• To advocate for the fight against drug trafficking, especially when it affects the expropriation of land that could be used for production.
• To create a Center of Applied Studies for the strengthening of agricultural production.
• To require the celebration of a Summit for oil producing countries, in search of a combined oil-alimentary formula, and to create a special agricultural fund (Venezuela).


(Translation for Portal ALBA by Damaris Garzón)


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