Nelly Bassily | May 5, 2008
Heads of state and government ministries will gather in Rome, next month, to discuss how the challenges of climate change and bioenergy affect world food security. The conference will be held at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) headquarters in Rome, Italy. According to the FAO, the goal of the conference is to assist countries and the international community in finding sustainable solutions by identifying the policies, strategies, and programs required to safeguard world food security. Civil society organizations such as La Via Campesina –The International Peasant Movement – also plan to attend and present their views during stakeholder consultations.
“High level” conferences such as this typically generate a lot of discussion around an issue and produce government commitments to action. But connecting them to what’s happening in your area can be a challenge. Here are some suggestions for news stories or other radio programs:
-Find out who will represent your country at the conference, from the government and from civil society. (To find out what civil society organizations are involved, La Via Campesina (http://viacampesina.org/main_en/index.php) is a good place to start.) Ask these representatives what they plan to share and hope to accomplish at the conference.
-Follow the discussions and outcomes from the conference. (For official news and documents, visit the FAO website, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/focus/2008/1000829/index.html.) If you make contact with a civil society representative who will attend the conference, ask him or her to update you through e-mail.
-After the conference, find out what the government has committed to do, and what plans it is making to act on its commitments. Contact civil society and average people (farmers, consumers, etc), to find out what they think of the government’s commitments and any alternative suggestions they may have.
-If the government announces specific plans, find out how they will impact people in your broadcast area. If there is a program to support people, find out how locals can benefit.