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					Report of the European IPC Meeting, Brussels, 16.6.2003
(prepared by P. Mulvany, A. Slabe and D. Van Der Steen)

Present: Gilles Hirzel (FAO/Regional European Representation); Nora McKeon (FAO/ TCDS), Paul
Nicholson (Via Campesina/Farmers focal point); Patrick Mulvany (ITDG/ Genetic Resources focal
point); Andrea Ferrante (IPC Secretariat Rome); Brian O'Riordan (ICSF/ Fishworkers focal point);
Peter Rottach (Brot für die Welt); Manzi Bakuramutsa (FAO/ Regional European Representation);
Yifang Tang (FIAN/Right to Food focal point); Dany Van Der Steen (CSA, Belgium/European
regional focal point); Anamarija Slabe (ISD, Slovenia/ European regional focal point).
Absent and apologized people: Fernandez Fernando (Caritas/Plataforma Rural), Henk Hobbelink
(GRAIN/Genetic Resources focal point); Peter Hurst (IUF/Ag workers focal point); David King
(IFAP/Farmers focal point); Miroslav Louma (CZ/COPA member organisation); Senra Lidia
(Spain/CPE member organisation); Jean-Louis Vielajus (France/CFSI).

1. Clarification about IPC work towards FAO and civil society
2. Briefings Technical Committees reports
3. European Regional Network
4. Roles and responsibility sharing
5. Strengthen IPC in CEE countries
6. Letter to European Commission
7. Support IPC secretariat in Rome
8. Next meeting

1. Clarification about IPC work towards FAO and civil society
The meeting begins with some questions and clarifications about the goals of the FAO/NGO-
CSO IPC activities, towards the civil society and towards the FAO.
Dany clarifies about the attendance at this meeting. We have different types of participants:
- enlarged IPC European Focal point members (some of them where absent);
- Europeans involved into international organisations;
- other European organization representatives active in the WFS follow-up process.
Some important objectives are recalled: work on issues also important for the FAO (and other
UN organizations), inform organizations (through the IPC members) about what is going on at
the FAO, co-ordinate the NGO/CSO inputs, facilitate the dialogue among NGO/CSO
movements (not represent them), spread information on NGO/CSO activities all over the
world, influence the way that FAO deals with issues and use the FAO‟s capacity to provide
information and new views on important agriculture issues, ensure that civil society is in the
decision process, etc.
The importance of the independence of our work is stressed, and also the identification of the
priority issues (for example: fish breeding, GMOs and resources management for fisheries).
Andrea recalls some of the constraints the IPC has to deal with: the facilitation, the need to
translate the documents in 3 languages, the information and the organization of participation
to have a good involvement, what needs much work and resources. The signature of letter
with DG has increased enormously the expectations what IPC has to do and say. We need a
very active regional office, and for that additional resources. As it is now it will never respond
to all the things. Secretariat needs to decentralize its work where possible (i.e. translations…).

But the Rome Secretariat (we decided to keep very thin1), is actually overwhelmed with many
different demands. In the first months of 2003, it acted more as a travel agency for
participation in the FAO Technical Committees (and other) meetings and did few work for the
IPC and the process. Resources to fund the IPC meeting in November are still not found.
Patrick adds that the role of secretariat is to plan, to fund and to administrate with the
guidance of IPC.
Nora adds that if FAO cannot use their official funds (apart its official work program and
technical assistance), it can facilitate to get funds. The easiest funds come probably from the
Italian government. Some 0,5 million € are possible, mostly for enabling central work in
Rome. Other donors – governments should not be difficult to mobilize (ex.: Norway,
Germany and Canada). Another funding source is IFAD. But IPC should be more strategically
oriented and programmed. In Geneva, work of IPC has been put forward as one of the best
practices in the UN system: independent, self–organized, having its own agenda (cfr. the 4
action points in the signed letter of agreement with DG) … Now it is essential to make the
regions / the regional networks work. There is the real motor to work on most of the issues.
Other concerns were: the need to set up a legal entity (an international organisation based in
Rome); to improve the work procedure and to facilitate feedback from the group (now only
few answers come back); to get funds for the 5 – 6 regional secretariats / regional focal points;
to decentralise (funds needed for regional network / thematic focal points should go there
directly, not via Rome); to improve the involvement of fisherfolk (without creating new
activities); the importance of making links between sectors approaches; to define Terms of
Reference for all the focal points.
Of course, the definition of the role of regional focal points needs to take into account the role
and structures of the central secretariat. Peter proposes to implement the subsidiarity principle:
to do and decide at regional level what is possible at this level.

2. Briefings Technical Committees reports
It was decided not to take (from our limited) time for sharing information about the Technical
Committees and other FAO meetings. Information is available, for example on the CSA
Some information was given on fisheries-COFI, forests-COFO and IGWG.
The COFI was important, says Brian, because of the involvement of small fisherfolk
organizations, that could make interventions after a preparation work during a preceding 3
days consultation.
Their importance for food security is now recognized. The fisherfolk organizations succeeded
in presenting a statement (stressing the need of sustainable management of fish resources)
contradictory to the EU policy, despite the EU opposition, with the Chairman‟s help.
Study cases and other initiatives (code of conduct) are going in our (right) direction.
The COFI was also an opportunity to contribute to the unity of different fisherfolk networks.
During the COFO, discussions went on the pre-eminence of CBD or FAO. Many networks
exist and have different views.
Yfang reports on voluntary guidelines for the implementation of the Right to Adequate Food.
Internet mailing list for the guidelines is on the FIAN web site. IPC could help by distribution.
Another IGWG meeting is planned mid-September in Rome2.

    Trois personnes à temps partiel: A Onorati, A Ferrante et B Gasco.
    That will be postponed.

3. European Regional Network
Patrick defines the role of the European IPC members as follows:
- to serve as a platform for all interested European organization
Information exchange is the highest priority (some organizations haven‟t heard anything after
the Forum);
- support to the Rome International Secretariat
How can European org. and networks (FIAN, GRAIN … ) support? what can they do?
Dany informs about the new web page prepared by CSA.
To improve its working, it is now necessary to feed it by information that should come from
all the members, a process that does not exist actually.
This should be coordinated with IPC international secretariat and there is a need to inform
people, so that they use it.
The selection of issues is important for European IPC members and European network.
Our attention went as well to properly southern issues (problems of the South, as we find them
in the development NGOs' agenda) as to properly northern issues: “European NGOs speaking
about European problems”.
Examples of the first category (southern issues), proposed by Peter, are the impact of CAP on
the South (also in an enlarged EU) and the project cooperation with Southern NGOs to avoid
wasting FAO's knowledge and expertise.
About CAP impacts, Paul suggests also we should look at the impact on the world agriculture
within our 4 priorities. Some concrete questions exist on every issue. Dany stresses that all the
4 priorities are in fact very “European” ones.
Other issues for Paul are GMOs (where a clear European NGOs statement to FAO is needed),
and the negotiations of a Mediterranean free trade area which seems to be a large one
(Germany to Georgia …) and will start in 2004. As Europe starts to negotiate regional
agreements, info is needed.
Organizational work
As European regional work is the priority, we should therefore facilitate involvement and rise
interest of other NGOs, even from the Mediterranean and the Balkan region, on European
issues (such as regional Free Trade Agreements). Identification of potential partners will
require a lot of work.
The idea, coming from Rome April 2003 meeting, is to find in each country a national focal
point, aware of IPC priorities and using them in communication on national level.
The questions to be answered are how concretely will we find national focal points and what
will be their relation to the regional Focal Points.
There is a need for an organization list of (potentially) interested NGOs. A good base to start
for communication is to start with all that were at 2002 Forum. FAO also has started to work
on a list (incomplete but a helpful start), but it is a FAO list on organizations that FAO works
with, which is not the same as needed for NGOs' networks. But information exchange
between FAO and Regional Focal point should be good.
It is also necessary to contact existing national platforms dealing with agriculture and food
sovereignty issues in the European countries; IPC members could facilitate the contacts. These
groups are increasingly being formed in all EUR countries and we should use them.
A lot of work is needed within European region for taking into account the different
perspectives linked to regional particular situations: from central, eastern, southern Europe,

EU and other perspectives. We may not forget non-accession countries.
Patrick proposes to Dany and Anamarija to have a regular (every 2 months) contact with the

4. Roles and responsabilities
a. IPC Action Areas
Trade and food sovereignty
Focus on CAP reform and relationship with WTO agriculture agreement negotiations and Free
Trade Agreements in the region, e.g. the proposed Mediterranean Free Trade Agreements.
May 9th meeting in Brussels agreed a common position by some European Platforms
(statement attached).
This needs to be developed with more European national platforms and could be achieved, in
part, through links to other European processes, e.g. the European Social Forum (Paris,
November) and the Mediterranean SF (Beirut, Lebanon, November 2003). Preparatory
meeting for the Mediterranean Social Forum will be in summer in Italy (Palermo, Napoli,
Genova ?). To prepare, dialogue with North Africans/Middle East Focal Points is needed.
Paul agreed to raise this in relevant Social Forum meetings and report back.
Also, CONCORD has an emerging European Food Security Group (EFSG, currently founded
on the old Euronaid food aid group, but could be developed into a group of National Platforms
concerned with food sovereignty issues). Dany agreed to attend the next EFSG meeting on
24th June, representing the European IPC organisations, and report back on possibilities.
The UK Food Group is holding a meeting on 10th July on these issues. Patrick agreed to
arrange for invitations to the Belgian (Belgian written contribution in annex) and French
platforms in order to discuss how UK development NGOs could achieve compatible positions
with their European counterparts. Report on meeting will be circulated.
The FAO Regional Conference and Consultation in Montpellier in May 2004 would be
another opportunity for issues to be raised with European governments. The definitive agenda
will be decided in July and to be considered for decision on our own Agenda. A side event in
Montpellier on CAP could be an excellent idea.
Similar issues arise with the EU‟s Common Fisheries Policy. Brian to advise on how these
could be addressed through these and similar meetings and the regional IPC network. Also to
suggest some names for the IPC Regional Focal Point for fisherfolk.
Right to Food
Yifang requested endorsements by all IPC members and the wider European network of the
current documents on the voluntary guidelines for the implementation of the Right to
Adequate Food (documents circulated and on She offered to include
organisations on the FIAN email list, if requested.
Brian proposes we seek a constructive dialogue on the right to food/food sovereignty with the
European Commission (Research, Development, Fisheries, Agriculture, Environment…).
Access to Resources
Key issue for new entrants to agriculture. Paul proposed this be an issue for the 2004 agenda
of IPC and that a working group should be set up to consider this and related land reform
Water Resources

Similarly, access to inland and coastal waters for artisan fishers was a key issue and should be
addressed at the same time - perhaps as a sub-task of the proposed working group. Brian to
advise on issues that should be included.
Genetic Resources
The promotion of genetic engineering, GMOs in food and agriculture and food aid and IPRs
on genetic resources by European institutions and their influence in FAO normative processes
are issues that IPC regional network should be addressing. It should deliberately identify with
existing European processes that are confronting these threats and as necessary propose new
actions, especially now that on Sept 11 the Biosafety Protocol will enter into force. Peter
advised IPC that the 13-14th November seminar in Brussels organised by Brot für die Welt
and the German protestant church organisations would address these issues. Anamarija
informed about the new Austria/Italy/Slovenia ecoregion that is GM free. This could serve as
a model to other regions. Other genetic resources issues include the ratification of the
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; the development of
the Global Conservation Trust; work on developing the framework for a domestic animal
genetic resources treaty – including a meeting organised by ITDG in Kenya; resisting the
application of IPRs on genetic resources for food and agriculture – „No Patents on Life‟.
Patrick stresses that it is necessary that other forums pick these issues too (GMOs, etc.)
The meeting recommended that the IPC set up a working group to address these issues
internationally. Patrick is asked to take this forward.
Agricultural Research
A working group involving all regional and constituency focal points, including the European
Region, will be set up to address the two points raised in the letter from Pat Mooney and
Patrick as amended by comments from IPC:
a) a discussion about the type of agricultural research necessary to deliver the type of
agriculture demanded by the Forum for Food Sovereignty;
b) development of positions that address current international agricultural research processes
(e.g. CGIAR) for sign on by IPC and the wider network. Patrick to inform about progress.
There was not enough time to discuss the significant progress on the development of the IPC
work with FAO on agroecology as a countervailing production system to industrial agriculture
increasingly based on GMOs. However, see attached letter from Jean Marc von der Weid (IPC
focal point on agroecology) that describes the next steps and requires involvement by IPC
regional focal points. It asks Regional focal points to consult and comment on an IPC
agroecology paper by the middle of August, especially with regard to the identification of a
possible country in CEE for inclusion in the process. A seminar will be held in Rome on 24
and 25 November and a European IPC member will be invited.
International Advocacy Campaign
This campaign for more and better aid to agriculture and rural development, has been
proposed as a follow-up to the Forum for Food Sovereignty (see attached). It will start as a
pilot campaign in a number of countries including, from Europe, Belgium, France, Germany
(?), Norway, UK, with a Secretariat provided by FOCSIV in Rome. More details will be
circulated as the plans become clearer and World Food Day maybe used as a launch of this
b. Information and Networking
The question is here how to improve networking and exchange of information.

The Regional Focal Points agreed to use this information to further develop a database of
relevant and interested CSOs in Europe, and share the results with, and receive other
information about CSOs from, the FAO Regional Office. FIAN, MIJARC, Susanna Gura etc.
to be asked by the Regional focal points if they could provide lists of relevant contacts in the
whole Europe.
Dany asks also help (Gilles and others) in correcting the wrong e-mail addresses.
The CSA has a website with pages dedicated to the IPC process ( http://www.csa- and the International Secretariat is launching a new
website ( which will provide all relevant information about current
The Regional Focal Points will need to develop the plans for work at a European level based
on the activities listed above. They should ask other organisations if they would be interested
in co-operating with us.
To facilitate networking, it was proposed that the Regional Focal Points prepare and circulate
a regular (2 monthly) newsletter with updates on all activities and relevant news.
Paul insists to strengthen the network especially in CEE an South Europe, to include social
movements and to identify possible partners.
The International Secretariat was asked to prepare TORs for focal points, to clarify roles
and responsibilities.
The IPC Secretariat agreed to prepare a summary presentation of the IPC for use by focal
points and others in Europe and to provide a list of all European organisations involved in the
IPC process and the Forum for Food Sovereignty.

5. Strengthening IPC in CEE countries
The important question is her how to strengthen CEE countries input, but it is difficult to
identify counterparts in CEE. It was agreed that IPC Europe would assist in strengthening the
network in Central and Eastern Europe. The process would include identification of partners
and resources to facilitate their participation in work on food sovereignty issues. Dany asks
the people here present help to provide information about organizations and national
platforms in countries we don‟t cover. I also expect some information, actualities from the
side of organizations.
It was also suggested that specific resources be sought for the Regional focal point for Central
and Eastern Europe and for a Regional Meeting in a CEE country in 2004. A conference in
CEE may facilitate contacts and a concrete objective can be a regional IPC meeting in 2004 in
one of the CEE countries.
Anamarija stresses the existing potential in CEE countries (NGOs, environmental networks,
women groups…). But more strategic work would be needed to draw their interest.
IPC Europe would seek the cooperation of different groups and networks in Europe.
Alternatively, it was proposed that a future meeting be held in parallel to other events e.g. ESF
in 2004 or the Regional FAO Conference in Montpellier in May 2004.

6. Letter to the European Commission
Dany agreed to develop the draft of a letter to the European Commissioners prepared by
Andrea. Help with identifying relevant contacts in the Commission was offered by Brian.
The letter provides information about the IPC and notes that a funding proposal has been sent
to the Commission by the agencies in Rome on behalf of the IPC.

7. Support IPC secretariat in Rome
Recommendations are made fir the Rome international Secretariat. As the Rome Secretariat is
overwhelmed with many different demands, there is a need to prioritize them, and the IPC has
to play here a role as reference/ advisory group. We may miss all important opportunities if
this is not established. There is too much work and not enough targeted feedback. More
focused means of communication (besides sending e-mails) seems necessary. It is one of the
main problems – we do not come to setting priorities, and it is difficult to say no to something.
Decision-making process in the IPC is very complicate; Antonio sends a note, if agreement or
no answer – it is agreed. More time and a better organization is needed. It is a waste of time
to work as a "travel agent". A smaller IPC group should be easier but would reduce our
legitimacy. Regionalisation and decentralization is essential.
The European focal points and others at the meeting committed to helping the International
Secretariat with its work. Paul proposed and it was agreed that increased responsibility for
programming and resourcing at the regional level was essential. Timely feedback to the
international network on International and regional IPC activities was required. Support
should be given to the IPC Secretariat to help it prioritise on key political, programmatic and
information activities, not „travel agency‟ or translation services. European CSOs could help
in a number of tasks including assistance with funding proposals and widening the focus from
FAO to other Rome-based food agencies especially IFAD.
It was proposed the International Secretariat prepare bi-monthly newsletters with
information about current activities and challenges, as necessary. This newsletter would be
available to the wider network through Regional focal points. It was noted that some
European CSOs that had been involved in the process had not received any information about
progress since the end of the Forum.

8. Next meeting and other
Dany requested that the next meeting prepare for the Regional FAO-NGO/CSO 2004
Consultation (just before the Conference in Montpellier3). There was no conclusion about
dates, but options included a meeting in before the IPC agroecology meeting in Rome in
November (on 23 November) or in parallel with the European Social Forum at the beginning
of November (Paris). It was agreed Dany would organise an email or teleconference in
September, if necessary for urgent decisions.
The meeting ended at 17:45. Thanks were given to the interpreters for their excellent work
and to the organisers (Dany and Anamarija) for making the meeting possible.

- May 9th meeting in Brussels agreed a common position by some European Platforms (English and
- Belgian written contribution to the UK Food Group meeting from 10th July (English).
- Letter from Jean Marc von der Weid (IPC focal point on agroecology) that describes the next steps
and requires involvement by IPC European regional focal points (English)
- Alliance against hunger campaign : call for more and better aid to agriculture (English)

  Now we know about the 3 points on the Agenda :
- food safety (as we already knew)
- agricultural research (for Europe and for the world)
- a standard item on WFS follow-up which will also cover the International Alliance against Hunger

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