ROME - A draft declaration to be made at next week's world food summit ducks new targets on agricultural aid and the fight against hunger, but France said on Thursday it wanted firmer pledges on finance and market regulation.
The final draft declaration, seen by Reuters, does not mention a commitment to eradicate hunger by 2025 nor a pledge to spend $44 billion a year in agricultural aid.
Those two targets were among the most divisive issues at the center of negotiations head of the U.N. summit, to be held in Rome November 16-18.
French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire said the draft declaration was insufficient, adding France was working with Brazil on a joint document.
He said Paris was calling for other countries to confirm their share of a G8 pledge to invest $20 billion over three years in agricultural development, and wanted proposals on regulating global agricultural markets.
The Rome summit, hosted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, had aimed to win a firm pledge to boost the percentage of official aid spent on agricultural development to 17 percent -- back to its 1980 level -- from 5 percent now.
That amounts roughly to $44 billion a year which FAO says should be spent in water, storage, seeds and fertilizers as well as transport infrastructure in poor countries. FAO has given no details of where the aid money could be taken from.
But according to the draft, the leaders will commit to substantially increase the share of ODA (official development assistance) devoted to agriculture and food security based on country-led requests, without setting a target or a timeframe.
FRANCE WANTS IMPROVEMENT
An attempt to include in the declaration a new proposal to eradicate hunger by 2025 was met with skepticism by many who felt that it would amount to giving up on the U.N. target -- subscribed by world leaders in 2000 -- of halving the number of hungry people by 2015.
We commit to take action toward sustainably eradicating hunger at the earliest possible date, said the draft of the declaration, to be adopted on Monday barring last-minute amendments.
The draft also says the leaders will consider non-market-distorting international measures to mitigate the impact of food market volatility on the poor.
They will also request international organizations to examine whether a system of stockholding can be effective in dealing with price volatility and humanitarian emergencies.
Le Maire, however, said in Paris the draft needed to be improved.
Speaking about possible measures to regulate agricultural markets and counter volatility, he cited the development of future markets for those agricultural commodities that do not already have one and regional grain stocks -- an idea already touted at a meeting of G8 agriculture ministers this year.