CSOs and the SADC Dar-es-Salaam Declaration
In May 2006, the Heads of State and Governments of SADC are due to review the implementation of the 2004 Dar-es-Salaam
Extraordinary Summit Declaration and Plan of Action on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region.
The Summit was held in the aftermath of the 2001-03 drought and subsequent food emergencies in several SADC countries. CSO
observers at the Summit were pleased to note the urgency demonstrated at the meeting and the breadth of the Declaration in attempting to address these challenges. The Summit leaders were candid noting that ‘in the past thirteen years food production, donor aid flows, government budgetary allocations to agriculture and rural development have declined, while food imports, food aid, and population have substantially increased’.
They also recognized that ‘the major underlying reasons for the prevalence of hunger in the SADC region include
inappropriate national agricultural and food policies and inadequate access by farmers to key agricultural inputs and markets’.
Aside from measures to promote agricultural production, the leaders also stressed social aspects of poverty noting that ‘inadequate food security, poor nutrition, inadequate essential public services, limited reproductive health services, gender imbalances and high levels of illiteracy impact negatively upon the quality of life of our people, especially those
living with HIV/AIDS’.
Almost two years on – and in the midst of another regional food crisis - CSOs need to ask ask whether the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration has made a difference and what else needs to be done to galvanise regional food security efforts. But first, what did the Declaration itself say?