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G8's Food Crisis Agenda Must Focus on Women's Human Rights

July 7, 2008–New York, NY–As the Group of 8 (G8) nations today begin their three-day summit in Toyako, Japan, MADRE issued an open letter to world leaders emphasizing that upholding women's human rights is key to resolving the global food crisis. New research demonstrates that small-scale, sustainable agriculture will better address the food needs of global populations. MADRE stressed that women are uniquely positioned to contribute expertise.

Vivian Stromberg, Executive Director of MADRE, said today, "With the food crisis high on the G8's agenda this week, one crucial point remains absent: women make up the majority of the small farmers who produce much of the world's food. G8 nations have only begun to acknowledge that small-scale agriculture and organic farming must be fully supported in the face of this global food crisis. They have yet to recognize the crucial role of women in creating a sustainable global food system. The G8 must incorporate the perspectives of women farmers into any decisions that emerge from this summit."

The food crisis has made headlines over the past few months, as the situation deteriorates for people across the Global South. In more than 30 countries, rapidly rising food prices and worsening hunger have sparked food riots. During the summit, G8 countries will reportedly form a task force to address soaring food prices. This task force will also discuss methods to boost global food production.

MADRE's open letter to the G8, co-signed by four of its sister organizations in Nicaragua, Colombia, Guatemala and Haiti, is entitled, "A Women's Declaration to the G8: Support Real Solutions to the Global Food Crisis." The letter challenges the G8's prevailing wisdom on solutions to the food crisis, which still embraces economic policies–such as trade liberalization and industrial agriculture–that have been shown to increase hunger.

The letter also lays out women's demands and concrete proposals for confronting the global food crisis within a human rights framework. The text of the letter and its signatories can be found here: /index.php?s=4&news=31.