Prize winner: A Brazilian law against hunger
World Future Council founder Jakob von Uexkull calls for future just policies
Hamburg, 1st October 2009. “This prize is not awarded to a person who has achieved special things. This prize celebrates policies that enable lots of people to do the right thing by creating the right frameworks”, said Jakob von Uexkull, the founder of the World Future Council at the award ceremony in Hamburg’s historic town hall. “Only with the help of good political frameworks can a sustainable and healthy world be passed on to future generations”, von Uexkull said.
The Future Policy Award is the first prize that celebrates policies on an international level. The World Future Council will award this prize every year to raise public awareness of these good policies and to promote international dissemination of such exemplary legislation. The selected political area for the Future Policy Award 2009 was ‘Food Security’. This means that policies could be nominated that convert the Human Right to Food into everyday reality.
The Future Policy Award 2009 was awarded to a municipal policy of the Brazilian city Belo Horizonte. “This is the most comprehensive policy for the abolition of hunger”, stated Count Hans Christof von Sponeck in his laudatory speech. The Belo Horizonte Food Security Programme managed to reduce child mortality by 60 percent und to reduce undernourishment among children by 75 percent within the space of only a decade. “These impressive results were achieved with measures that could easily be adopted by other cities”, said von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. Belo Horizonte implemented its municipal policy for food security by introducing free school meals and subsidized restaurants, controlling the prices for the most important basic foodstuffs, encouraging local production and creating markets where farmers can sell their products directly to the consumer. The programme costs less than 10 million dollars per year, about two percent of the city’s annual budget.
The prize, a glass sculpture created by one of Hamburg’s top-designers, Peter Schmidt, was handed to Patrus Ananias (57), the Brazilian Minister for Social Development and the Fight against Hunger. He introduced the policy during his term in office as mayor of Belo Horizonte in 1993. Minister Ananias was glad to be able to personally accept the award on behalf of the policy. He expressed his gratitude for the recognition of his work and pointed out that the Brazilian government has set itself the aim to completely abolish hunger by 2015. “The amount of resources used by governments to cope with the world financial crisis indicates that the obstacle to hunger eradication is not the lack of resources, but the lack of political drive”, Ananias said.
Hamburg’s Senator for Science and Research, Dr. Herlind Gundelach, conveyed the congratulations of the Hamburg Senate. “To achieve just and fair distribution is one of the central socio-political challenges of our time and should be an ethical yardstick for every society. Belo Horizonte made this yardstick the basis for its Food Security Policy in 1993. It is only correct to award the Future Policy Award to this exemplary legislation. I congratulate the city of Belo Horizonte and thank the World Future Council for this excellent initiative.”
Two other exemplary policies from Tuscany and Cuba were awarded the joint second prize by the World Future Council. The Tuscan policy guarantees all farmers the right to retain their seeds, cultivate and sow them. This policy protects biological diversity and supports creative cultivation methods by preventing patents on indigenous seeds, explained Count von Sponeck. The Cuban policy supports urban agriculture by permitting the use of all fallow areas within cities for the production of food and encouraging the development of organic cultivation methods. “This policy has made the access to food a lot easier for many urban citizens and has simultaneously improved the quality of the food they eat”, said von Sponeck. The Future Policy Awards for these policies were presented to the Head of the Tuscan Department for Development and Innovation in Agriculture, Maria Grazia Mammuccini, and the deputy Cuban Ambassador in Germany, Maria Esther Fiffe Cabreja.
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The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision-makers with effective policy solutions. In-depth research underpins advocacy work for international agreements, regional policy frameworks and national lawmaking and thus produces practical and tangible results. The World Future Council Foundation is registered in Hamburg.