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Hon. Naughten: affordable food is a human right

2 December 2013

Hon. Denis Naughten TD and Mbemba Jabbi (Africa Centre, Ireland)

Hon. Denis Naughten TD and Mbemba Jabbi (Africa Centre, Ireland)

As part of his duties as a parliamentarian, and as a member of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), Hon. Denis Naughten TD works to keep both the interests of Ireland and Africa high on Europe’s political agenda.

In particular, Hon. Naughten has been lobbying throughout the past two years for EU policymakers to regulate speculation on commodities markets. Hon. Naughten’s take is shared by many other critics: affordable food is a human right and nobody shall bear the brunt of high and volatile food prices.

The article below, published by the Irish Times on 2 December 2013, provides an in-depth analysis on the cause for which Hon. Naughten and other Irish politicians have been fighting.

Beginning last year, agents of various finance and investment houses began knocking on the door of the Department of Finance. Something was looming in Brussels and they wanted to ensure officials knew where they stood. The problem had to do with the price of food.

Now that problem – or at least the problematic relationship between food and high finance – is being addressed with EU policymakers deciding on how, or to what extent, to regulate speculation on commodities markets. […]

Throughout some two years of lobbying on the issue, Denis Naughten TD, a member of the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa organisation, has appealed to the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to consider the effects of lighter regulation, independent of stricter EU rules.

In a letter to the Minister, Mr Naughten said: “Financial speculation on food in global markets has made Irish consumers increasingly vulnerable to its effects.

“As disposable income drops for most Irish households, the price of bread and other staples has become crucially important to many families. Inflation led to an average increase of €270 each year in the annual household bill of Irish consumers in the period from 2006 to 2008. The international evidence suggests that food speculation played a significant role in this.”

Globally, Mr Naughten said the effects had “been much more catastrophic”. Between 2007 and 2008, the UN’s World Food Programme reported that some 115 million “more people had been made hungry”.

Read the full article here.

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