Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

UN food summit agrees on global plan

Latest update : 2008-06-05

World leaders at a UN food summit in Rome agreed on a declaration to fight the global food crisis. They also pledged some $6.5 billion (4.1 billion euros) to fight hunger across the world.

A U.N. food summit promised on Thursday to relieve hunger threatening one billion people, but anti-poverty campaigners said rich countries needed to commit to long-term action to boost food output and free up trade.

 

The three-day Rome summit of 183 countries narrowly avoided an embarrassing failure when Latin Americans protested at points in the declaration. But it finally committed to "eliminating hunger and to securing food for all, today and tomorrow".

 

Delegates and campaigners agreed the summit had succeeded in putting soaring food prices at the top of the global agenda.

 

"If nothing else, nations came together to recognise the problem," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

 

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation called the summit to discuss the impact of poor harvests, high fuel costs and rising demand, especially from fast-growing Asian countries.

 

Commodity prices have doubled over the last couple of years and the World Bank says 100 million people risk joining the 850 million already going hungry.

 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development sees prices of rice, corn and wheat retreating from peaks but still up to 50 percent higher in the next decade and the FAO says food output must rise 50 percent by 2050 to meet demand.

 

"While we welcome the attention that the summit has drawn to addressing the emergency needs of the food price crisis, governments haven't made any serious long-term commitments," said campaign group ActionAid.

 

Aid agencies and campaigners urged rich nations to make more tangible decisions at July's Group of Eight summit in Japan.

 

"There is a growing awareness that rich countries cannot continue to give with one hand and take away with the other," said Barbara Stocking of Oxfam. "Unless unfair international trade, biofuels and agriculture policies are changed the crisis for developing countries' agriculture will continue."

 

 

 

FOOD AND FUEL

 

Free trade was a sticking point. Grain and beef exporter Argentina objected to criticism in the declaration of export curbs like those it has imposed to shield consumers from food inflation -- measures which have angered its farmers.

 

Washington's Schafer said countries should understand that such restrictions cause food inflation. Asian rice stockpiling is blamed for high rice prices that have even led to riots.

 

"We understand that countries want to protect their food supply and make sure that there's enough food for their own citizens but when there's a lock-out from the marketplace ... prices actually go up," Shafer told reporters in Rome.

 

Cuba and regional allies including Venezuela and Argentina voiced objections to a summit declaration which Cuban delegate Orlando Requeijo Gual said "frankly neglects the vital needs of those who suffer from hunger".

 

Criticising U.S. sanctions on communist Cuba, he hit out at the "sinister strategies of using grain for fuel", a reference to biofuels, which critics say divert crops from food to cars.

 

The United States and Brazil defended using maize and sugar cane respectively to make ethanol to fuel cars, saying it is a minor factor in food price inflation. The declaration referred to both the "challenges and opportunities" of biofuels.

 

Although the summit was not meant to produce promises of aid or set new global policies, it should put hunger higher up on the agenda of the G8 summit next month. By then U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to have issued an action plan.

 

The Rome debate on potential benefits to poor farmers of new global trade rules will also feed into a push to conclude the Doha round of World Trade Organisation talks.

 

"This is at the top of the global agenda and it's none too soon," said Josette Sheeran, head of the World Food Programme which delivers emergency supplies. "Hunger is on the march."

 

Date created : 2008-06-05

COMMENT(S)