Exclude humanitarian food aid from trade talks, UN expert advises

19 July 2005

With more than 300 million children suffering from chronic hunger worldwide, the United Nations expert on the right to food today called on negotiators at the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks to exempt food aid distributed by UN agencies and their partners from the discussions.

The humanitarian aid carried forward by UN agencies, and especially by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, should be excluded from WTO's discussions, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Jean Ziegler said in a statement issued in Geneva.

He added, "Several suggestions now being discussed at WTO aim to ban immediately and unilaterally all in-kind contributions of food, allowing only cash donations. It is obvious that cash contributions would normally be better but given the dramatic situation of hunger worldwide, these suggestions do not seem realistic."

Permitting only cash would require an immediate and massive increase in the funds for development, especially funds for food aid, which seemed to be out of the question for the moment, he said.


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