Globalization must be harnessed in fight to curb hunger, UN agency chief says

Globalization must be harnessed in fight to curb hunger, UN agency chief says

Globalization is an economic and social reality that must be managed if it is to become an effective tool to fight hunger, the head of the United Nations food agency has said.

“There should be a ‘food first’ policy,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive-Director James Morris said, addressing the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome yesterday. “We must first deal with hunger to lay the foundation for growth and development.”

Highlighting the relationship between globalization, hunger and poverty, Mr. Morris pointed out that with the number of hungry people increasing each year, the problem must be resolved before any development can be effective.

Mr. Morris also pointed to the newly released UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) State of Food Insecurity in the World 2006 to demonstrate shortfalls in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a globally agreed set of antipoverty targets.

“We are less than ten years away from the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of hungry people, but, up to now, no real progress has been made,” Mr. Morris said. “This goal would require 31 million people to be taken off the list each year, whereas it is actually growing by an average of 4 million annually.”

The FAO report indicated that while food security improved in China and Southeast Asia, it drastically worsened in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Morris also highlighted Italy’s partnership with WFP, applauding the Italian-funded UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi as being a successful model for similar rapid response bases opening in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.