Lauding G-8 resolve to tackle food crisis, UN urges practical steps to help hungry
Welcoming the commitment shown by the leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) leading industrialized nations at their summit in Japan to combat the global food crisis, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has called for practical steps to alleviate hunger for millions around the globe.
“What we have seen at the G-8 summit is the resolve to help protect the poorest from the devastating effect of high food prices and to find long term solutions to the food crisis,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
“We need to follow through with practical measures that can make a real difference in addressing urgent hunger needs throughout the world,” she added.
WFP has been calling for concerted global action to address the effects of high food prices on the poor, including un-earmarked donations that give the agency greater flexibility for procuring and pre-positioning food for the hungry, the lifting of export restrictions on all humanitarian food purchases, and urgent consideration of the possible need for humanitarian global grain reserves.
“We are living in unusual times, and this requires practical solutions now if we are going to confront the challenges we face,” Ms. Sheeran stated. “The G-8 expressed resolve, which I welcome. Now comes the hard part: solving problems and reaching as many hungry people as possible in as sustainable a way as possible.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who attended the summit in Hokkaido, Japan, told reporters in New York today that he appreciated the endorsement by the G-8 of the Comprehensive Framework for Action, created by his High-Level Task Force, to address the global food crisis.
“In addition to addressing immediate needs, we must also use this opportunity to address the structural roots of the crisis,” he said, highlighting the need to boost both public and private funding for agricultural production and research.
Mr. Ban pointed out that G-8 leaders in Hokkaido called for a contribution of an additional $10 billion for this purpose, but noted that the Task Force’s Agreement sets the need at over $25 billion annually.