Wednesday, 4 June 2008

UN FOOD SUMMIT: US$20BN NEEDED, SAYS BAN KI-MOON

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member

Day two of the UN World Food Summit has commenced with UN chief Ban Ki-moon's declaration that US$15 billion to US$20 billion is needed each year to boost food production to combat hunger.

Most of the money would have to come from concerned countries, say the UN secretary general. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged nations to seize an "historic opportunity to revitalise agriculture" as a way of tackling the food crisis. Mr Ban told delegates that food production would have to rise by 50% by 2030 to meet demand.

But he was already decalring the summit a success. "There is a clear sense of resolve, shared responsibility and political commitment among member states to making the right policy choices and investing in agriculture in the years to come."

"Hunger degrades everything we have been fighting for in recent years and decades," he told reporters. "We are duty-bound to act to act now and to act as one."

He also called for policy guidelines on biofuel production should be put in place because of its impact on food production. Delegates in Rome have been divided over the role biofuels is playing in driving up food prices, sparking riots in countries including have sparked riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Cote d‘Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Madagascar.

Mr Ban also told the summit he has received a petition signed online by more than 300,000 people saying there was no time to lose.

"We call on you to take immediate action to address the world food crisis by mobilizing emergency funding to prevent starvation, removing perverse incentives to turn food into biofuels and managing financial speculation," said the petition, organised by online rights group Avaaz.org.

No comments: