Thursday, 18 September 2008

Food prices help tip 75 million into hunger in 2007 (IJT)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ROME: Rising food prices are partly to blame for adding 75 million more people to the ranks of the world's hungry in 2007 and lifting the global figure to roughly 925 million, the U.N.'s food agency said on Wednesday.
Jacques Diouf, head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), presented the figure to Italy's parliament ahead of the release of an official report on Thursday.
The latest data further distances the international community from reaching U.N. Millennium Development Goals that include halving hunger and poverty by 2015.
Diouf estimated that 850 million people were hungry before the 2007-2008 spike in food prices, which sparked widespread protests and even riots in the most affected nations.
The FAO hosted a food crisis summit in Rome in June to discuss ways to combat high food prices, blamed on poor harvests, high oil costs, biofuels and rising demand for basic staple crops, especially from fast-growing Asian countries.
Next week, world leaders gathering at the United Nations are due to review an updated assessment of progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals -- eight social and economic development benchmarks.
Beyond hunger and poverty, they include increasing universal education and fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Slow delivery of financial aid by some of the world's richest nations is one of the reasons the goals are in danger of being missed by the 2015 deadline, U.N. officials and aid agencies say.
Donor countries have increased assistance since 2000, but in 2006 and 2007 aid levels declined by 4.7 and 8.4 percent respectively, according to a U.N. report published earlier this month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called a "wake-up call."

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