12 May 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11559

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

HIGH-LEVEL TASK FORCE ‘WILL DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY ON FOOD PRICE CRISIS’,


SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL AFTER CHAIRING FIRST MEETING IN NEW YORK

 


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The Secretary-General remains very concerned about the sharp rise in the price of basic food commodities, which has affected millions of people and has the potential to affect millions more.  While he recognizes this is essentially linked to the global demand for food exceeding supply, the drivers of the crisis are complex and the consequences are varied.  Tackling this issue will require international leadership and coordination at the highest level.


To this end, the Secretary-General has just chaired the first meeting of the newly established High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis.  This Task Force, which is coordinated by Under-Secretary-General John Holmes, supported by Assistant Secretary General David Nabarro as his Deputy Coordinator, brings together heads of many of the United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, Bretton Woods institutions and relevant parts of the United Nations Secretariat.


The primary aim of the Task Force is to promote a comprehensive and unified response to the global food price challenge in support of Governments and affected populations.  The focus of today’s meeting was the development of a comprehensive framework for tackling the challenges posed by the food price crisis.


This strategy is expected to outline short- and longer-term actions, such as food aid, social protection initiatives and agricultural boosts, which will help counter the negative consequences of the food crisis for the most affected.  Today, the High-Level Task Force agreed to present the elements of such a strategy at the High-Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome on 3 to 5 June.


Meanwhile, members of the Task Force appeal to countries around the world to ensure that their policies, for example regarding exports of food, do not exacerbate the current structural rise in food prices and its consequences.  In particular, they appeal to all countries to allow food supplies needed for humanitarian purposes, for example by the World Food Programme, to be provided without hindrance.


During the next few weeks, Mr. Holmes and Mr. Nabarro will be consulting with United Nations Member States as required.  The Task Force will also be meeting on an ad hoc basis, as needed.


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For information media • not an official record