UN-backed 2009 summit on world food crisis gains support

23 March 2009 – A proposed 2009 world summit on the food crisis, which continues in poor countries despite falling commodity prices, is rapidly gaining backing and growing in relevance, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“The world food insecurity situation is unbearable,” the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) affirmed in a press statement released after the leaders of the countries of the Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM), as well as President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, announced their support for a November parlay.

According to a recent FAO report, the total number of undernourished people in the world reached 963 million in 2008, nearly 15 per cent of the world's population, prompting the agency’s Director-General, Jacques Diouf, to call for the meeting.

The proposal, FAO said, had already received support from the heads of State and Government of the League of Arab States at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Kuwait last January.

It was also backed by the African Union (AU) at its assembly in Addis Ababa in early February, as well as by the heads of state and governments of several other States.

The FAO Director-General stressed that the Summit, to be held in Rome at the 36th Session of the Conference of the Organization, would reach tangible results by securing broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger and setting a new world food order.

"The Summit should lead to greater coherence in the global governance of world food security. It will define how we can improve policies and the structural aspects of the international agricultural system by putting forward lasting political, financial and technical solutions to the problem of food insecurity in the world," Mr. Diouf said.


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