Today, the world is witnessing escalating social tension in many countries across the globe as a result of the sharp rise in the price of basic food. This development has the potential to dramatically increase the numbers of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition and to undermine the recent progress made in reducing poverty and hunger. In response to growing calls for immediate action to be taken, the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Léo Mérorès convened a Special Meeting of ECOSOC on Global Food Crisis on 20-22 May 2008 at United Nations Headquarters in New York .
At the 2005 World Summit, Member States called on ECOSOC to respond better and more rapidly to developments in the international economic, environmental and social fields, as well as to support and complement international efforts aimed at addressing humanitarian emergencies. As part of ECOSOC's renewed efforts to be more proactive in forging more coherent responses to emergencies, the Special Meeting looked at the emerging threat posed by the global food crisis and its impact on food security for the poor and the most vulnerable.
The objectives of the meeting were to:
- Identify short-term emergency measures that can be taken at national and international levels to feed the hungry and to bring prices down while strengthening household food security via targeted safety nets.
- Enhance regional and international cooperation to address both the causes and the consequences of high food prices and to work towards greater price stability.
- Identify a strong coordinated and coherent approach both by the UN system and between the UN system and the broader international community.