ECOSOC Highlights Interlinkages between Food and Energy Crises
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17 July 2008: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) concluded its three-day Humanitarian Affairs Segment by convening a panel discussion on “Humanitarian challenges related to global food aid, including enhancing international efforts and cooperation in this field,” chaired by Council Vice-President Park In-kook (Republic of Korea) and moderated by John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian […]

Current Global Food Crisis Will Require Increasing Amounts of Humanitarian Assistance for Some Time to Come, Economic and Social Council Told 17 July 2008: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) concluded
its three-day Humanitarian Affairs Segment by convening a panel discussion on “Humanitarian
challenges related to global food aid, including enhancing international
efforts and cooperation in this field,” chaired by
Council Vice-President Park In-kook (Republic of Korea) and moderated by John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

Opening the discussion, Park said the surge in food
and fuel prices had lead to the most acute global food security crisis of the
past few decades. John M. Powell, Deputy Executive Director, World Food
Programme (WFP), called for new tools to respond to the unprecedented needs
created by the combination of the global food and fuel crises with natural and
man-made disasters. Jim Butler, Deputy Director-General, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the UN, underscored the importance of the impact of escalating
transportation and agricultural production costs on food prices. Louise Cord,
Sector Manager, Poverty Reduction Group, World Bank, stressed
the need for an integrated response to the food crisis that factored in rising
oil prices and an assessment of the policy framework for biofuel production in
developed and developing countries. Jama Gulaid,
Representative of the UN Children’s Fund in Swaziland, called for a new paradigm
to assess the intensifying effect of slow-onset crises such as the HIV and AIDS
epidemic, climate change and escalating food prices. During the ensuing discussion, ECOSOC members and other participants
addressed, inter alia: the need to
increase the capacities of developing countries to produce and purchase more
food; the depletion of worldwide fish stocks; ways of tackling the social
unrest sparked by the food and fuel crises; the need to increase investment in
agriculture; and capacity-building among small farmers. [UN press release, 17 July 2008]

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