Washington, November 11, 2010 —
International Christian humanitarian agency World Vision
is urging the G20 countries meeting in Seoul
to act swiftly to avoid a repeat of the global food crisis of 2008, which thrust an additional 100 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.
The world’s wealthiest governments must also follow through on the $22 billion in food security pledges made by G8 leaders at their 2009 summit in Italy, promises that appear to be falling behind, World Vision says. The U.S. government, under President Barack Obama, led this initiative with a $3.5 billion commitment to this total that has yet to be fully funded. That pledge is at risk unless the Administration can win Congressional appropriations for those resources.
“One billion people suffer from hunger today, and the danger signs of rising food prices tell us we can’t delay a response,” said Robert Zachritz, director of advocacy for World Vision in the U.S. “Despite the well-known consequences of the world food crisis in 2008, there is still a chronic lack of the funding and planning to ensure people worldwide have a sustainable food supply.”
“We are calling on the G20 governments meeting in Seoul – where development assistance will be discussed – to address the structural causes of food insecurity, including trade restrictions and inadequate levels of public investment in agricultural research and development.”
“The G20 must recognize the harmful impact that volatility in food prices can have on poor people who don’t have a secure source of food – before millions more are pushed toward starvation. Let’s not forget unstable currency markets also destabilize food prices. These leaders must commit to avert any new global food price crisis and ensure greater stability in global food markets, and to ensure food security assistance for the most vulnerable, in particular children under two, pregnant and lactating women and those living in extreme poverty.More on Food Security and the 2008 crisis:
- In mid-2008, the world food supply came under pressure from a variety of sources, including poor harvests, prolonged drought, high oil prices, increasing demand for food and subsidised ethanol programs
- Nearly a billion people remain hungry, even after the recent food and financial crises have largely passed
- That fact indicates deeper structural problems, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
- While the FAO doesn’t expect a repeat of the 2008 food crisis this year, the factors that caused this crisis are still in play. In recent months we have seen an increase in climate-related weather events that have impacted food supplies. The price of staple foods in many developing countries is also still very high. For example:
- In its May 2010 Food Price Watch, the World Bank noted that civil and military conflicts, poor rainfall and earthquakes have impacted on food prices and availability
- Thousands of acres of crops were also destroyed in the forest fires in Russia and the floods in Pakistan. These countries now have less to export and the shortage means prices have risen sharply.
- Between August and July this year wheat prices rose between 25 and 50 percent, highlighting how quickly the security of the world’s food supply can be changed
For more on World Vision’s policy calls for the G20 in Seoul, see http://www.worldvision.org/resources.nsf/main/press-image/$file/G20PolicyCalls.pdf About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. To learn more, visit www.worldvision.org