photo by Filipe Moreira via flickr
The Guardian, Monday April 21 2008
The UN secretary general issued a gloomy warning yesterday that the deepening global food crisis, in which rapidly rising prices have triggered riots and threatened hunger in dozens of countries, could have grave implications for international security, economic growth and social progress.
Ban Ki-moon told a trade and development conference in Accra, Ghana, that the surge in prices of basic foodstuffs like cereals since last year could cancel out progress made towards meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goal of halving world poverty by 2015.
“If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others … and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world,” Ban told the conference.
The World Bank estimates food prices have risen by an average of 83% in the past three years, and warns that at least 100 million people could be tipped into poverty as a result. A range of factors has been blamed, including poor harvests, partly due to climate change, rising oil prices, steep growth in demand from China and India, and the dash to produce biofuels for motoring at the expense of food crops.
“One thing is certain,” Ban said. “The world has consumed more than it has produced” over the last three years.