Now before you all say "Crone, you're acting like Chicken Little again", read this; http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,23542114-948,00.html
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned of political upheaval and security risks if
the world doesn't act quickly on a global food emergency.
Ban Ki-moon today appealed for emergency and long-term action to tackle
the growing global food crisis, warning that it could trigger political
upheavals and security risks. "The rapidly escalating crisis of food
availability around the world has reached emergency proportions," he told a
joint meeting of key UN financial, economic and trade institutions.
Food security has become a major concern in recent weeks as supplies of
basic commodities have dwindled in the face of soaring demand, triggering riots
and outbreaks of violence from Haiti to Indonesia. Mr Ban's appeal echoed World
Bank president Robert Zoellick's warning yesterday that a doubling of food
prices over the past three years could push 100 million people in developing
countries further into poverty and called on governments to tackle the issue.
He said the food crisis "could mean seven lost years in the fight against
"We need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical
needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a
significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production," Mr Ban
told the meeting.
The gathering brought together the UN Economic and Social Council, the
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and
the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
"The international community will also need to take urgent and
concerted action in order to avert the larger political and security
implications of this growing crisis," the secretary-general said. The UN must
examine ways "to lead a process for the immediate and longer-term responses to
this global problem".
Mr Ban urged consensus on steps to boost development financing that would
lead to more stable and predictable long-term resource flows to developing
countries. And he called for stepped-up investment and technology transfer from
donors to help the least developed countries broaden their exports through
diversification and economic capacity-building.
Noting that climate change also threatens long-term global economic growth
and sustainable development, he said: "Developing countries need external
assistance - especially better technology and increased financing - to rise to
Sobering reading, hey.