The on-going food crisis is the subject
of a high-level summit being held Monday and Tuesday in Madrid, with representatives
from 95 countries attending the UN sponsored event.
food crisis – which began last year with soaring prices and food shortages –
continues in many countries. However, it’s been overshadowed in recent months
by the global economic crisis. The latest estimates say there are about 963-million
hungry people in the world.
Wijeratna, of the anti-poverty group ActionAid, is attending the summit
and explained the purpose of this week’s meeting.
to launch something called a global partnership for food and agriculture, which
is trying to re-galvanize the international community to really come together and
have a new…compact, essentially, to tackle the endemic global food and hunger
crisis,” he says.
says that it’s time for the international community to pull “their boot straps
up, come together, coordinate much more closely and cough up more money and
Madrid meeting is a follow-up to the emergency UN summit held in Rome last June.
“It’s taking stock of what has happened since that last June meeting…and then
saying, ok, now, people are recommitted, but we need better structures and
better ways of organizing ourselves to really get on top of this food and
hunger crisis,” he says.
says that short, medium and long term plans are need to deal with the crisis
and that local communities must be involved in the planning process. “The food
system is not feeding poor people on the scale that we need,’ he says.
Rome, donors pledged about $20 billion to deal with the food crisis, but little
of that money has actually been given.
were some big pledges, but they haven’t trickled through. There does seem to be
a recommitment from governments to find the money. We have to keep on putting
more pressure on to hold them to their commitment… But it’s not just about the
money. It’s the way things are organized… The head of the FAO today has said
things could get worse and we could see more trouble in food markets,” he says.
agrees with UN estimates that about $30 billion a year is need to improve
agriculture and address the food crisis.
Obama administration is pledging its support through a videotaped message from Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton that was aired at the Madrid summit Monday.
“She was saying President Obama has
prioritized the global food and food insecurity issue as a top priority for the
new administration. This is a very, very big signal and it’s great that it’s
been said publically…to get farms that are flourishing and water for all. So
the commitment seems to be there. We’ve got Hillary Clinton saying that to all
the delegates here…and shows a re-engagement, a re-commitment from the US into
these very, very important issues,” he says.