News / Africa

UN World Food Security Committee Meets in Rome

Severely malnourished child from southern Somalia is being held in a makeshift shelter in a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia (File Photo - Sept. 20, 2011).
Severely malnourished child from southern Somalia is being held in a makeshift shelter in a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia (File Photo - Sept. 20, 2011).
Joe DeCapua

The U.N. Committee on World Food Security opened its new session in Rome Monday. The meeting follows Sunday’s observance of World Food Day with the theme: Food Prices – from Crisis to Stability.

Actor Jeremy Lyons – the new goodwill ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization – addressed the Rome meeting.

“In our world, billions of dollars are spent on aid and investment. Billions of words are spoken, written, promising change and a billion people still go hungry every day. Now as a citizen of the world, I find myself asking: why is this?”

Lyons questioned whether it’s a matter of money or the way aid money is spent. He says he wonders whether a whole new approach to combating hunger is needed.

“Now we need to answer these questions urgently because what we do know is that the gap between those who have and those who have not is widening every year,” he said.

Weapon of mass destruction

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said his agency predicts food price volatility will continue for the foreseeable future.

“The impact of food price volatility falls heaviest on the poorest, especially the urban poor and the landless, who may spend as much as 75 percent of their income on food,” he said.

Food price volatility is blamed in part on growing demand.

Diouf said, “High rates of economic growth in emerging economies have boosted commodity demand. There has also been increasing demand for some agricultural products as feed stock for biofuel production, which has expanded significantly as a result of subsidies and mandates.”

Meanwhile, World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran called for the political will to end hunger.

“Hunger is a weapon of mass destruction – the deadliest we know. We need leaders who will tackle hunger and stand with life,” she said.

Sheeran said safety nets that were in place in the Horn of Africa mitigated the effects of the long drought and protected millions of lives. But she says much more could have been done.

Kanayo Nwanze, head of IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, agreed.

“Still the fact remains people have died. Children are malnourished. People are suffering. This was a crisis that need not have happened. But it did happen. And unfortunately, it may happen again,” he said.

FAO chief Diouf said greater investment in agriculture can help ensure food security and fight poverty.

“The time has come to take action and implement policies that will enable all farmers of the world in developing and developed countries alike to face equitable conditions through mechanisms that do not distort markets and consequently be able to earn an income suitable for a dignified life,” he said.

The demand for food is only expected to grow, with a world population of nine billion predicted by 2050. The U.N. Committee on World Food Security includes U.N. agencies, NGOs, civil society, financial and trade institutions and others.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs