News / Europe

    UN: Food Prices Deepening Global Poverty

    United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L), and Secretary-General of the conference Cheick Sidi Diarra, attend a news conference during the 4th U.N. Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011
    United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L), and Secretary-General of the conference Cheick Sidi Diarra, attend a news conference during the 4th U.N. Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011

    Since the first meeting of this every 10-year event in 1971, the number of least-developed countries has increased, and U.N. officials say the population of the world's 48 poorest nations is expected to double to 1.7 billion by 2050.

    Addressing this year's conference in Istanbul, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says more strain is being placed on essential services, such as food availability.

    "Global food prices are at record new levels. [Least Developed Countries] face a real prospect of a new crisis [in] food and nutrition security," said the U.N. secretary-general. "In many LDC's [people] spend more than half of their incomes on food."

    World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says the European Union can play a key role in helping food markets work better.

    "We really need to watch that this food crisis does not turn into a sort of global crisis. Often in the world it is not that there is [not] enough food, we just do not have enough information on the where there is food at any one time, so that we can distribute it from food surplus to food deficit areas," said Okonjo-Iweala. "And we need to invest in safety nets to cushion the most vulnerable, those who do not have access to land, so there is plenty of scope for the European Union."

    Speculation in the international commodity market also is cited by many as contributing to high food prices.  

    France is the current chair of the G20 organization of leading economies, and French Development Minister Henri de Raincourt says bringing commodity speculators under control is a key priority.

    He says market volatility is one of the most important issues at this time, and France plans to seek a concrete means of stabilizing prices and raising production levels when it hosts the G20 summit in November in Cannes.

    How France proposes to curtail commodity speculation remains unclear, but critics say controlling the world markets is difficult and can make matters worse.

    Okonjo-Iweala says speculation is more a symptom than a cause.

    "The demand for food is going up, because world population is going up, and also the quality of the demand is shifting because in terms of fact people are demanding more meat and dairy products, which again requires more feed," said Okonjo-Iweala. "There is also the demand for biofuels which fits into it. So if you put all this together, speculation is part of that basket. But there are some longer-term trends we need to watch."

    But Raincourt warns rising food prices could soon become not only an economic crisis for the poor, but a crisis for Europe.

    He says, "We have already seen food riots in Africa, but this is nothing to what is coming."

    Raincourt says some people will leave their countries and migrate to Europe, putting more pressure on its borders, and becoming a humanitarian, social, economic and global security crisis.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora