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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid