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UN Chief Says Global Food Crisis Needs Quick Response


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that dealing with the current global food crisis is a fight the international community cannot afford to lose. The U.N. chief is attending a world food security summit at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. For VOA, Sabina Castelfranco reports.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the international community to move ahead collectively and with a sense of urgency to combat world hunger and promote global good security.

"This is a fight we cannot afford to lose," Mr. Ban said. "The enemy is hunger. Hunger degrades everything we have been fighting for in recent years and decades. Recent riots and protests show that hunger and the threat of hunger breed unrest and instability. We are duty bound to act, to act now, and to act as one."

Ban Ki-Moon said $15 to $20 billion is needed each year to boost food production to combat hunger. He added that most of that money would have to come from concerned countries.

The U.N. chief is attending a world food security summit in Rome hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Over 4,000 representatives from more than 180 countries are attending the summit.

Delegates at the summit in Rome have been divided over the role bio-fuels is playing in driving up food prices to the point of provoking riots in some countries.

"I think that there is an urgent need to establish a greater degree of international consensus and agreed policy guidelines on bio-fuel production, which take full account of food security, income and energy needs at all levels of our countries," Mr. Ban said.

Meanwhile, the head of the U.N.'s World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, said an extra $1.2 billion in donated funds will provide food for 75 million people going hungry because of soaring food prices. Sheeran, who is also attending the Rome summit, said many people in poor countries simply cannot buy the food available in markets.