food-aid-un.jpgThe annual G8 meeting, which wrapped up last week, has  yielded pledges of $20 billion over three years to feed the hungry and mobilize a comprehensive strategy focused on sustainable agriculture development that would ensure global food security.

By helping the world’s hungry, who now number one billion, the international community can also secure a more peaceful and stable future for all, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations Friday in L’Aquila, Italy.

Addressing the summit’s session of food security, Mr. Ban said that last year’s major spike in food and energy prices affected hundreds of millions of people.

“It amplified suffering, hardship and political unrest. We lost ground in our race to reach the first Millennium Development Goal,” he stated, referring to the globally agreed target of halving poverty by 2015.

While global food prices have come down, they are still high in many developing countries. and governments, agencies, civil society groups responded by joining forces to feed the hungry.

“We need to do more, faster. The food crisis is permanently harming millions of children. They need our help. This is about even more than alleviating human suffering; it is about global peace and stability.”

UN agencies are welcoming the G8’s food security initiative, with the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) saying it signals an “encouraging shift of policy” in favour of helping the poor and hungry to produce their own food.

Director-General Jacques Diouf voiced confidence that G8 leaders will translate their pledge into concrete action. “I am convinced that you will ‘walk the talk’ not only for natural ethical considerations but also for sound economic reasons and, last but not least, to ensure peace and security in the world,” he told the summit.

swazilandchild.jpgIn addition, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze, noted that the G8 leaders had recognized that food security has two dimensions: food aid for critical situations and sustained investment in agriculture to break the poverty cycle. Investing in smallholder agriculture is the corner stone of this new push for development because it is the key to boosting economic growth and reducing poverty, he added. (UN News)

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