UN chief calls for global climate deal to ensure food security

20:53, November 16, 2009      

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for a global deal on climate change during a three-day summit on food security held here at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters.

There could be no food security without climate security, the UN chief said at the summit, where more than 60 heads of state are gathering to discuss measures to eradicate famine and solve the ongoing food crisis.

He urged the world leaders to take concrete measures to eradicate world famine and forge a deal at a Copenhagen meeting next month on global warming.

The plight of the hungry must be ended at once, he said, pointing out that there are more than 1 billion undernourished people in the world, with 6 million children dying every year.

"Food is a basic right and nutritional security is the foundation of a decent life, sound education" and social and political stability, he said.

Ban joined a 24-hour fast on Sunday to show solidarity with the hungry, following the example of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. He stressed the fact that "going without food is a daily reality" for many around the world.

Opening the summit, Ban urged the international community to halt the "chain reaction" that sees high food prices leading to social unrest.

"The food crisis of today is a wake-up call for tomorrow," he warned, adding that the situation will be made more critical in the future because there are multiple challenges humanity must face.

A rise in world population, which will reach 9.2 billion people by 2050, and the negative effects of global warming will dramatically increase food shortage, he said.

This is why food production must increase 70 percent in the short run, Ban said.

Access to natural resources should be enhanced, especially through supporting small farmers who are the backbone of agriculture, he said.

Ban said food security and climate change were deeply interconnected, forming a double challenge that, however, needs a one-solution approach.

He called for a revolutionary strategy that might "transform agricultural development, markets and how food is distributed."

Recognizing that world nations put food security on the global agenda at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in July, Ban called for the mobilization of more resources and stronger public-private partnerships in order to boost investment in agriculture.

It is solely through an increase in funding of "sustainable food systems" that "shocks such as an economic crisis or climate change" can be handled, he said.

Source: Xinhua
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