UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that he will focus his attention on raising the issue of food security at the G8 summit of major industrialized nations in Japan early next month, as well as the challenges of climate change and the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Chairing the third session of the High Level Global Task Force on the world's food crisis, Ban said the international community needed to build on the momentum generated by the High Level Conference on Food Security held in Rome earlier this month.
The secretary-general stressed the need for the task force - which brings together the heads of key UN agencies, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - to engage all necessary stakeholders, including states, civil society organizations and the private sector.
Upcoming meetings at the General Assembly would also be critical occasions to build on the foundations built in Rome to confront global challenges effectively and in a coherent way, he said.
The task force coordinator, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, updated members on the action plan to tackle immediate and longer-term needs, including the structural factors underlying the current food price hikes.
Among the immediate measures proposed in the plan are increasing nutritional and other feeding programs, as well as supplying fertilizers, seeds, animal feed and veterinary services to help smallholder farmers in the current planting season.
The plan also calls for a reduction in export bans on food commodities, and focuses on the need for much greater investment in agricultural production in the longer term.
The task force agreed that an updated version of the plan would be completed by the end of the month in time for the G8 summit.