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G8: WFP Calls For Urgent Action On Global Hunger

WFP statement

ROME – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, has urged G8 Development Ministers meeting today in Italy, to remember the needs of the world’s hungriest people and continue to support WFP, which depends entirely on voluntary donations.

“We must not forget the urgent hunger needs around the world, or cut back on support for hungry people.  The world’s most vulnerable are being hit by the combined effects of the global financial downturn and stubbornly high food prices in many developing world markets.  Hunger can lead to dangerous destabilisation, and impact global peace and security.”

“With one in six people going hungry, one child dying every six seconds, and 80 per cent of Sub-Saharan African countries facing higher food prices than a year ago, the poor and the hungry are facing one of the biggest crises in our lifetimes.  It is critical for the world to remember that hunger will have a permanent impact on children and we may lose a generation unless they have adequate access to nutrition during this crisis.”

“We support the efforts of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to double global food production by 2050.  At the same time we must remember, as the Nobel laureate and eminent economist, Amartya Sen has said, famine is an issue of food access for individuals.  Without food, people revolt, migrate, or die.  None of these are acceptable options.”

“After the Great Depression, the world created institutions, including World Food Programme, which should expand – not contract – when times are bad.  Global food aid is at a 20 year low and we must meet urgent needs to avoid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.    At this moment of dramatically growing need, it would be wrong to cut our funding. We have proven our ability to scale up when the world calls on us and equips us with the means to do so.  We have also shown that we can do this in a way that supports recipient nations’ own long term development strategies to tackle hunger.”