The CFS is the United Nations' forum for reviewing policies concerning world food. It is the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition.
World agricultural exports have nearly tripled in 20 years, and more recently Belarus, Chile, China, India, Ukraine and the US have broken into the top exporters’ lists for some specific products, the Agriculture Committee learnt on 19 November 2009.
But WTO members also heard warnings from international organizations that despite some easing in international food prices, hunger remains a problem for over a billion people in developing countries — “people eat less and eat less well,” as one put it.
The committee also continued to look at how to improve sharing information under an evolving work plan on improving notification and access to notified information, which developed from members’ replies to a questionnaire and began to take shape in the committee’s March meeting.
20 November 2009 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Libya have agreed on a $71 million programme to boost cooperation over the next five years to strengthen food security and sustainable development in the country.
“FAO is proud to become Libya’s counterpart in implementing a number of strategic projects that will contribute to national sustainable agricultural development,” said Director-General Jacques Diouf.
As part of the agreement signed in Rome today, FAO will provide technical assistance and support for 18 projects covering a range of areas, including pesticides management and the protection of natural resources, the development of seeds, the prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases, and sustainable water resource management.
19 November 2009 – Despite considerable progress over the past 20 years in improving the lot of the world’s children, including a 28 per cent drop in annual mortality of those under five from 12.5 million to an estimated 8.8 million, their rights are still far from assured, according to a new United Nations report issued today.
“It is unacceptable that children are still dying from preventable causes, like pneumonia, malaria, measles and malnutrition,” UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in releasing the annual State of the World's Children report.
The special edition of UNICEF’s flagship report comes on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly.
19 November 2009 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received a boost today for its emergency relief efforts feeding millions of hungry people in the Horn of Africa, with the announcement of a $112 million donation from Spain.
“This extraordinary contribution brings hope and help to the 20 million most vulnerable people that we are committed to assisting in the Horn of Africa,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
WFP has scaled up aid efforts to people living in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia who have been struck hard by prolonged drought, recurring conflict, stubborn high food prices and the global financial crisis.
19 November 2009 – Nine million more people in Latin America will fall into poverty this year due to the global economic crisis, bringing the total number of poor in the region to 189 million, or 34 per cent of the population, according to a United Nations report released today.
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which produced the report, stated that the new estimates depart from the trend towards poverty reduction that was prevalent in the region thanks to greater economic growth, the expansion of social spending and better income distribution.
“We can’t say that all that was attained between 2002 and 2008 has been lost,” said ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, as she presented the report, Social Panorama of Latin America 2009.
19 November 2009 – United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners are assisting hundreds of thousands of civilians uprooted by the latest military operations in Pakistan which intensified nearly three weeks ago.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 400,000 people have fled the clashes between Government forces and militants in South Waziristan to seek safety in two neighbouring districts.
Of the total registered, approximately 300,000 people have fled the area since mid-October, and most of these are poor people who desperately need humanitarian assistance.
Despite the insecurity, OCHA said humanitarian actors on the ground are working to provide the internally displaced persons (IDPs) with assistance.
18 November 2009 – The 2009 harvest in Tajikistan is exceptionally good, but access to food remains difficult for vulnerable families in the Central Asian nation, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
The agency, in its October crop and food security assessment report, noted that the wheat crop is at a record high of 829,000 tonnes, one quarter more than last year, and yields of potatoes and other staple crops have substantially increased this season.
Timely and well-distributed rainfall, improved seeds, and wider use of fertilizer all contributed to this improvement, said the Rome-based agency.
18 November 2009 – The three-day United Nations summit on world food security wrapped up in Rome today with its host lamenting that it produced neither measurable targets nor specific deadlines for ending a scourge that afflicts more than 1 billion people around the planet.
On its first day, the summit unanimously adopted a declaration renewing a commitment to eradicate hunger sustainably and at the earliest date. Yet during the three days of talks 51,000 more children are estimated to have died of hunger – one every five seconds, 6 million a year – even though, in the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the world has more than enough food for all.
Price fluctuations are a normal feature of agricultural commodity markets. Nevertheless, the international food price spike in 2007-2008 generated concerns regarding the potential implications on poverty reduction and other issues. What is the role of the multilateral trading system on world food prices? Professor Scott Irwin, from the University of Illinois, and Dr. David Nabarro, Coordinator of the UN high Level Task Force on the food crisis, discuss this topic with Keith Rockwell, WTO Spokesperson. You can also make your views known in the online forum below.
This debate was recorded on the sidelines of the WTO Public Forum 2009.
16 November 2009 – A three-day United Nations summit on world food security opened in Rome today, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warning that on this day alone more than 17,000 children will die of hunger – one every five seconds, 6 million a year – even as the planet has more than enough food for all.
“Today, more than one billion people are hungry,” he told the assembled leaders, calling for immediate action on long-term remedies, a day after he himself fasted for 24 hours in solidarity with all those billion. “It was not easy. But, for too many people, it is a daily reality.”