A United Nations conference on rising food prices and growing food insecurity couldn’t come at a better time to re-energize and refocus international efforts to fight global hunger.
Ballooning food costs, matched by rising energy prices, have sparked food shortages and unrest in a number of nations. Unless they are addressed, U.N officials warn that widespread "undernourishment" will result in many of the world’s poorer countries. They identified at least 22 nations most at risk, 18 of them in Africa.
Food security is an international issue requiring an international response. Toward this end, the United States is coordinating closely with the U.N., the G8, World Bank and other international partners.
Indeed, the U.S. already has acted to address the rise in global food prices. It is on track to provide nearly $5 billion to fight global hunger this year and next. From 2001-2006, approximately 50 percent of total world food aid came from the U.S.
It’s too much to expect a one-time gathering of nations will solve all of the world’s food problems. Factors that are driving rising food costs -- such as increased world demand, high energy costs and crop-withering drought in some regions – defy quick fixes. Nevertheless, the summit will provide an important forum to bring world leaders together discuss the problem, make decisions and agree on strategies for dealing with the short- and long-term consequences of high food prices.
The U.S. is strongly committed to leading the fight against world hunger now and for years to come.