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FAO and World Leaders Gear Up for High-level Conference on World Food Security

Fao_229 April 2008: “Soaring food prices in recent months are dramatically worsening the living conditions of the ‘bottom billion' of poor people who live on a dollar a day or less,” said Jaques Diouf, FAO Director General, in a statement announcing preparations for the FAO's “High-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy,” to be held 3-5 June 2008 at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.

High food prices could compromise efforts to achieve the first of the Millennium Development Goals, to reduce by half extreme poverty and hunger in the world by 2015. The challenge is to “boost agriculture in developing countries in a sustainable way,” Diouf said, calling on heads of state and government to seize the opportunity of the FAO summit to address the current grave situation and to “re-launch agriculture now.”

Earlier in the week, the conference preparations received a “major boost” when Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced during an FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean that he would participate in the summit “with the intention of entering the debate with all the seriousness that it requires.”

In preparation for the summit, the FAO has organized a series of expert meetings on climate, energy and food to examine opportunities and constraints for agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, including cross-sectoral linkages between food security, rural development and the environment, as well as related key areas for research, capacity building, policy making and regulatory frameworks. Each meeting has prepared a report on the state-of-the-art and options for decision-makers to inform the discussions during the High-level Conference.

FAO press release 29 April: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000832/index.html

Jaques Diouf's statement: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/common/ecg/1000832/en/DGoped-soaringprices.doc

Lula's statment: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/common/ecg/1000831/en/Lula-speech.doc

Website of the High-level level Conference: http://www.fao.org/foodclimate/

Expert meeting reports: http://www.fao.org/foodclimate/expert.html