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World Food Day: Leaders Urge Tackling the Roots of Interrelated Challenges of Food and Energy Security, and Climate Change

Former US President Bill Clinton and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2nd right) 24 October 2008: During the World Food Day observance at UN Headquarters in New York, US, celebrated on 23 October, the heads of the UN, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Clinton Global Initiative called for tackling the roots of the interrelated challenges of food security, high energy prices and climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this year's World Food Day comes at a time of crisis and expressed concern that not enough is being done to help “the poorest of the poor,” as the international community has focused on the global financial turmoil. He urged governments to build on the momentum generated by recent high level events and initiatives. Former US President Bill Clinton, head of the Clinton Global Initiative, urged the international community to stop using the global financial crisis “as an excuse” to avoid dealing with escalating hunger and energy

prices. He proposed returning to a policy of “maximum agricultural self-sufficiency,” and called for an increase in fair-trade provisions, direct marketing schemes and other policies designed to level the playing field between agricultural producers in developed countries and small farmers in developing countries. Responding to Clinton's suggestions, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf stressed the need for “new international relations” that would guarantee adequate incomes for farmers of developed countries, without penalizing the farmers of developing countries. He proposed a World Summit on Food Security to be held during the first half of 2009, to reach consensus to eradicate hunger from the world. [Ban Ki-moon's Statement] [Jacques Diouf's Statement] [UN Press Release] [FAO Press Release]