World Food Day: UN Officials Address Linkages between Hunger, Surging Food and Fuel Prices and Climate Change

World Food Day, 16 October 2008 16 October 2008: On World Food Day (WFD), the heads of UN agencies called attention to the ongoing crisis of hunger and its interrelations with climate change and rising fuel prices.

At a ceremony held at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf highlighted the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security, including on land and water availability, biodiversity and food productivity, as well as migration due to food scarcity or rising sea levels.

He noted that biofuel policies have created market distortions that are prejudicial to global food security, while underlining that bioenergy production can also provide opportunities to improve access to energy in poor countries. He further emphasized agriculture's potential for carbon sequestration through reduced tillage, biomass restoration and sound management of animal pasture, nutrition and animal waste. Outlining the Global Framework for Action developed by the Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, he called for increased political will and financial resources to enable the essential investments needed for sustainable agricultural development and food security. In his message on the occasion, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that this year's WFD coincides with the global financial turmoil that is exacerbating concerns about rising food and fuel costs. He explained that responses to addressing climate change and the global food crisis are interrelated and called for a global response and sustained attention for years to come. He urged governments, organizations and citizens to build on the momentum created by his High-Level Task Force by exploring WFD's theme of climate change and bioenergy in the context of global food security, and forging partnerships to meet all the Millennium Development Goals.

In her WFD message, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran stated that “rapidly rising food shortages, dramatic increases in fuel costs, and profound changes in climate conditions conspired this year to bring new dimensions of suffering and hardship to the poor.” She explained that on the Day, the WFP and its partners celebrate the generosity and goodwill of nations and individuals who have stepped forward to respond to the

unprecedented needs of the hungry. [UN press release] [FAO press release] [Jacques Diouf's statement] [Ban Ki-moon's message] [Josette Sheeran's message]