UN agency lauds thinktank plan to revamp US policy on global food

The report, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, outlines a plan of action which it says any US administration could embrace on a bipartisan basis. It recommends a doubling of emergency assistance and making rural development and agricultural productivity new foreign policy priorities. “This challenge cannot be solved without US leadership. This study is a roadmap, a wake-up call,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said during the report’s presentation this week in Washington. Ms. Sheeran also highlighted the report’s call for a modernization of the global food aid system. Improving the “speed, agility, liquidity and flexibility” of that system was a challenge not only for the US but also for the world, she said.“Food security is so fundamental to human existence that it is not only a humanitarian issue but also perhaps the key security issue of our time.” With food prices expected to remain high, the UN has set up a task force, chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to promote a comprehensive solution to the global food crisis. Its action plan provides for long-term solutions, such as boosting agricultural production, but also short-term measures to meet the immediate needs of the hungry poor who have been most affected by high food prices. The WFP said that, according to most estimates, food prices will remain high at least until 2012. 31 July 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today praised a new report by a Washington-based think-tank which calls for the United States to take a fresh strategic approach to the global food crisis. read more

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