Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, highlighted the “rapidly deteriorating” situation there resulting from drought and high food prices, Agence France-Presse reports.
Food Security and Nutrition
Guatemala’s “vast inequality” helped it land “on the list of eight ‘plus’ countries in the Global Health Initiative (GHI) that President Barack Obama is focusing on as part of his expansion and revision of how the U.S. is funding and rethinking global aid,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports in an article examining malnutrition in Guatemala, the wealthiest of nations in the first round of GHI plus countries.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday in Rome announced the eradication of the cattle disease rinderpest, “the only other disease besides smallpox to achieve the gone-for-good status,” HealthKey/Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports (Cevallos, 6/28).
“The G20 agriculture ministers seem to agree: they’re all for food security, as long as it doesn’t cost anything,” according to a post on the Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog.” The authors conclude: “Perhaps the heads of state meeting at a November Summit, to whom the G20 ministers’ recommendations will be submitted, will find the political will to take bolder action. Unless they do, this agriculture summit will be an example of ‘a lot of hooey, but little dooey'” (Elliott/Veillette, 6/27).
North Korea has significantly cut public food aid and could be heading toward a hunger crisis, said Katharina Zellweger, head of a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s office in Pyongyang and “one of the most experience aid workers” in the country, according to Agence France-Presse.
More than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa “are affected by the drought in one way or other,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports.
New FAO Director General Says He Wants To Help Food Importing Developing Countries Address High Food Prices
In a news conference on Monday, Jose Graziano da Silva, the newly elected head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said he wants to do more to help poor countries deal with volatile food prices, Reuters reports.
A new GAO report (.pdf) examines international food aid. “GAO recommends that Congress consider eliminating the 3-year waiting period for foreign vessels that acquire U.S.-flag registry to be eligible to transport U.S. food aid. Further, the USAID Administrator and the Secretary of Agriculture should develop a benchmark for ‘reasonable market price’ for food aid sales; monitor these sales; improve market assessments and coordinate efforts; and conduct postmarket impact evaluations,” according to a summary of the report (6/23).
Global food insecurity that has left almost one billion people hungry could become a “permanent disaster” and endanger millions of lives, former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan said, Bloomberg reports (Javier, 6/27).
“Brazil’s one-time food security minister, Jose Graziano da Silva, was elected Sunday director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. agency tasked with reducing world hunger at a time of near-record high food prices,” the Associated Press reports (Winfield, 6/26).