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UN plans task force to fight global food crisis

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced he was forming a UN task force on the food crisis, bringing together heads of UN agencies to provide a coordinated response on the issue.

world Updated: Apr 30, 2008 02:34 IST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Tuesday he was forming a UN task force on the food crisis, bringing together heads of UN agencies to provide a coordinated response on the issue.

Ban announced the move after a meeting in Berne, Switzerland, with 27 key international agencies to hammer out a battle plan of emergency measures, while exploring other longer-term measures to solve the global food crisis.

He said an immediate priority would be to “feed the hungry”, urging countries to “urgently and fully” fund the World Food Programme.

Some $755 million extra is needed by the programme due to the sharp jump in prices.

World Food Programme head Josette Sheeran said: “We have pledges of $471 million, but only 18 million is cash in hand. We can’t procure food until we have cash in hand. So we’re in a really urgent timeframe to getting a commitment as soon as possible.”

Ban also cited as another urgent priority support for farmers so as to “ensure food for tomorrow”.

But in the long-term, he acknowledged that there is an “urgent necessity to address structural and policy issues that have contributed to this crisis as well as the challenge posed by climate change”.

“In order to take this forward we have agreed to establish a UN task force on global food crisis that I will chair and will bring together heads of specialised agencies and... institutions into effective and coordinated mechanisms,” he said.