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UN's special session on food, energy crisis in July

With soaring food prices across the world pushing millions into hunger, the UN decides to hold a special session on July 18 to discuss food and energy crisis.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Un
UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2008 11:00 AM IST

With soaring food prices across the world pushing millions into hunger, the United Nations has decided to hold a special session on July 18 to discuss food and energy crisis.

The two crises are linked as, among the causes of rising prices, is the diversion of food crops for production of ethanol in an effort to cut down on consumption of oil.

The food crisis is "an immediate challenge with a practical inter-linkage with most of UN main priorities: the global food crisis has serious repercussions on reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and it has an impact on financing for development," UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim told reporters on Wednesday while informing about the meeting.

Referring to the expansion of the Security Council reform, Kerim conceded that sharp differences remain among the member States despite 14 years of discussions, pointing out that the only position on which all agree is that the current composition does not reflect the current realties.

Member States, he said, know quite well the various positions that had been put forward, including the option of an intermediary solution, which would entail agreeing on a set of reforms which would be reviewed after 10 or 15 years.

India and several other major member States are opposed to any intermediary solution which does not include expansion of the Council in permanent category. It provides for expansion of the number of non permanent members and a review the situation after 10 or 15 years.

Agreeing that that it is difficult to reach agreement for negotiations on the basis of intermediary solution, Kerim said: "Under these circumstances, the only way one can imagine is to open negotiations based on all positions expressed so far and to conduct them in various configurations."

Kerim identified climate change, reform of the United Nations Security Council and the global food crisis as the subjects on top of the UN agenda.

"Climate change poses special threats and places extra demands on a considerable group of countries. For them the threat is far from abstract and remote, but clear and present and may already be affecting the actual livelihoods of their people," he commented.

Commenting on the outcome of the Group of Eight (G-8) meeting in Japan, he said that the summit had highlighted the fact that certain countries are especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The President said he had proposed having an annual review meeting on the MDGs until 2015 and he is preparing for a meeting attended by world leaders during September.

Turning to UN management reform, Kerim called for a unified budget for the whole Organization, saying that it would allow for more transparency, control and efficiency.

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