VIENNA (AFP) — United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for immediate concerted action on Friday to resolve the global food crisis.
"The steeply rising price of food has developed into a real global crisis," Ban told journalists at a news conference held at the UN's Vienna headquarters, where the leader was inaugurating a new building.
"The United Nations is very much concerned, as all other members of the international community are. We must take immediate action in a concerted way throughout the international community."
Rising populations, strong demand from developing countries, increased cultivation of crops for biofuels and increasing floods and droughts have sent food prices soaring across the globe.
Ban estimated that around 100 million of the world's poorest who previously did not require help now can also not afford to buy food.
"In the short term, we must address all the humanitarian crises which have been impacting poorest of poor pople in the world," he said.
The UN World Food Programme had made an urgent appeal for additional 755 million dollars (485 million euros) to fill the gap.
But in the medium to longer term, "the international community and its leaders in particular should sit down together on an urgent basis and address how we can first of all improve the economic system, the distribution systems, as well as how we can promote new production of agricultural products".
Ban will host a meeting of key agencies next week in the Swiss capital Bern to discuss the growing global food crisis.
"The global food crisis and the solutions that the UN can bring to it will be at the centre of the discussions" which will take place behind closed doors on Monday and Tuesday at the offices of the Universal Postal Union, UN spokeswoman Elena Ponomareva told journalists.
Ban will be joined by the head of the World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, as well as World Bank head Robert Zoellick and the director of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation Jacques Diouf.
He will also meet Swiss President Pascal Couchepin and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey in the evening, before travelling to Geneva on Tuesday to give a lecture at UN headquarters there on the Millennium Development Goals.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »