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UN Chief urges concerted efforts to defuse global food crisis

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on the international community to take “urgent and concerted action” to tackle the growing global food crisis.

“The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions,” Ban told international finance and trade officials attending an annual high-level meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The UN chief appealed for both immediate and long-term measures to tackle the growing global food crisis, warning that it could not only push millions of people deeper into poverty but also have larger political and security implications.

“We need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production,” he said.

“The international community will also need to take urgent and concerted action in order to avert the larger political and security implications of this growing crisis,” he said.

“The UN needs to examine ways to lead a process for the immediate and longer term responses to this global problem.”

Ban said the recent steep rise in food prices has already raised the cost of World Food Program’s needs to maintain its current operations from 500 million U.S. dollars to 755 million U. S. dollars.

He also cited World Bank President Robert Zoellick’s warning last week that the crisis could mean “seven lost years” in the fight against worldwide poverty.

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