Global financial crisis may add to miseries of poor: UN

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) U N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today said this year's World Food Day came when global financial turmoil was exacerbating concerns about rising food and fuel costs, which have already driven 75 million people deeper into the abyss of hunger and poverty.

In his message on the World Food Day tomorrow, he said this colossal human tragedy is unfolding as we fight to keep the promise made in the first Millennium Development Goal -- ''To reduce hunger and poverty by half by the year 2015''.

The situation would be alarming enough if it were confined to a matter of hunger, but a widespread lack of food triggers other threats, like social unrest, environmental degradation, while undermining the well-being of an entire generation on whom the world will depend in the future, he said.

At the same time, the effects of climate change, including increased exposure to drought, more erratic rainfall and extreme weather conditions, threatened to confront millions more with malnutrition and water shortage. Energy cost is also rising and the prices of food have doubled in the past year alone, he said adding that an additional 100 million people could be pushed into hunger and poverty.

''These critical challenges -- addressing climate change, and responding to the global food and energy crisis -- are interrelated and global in nature. And so they require a global response. These crises are not short term, and will, therefore, require the sustained attention of Governments, donors, international and regional organisations, civil society an the private sector for years to come, the UN chief said.

Aware of the magnitude and complexities of this problem, the United Nations has set up a high level task force on the Global Food Security Crisis which put together a Comprehensive Framework for Action to prepare a way forward for governments, the donor community, civil society and the private sector, he added.

World Food Day is an opportunity to build on this momentum by exploring its theme of climate change and bio-energy in the context of global food security.

''These are life-and-death matters that we must confront with serious though and resolute action,'' he said.

''On this World Food Day I urge Governments, organisations and citizens to forge meaningful partnerships to overcome these challenges so that we can meet all our Millennium Development Goals and ultimately usher in a world free of hunger and poverty.'' he added.

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