UN chief warns of rising hunger

The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, warned rich nations that they have to do more to prevent the global economic crisis from increasing the number of hungry people in the world, Reuters reported. Nearly one billion people are believed to be under-nourished.


"Continuing hunger is a deep stain on our world. The time has come to remove it forever," Ban said on Tuesday, at the close of the two-day High Level Meeting on Food Security for All, held in Madrid. "We have the wealth and know-how to do so."


While food prices had come down for now, Ban said, the number of hungry people was set to rise again. "We worked hard to bring food assistance to those who needed it in 2008," he said. "I expect we will need to work harder in 2009, this year of recession."


The Madrid meeting was sponsored by the United Nations and other international organisations, including the World Bank. It followed a 2008 summit in Rome at which donors pledged US$22 billion in agriculture and food aid. Little of the promised funds have been disbursed, according to aid groups.


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says that an annual US$30 billion investment in infrastructure and agricultural production could eliminate the root causes of hunger by 2025.


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