Ban says G8 faces food crisis, climate change and development woes
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he will impress on the G8 leaders to act on decisions reached in the Rome conference to alleviate the mounting high food prices around the world.
Ban, who will attend the July 7-9 summit of the world's most industrialized nations in Hokkaido, Japan, said the food crisis, climate change and economic development, particularly in Africa, are the three issues that need urgent solutions, the dpa reported.
"This year's Group of 8 meeting in Hokkaido Toyako has taken on a special urgency," Ban told reporters. "It is no exaggeration to say that we face three crises, all interrelated and demanding our immediate action."
The summit participants are the heads of state or government of the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Japan and Canada, all headed by heads of state or government.
The Rome conference, convened by the UN in early June, called on governments to remove export restrictions and levies on food commodities and to reduce agricultural subsidies, particularly in developed countries.
Ban said he will ask the G8 leaders to triple their contribution to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) for agricultural production and rural development. The UN has asked governments to give 0.7 per cent of each nation's gross national product to the ODA, but so far only the Nordic and Scandinavian government have reached that limit or above.
He said he will ask the G8 in Hokkaido to adopt measures for short- and medium-term targets for reducing greenhouse gases.
"It is not enough to talk of change by 2050," he said. "If we want real change, we must begin now - with targets for real progress by 2050."
The food crisis, climate change and developmental problems all affect the outcome of the UN-led Millennium Development Goals, which include ending extreme poverty and hunger, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education to all children by 2015.
Ban said Africa is falling behind in implementing programmes to reach the goals and the three urgent issues will exacerbate the conditions on the continent unless addressed.
Ban was to leave New York Friday for visits to Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul, his first appearance in those capitals since be become UN secretary general in 2007. He then was to return to Japan to attend the G8 conference.