Archive for the ‘Ban Ki-moon’ Category

Food Security: Global Emergency

April 21, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Since last autumn, “food security” has moved from an issue many in the world never or hardly ever thought about to become the number one issue in life.

Food security involves having and sustaining the supply of proper food sources for entire nations and populations.

If there is any doubt that food security is a big issue, here is something of a recap of recent related news:

–The government of the Philippines said on Sunday that food security would be the number one topic in the legislative session starting Monday. The Philippines is a huge rice consumer and almost all of that rice is imported. Unfortunately, almost all of the rice supplies to the Philippines have been restricted or stopped. The result has been unrest in the streets of Manila and throughout the Philippines. Can you imagine arresting people who refuse to stop their protests because they are hungry?

–Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, said it would cut exports by 22% this year, following similar moves by India and Egypt. Vietnam’s inflation hit an estimated 16.4 percent in the first quarter, the highest rate in 13 years, according to government figures. Food prices were a main component of the increase, rising 21.5 percent in the January-March period compared with the same months last year.

A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 ...
A customer weighs rice at a sale-agent at the Voi market, 20 km (12.5 miles) south of Hanoi April 16, 2008. Fresh rice from Vietnam’s summer crop could start hitting the market a month earlier than usual, a top exporter said on Wednesday, bringing some relief to importers edgy over inflation and food security.REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)

–Egypt last week said that an advisor to the Commerce Minister announced a cutback in rice exports. “We have taken this decision to provide for the needs of the local market,” Sayyed Abul Komsan, advisor to Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, said. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the army to start baking bread after deadly riots broke out in lines of people waiting for food.

–China this week is doubling taxes on fertilizer exports to ensure supplies for domestic farmers. China also announced that it will review land use issues nation wide. China’s government now says too much land has been turned over to industrialization and the nation of 1.3 billion people can no longer adequately feed itself without changes in policy and land use.

–Malaysia’s government said Saturday it would spend four billion ringgit (1.3 billion dollars) to increase food production and tackle price hikes as the country faces spiraling global oil and food costs.

–Last month the cost of food in Cambodia rose 24%. At this rate, the cost of food will almost double every four months. Yet pay is not rising at all: especially among the poor. Cambodia’s rural poor, who make up over 80 percent of the population, are particularly at risk from inflation.

–Cuba warned the World Trade Organization on Friday that the food security of developing countries is endangered for a variety of reasons, among them the rising cost of fuel.–Oil-rich Libya is discussing a deal to essentially rent a chunk of land-rich Ukraine on which it can grow its own wheat.

–Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis was forced to step down last week because of violence linked to higher food costs, and U.N. and World Bank officials warn that more unrest is likely.

–France, sparked in part by unrest in Haiti, released $100 million (USD) in food aid to poorer nations.

A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double ...
A French farmer at work near Gaillargues. France will double its food aid this year, spending 60 million euros (100 million dollars) as part of its response to the world crisis over soaring food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.(AFP/File/Dominique Faget)

–France’s action followed a release of $200 million in food aid by President Bush exactly one week ago today.

“A lot of countries are in trouble right now,” said Lester Brown, veteran environmentalist and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute. “We’re seeing various efforts made by countries to ensure they have the food inputs they need.”

On Sunday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The problem of global food prices could mean seven lost years … for the Millennium Development Goals.  We risk being set back to square one.”

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pick at each other without much addressing American issues, in the rest of the world the big issue is quickly becoming: How will we feed ourselves?

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Food price hikes may hit world growth, security: Ban

April 21, 2008

ACCRA (Reuters) – The surge in global food prices risks setting back the world’s anti-poverty efforts and, if not properly handled, could harm global growth and security, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday.
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Opening a U.N. trade and development conference in Ghana, Ban pledged to use the full force of the world body he heads to tackle the price rises, which threaten to increase hunger and poverty and have already sparked food riots in Asia and Africa.

A farmer fertilizes a rice plantation in Morowali, central Sulawesi ...
A farmer fertilizes a rice plantation in Morowali, central Sulawesi province, Indonesia April 1, 2008.(Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters)

“I will immediately establish a high-powered task force comprised of eminent experts and leading authorities to address this issue,” he said.

The U.N. head warned the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting that huge increases in prices of food staples like cereals since last year could erase progress made towards U.N.-set goals of halving world poverty by 2015.

“The problem of global food prices could mean seven lost years … for the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
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“We risk being set back to square one,” Ban said in a speech opening a U.N. trade and development conference in Accra, Ghana.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080420/ts_nm/food_un_dc_3

Chinese restraint urged on Tibet

March 18, 2008

By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
March 18, 2008

China yesterday scrambled to contain the global fallout from days of bloody clashes in Tibet, as protests around the globe put the spotlight on Beijing’s human rights record just months before it hosts the Olympic Games.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union all urged China to show “restraint” after days of rioting in the Tibetan capital Lhasa and neighboring provinces that left more than a dozen dead and scores injured.

Local government officials clear up burnt items on a street ...
Local government officials clear up burnt items on a street in Lhasa, Tibet March 16, 2008, in this picture distributed by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
(Xinhua/Soinam Norbu/Reuters)

A midnight deadline set by Beijing for protesters to turn themselves in passed yesterday with no evidence of mass surrenders or arrests, the Associated Press reported.
There appeared to be little official support for a boycott of the Summer Games, even as scores of pro-Tibetan activists planned a protest today outside the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080318/FOREIGN/87589673/1001

UN calls water top priority

January 26, 2008
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

DAVOS, Switzerland – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world on Thursday to put the looming crisis over water shortages at the top of the global agenda this year and take action to prevent conflicts over scarce supplies.

He reminded business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum that the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan was touched off by drought — and he said shortages of water contribute to poverty and social hardship in Somalia, Chad, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Colombia and Kazakhstan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080125/ap_on_sc/world_forum_
water_scarcity;_ylt=Auy.8Y6sz34KEPmmcgRsrD.s0NUE

 

Turkey to approve troops to Iraq in defiance of U.S.

October 16, 2007

By Gareth Jones

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will defy international pressure on Wednesday and grant its troops permission to enter northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels based there, though it has played down expectations of any imminent attack.

 

Washington, Ankara‘s NATO ally, says it understands Turkey’s desire to tackle rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but fears a major incursion would wreck stability in the most peaceful part of Iraq and potentially in the wider region.

Turkey’s stance has helped drive global oil prices to $88 a barrel, a new record, and has hit its lira currency as investors weigh the economic risks of any major military operation.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071016/wl_nm/turkey_
iraq_dc;_ylt=Ar.kdVwGKsFObLiopEDrU1es0NUE

First Lady Raising Her Profile Without Changing Her Image

October 15, 2007

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

The New York Times

CRAWFORD, Tex., Oct. 14 — This Saturday, a military jet with the code name “Bright Star” will take off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, bound for a diplomatic mission in the Middle East. It will carry an increasingly outspoken and quietly powerful White House emissary: Laura Bush , the first lady of the United States.

The official purpose of the trip is to promote breast cancer awareness; nobody expects the president’s wife to engage in bare-knuckle negotiations over war and peace. Yet in the twilight of her husband’s presidency, the woman who once made George W. Bush  promise she would never have to give a speech is stepping out in a new and unusually substantive way.

Related:
First Lady’s Influence Goes Global

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/15/washington/15bush.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

What I Saw in Darfur

September 14, 2007

 By Ban Ki-moon
The Washington Post
Friday, September 14, 2007; Page A13

We speak often and easily about Darfur. But what can we say with surety? By conventional shorthand, it is a society at war with itself. Rebels battle the government; the government battles the rebels. Yet the reality is more complicated. Lately, the fighting often as not pits tribe against tribe, warlord against warlord.

Nor is the crisis confined to Darfur. It has spilled over borders, destabilizing the region. Darfur is also an environmental crisis — a conflict that grew at least in part from desertification, ecological degradation and a scarcity of resources, foremost among them water.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/13/AR2007091301680.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

US presses for action over Myanmar, but China, Russia relucant

September 1, 2007

By P. Parameswaran
August 31, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is pressing for international action over Myanmar‘s military junta crackdown on peaceful protests but is expected to again face opposition from China and Russia.

A day after US President George W. Bush strongly condemned the arrests of pro-democracy activists protesting against a massive hike in fuel prices in the Southeast Asian state, his wife Laura Bush on Friday called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to push the Security Council to act.

Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070901/ts_afp/usmyanmarunpoliticsrights_
070901021200