Rome’s food summit

Linked with Jean Ziegler – Switzerland, son web en français: and in english: his reports on UN.org: with Crise alimentaire, with Suffering Hunger, and with Genocide by design.

“How can we explain that it was not possible to find US$30bil (RM97.8bil) a year to enable 862 million hungry people to enjoy the right to food?” he asked … (full text, June 9, 2008).

… There is one exception to the lack of additionality, which is the funding promised by non-traditional donors. Saudi Arabia, for example, gave $500 million to the WFP in May 2008, helping that agency to exceed its appeal target for emergency aid. That’s a generous, one-off gift. But, at the same time, Saudi Arabia is reaping huge profits from the rise in the price of oil. When the price of oil goes up by, say, $30 per barrel, then Saudi Arabia is gifted nearly $300 million a day in extra revenue – so the gift to WFP represents the windfall profit from one weekend.

Saudi Arabia is not alone, of course. The top ten oil exporters include Russia, Iran, the UAE, Venezuela, Kuwait, and Algeria, none of which are mainstream aid donors.

Some have suggested a windfall tax on oil producers. A better suggestion might be to sign up large and rich oil exporters to the club of aid donors. One-off gifts are very welcome; even better would be long-term commitments, predictable and accountable, delivered bilaterally or through the United Nations, the World Bank and the regional development banks. The richer oil producers should commit themselves to the UN target of providing 0.7% of GNP as aid, and sign up to donor best practice in areas where they can make a real difference. (full text).

Links:

More on the 2008 world food crisis at openDemocracy;

Opportunism at food summit;

Interesting clash of views at Food Summit;

Food summit overlooks price-surge ingredient;

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe blames West at U.N. food summit.

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