High food prices derail Millennium goals: report

Apr 20, 2012 by Veronica Smith

High food prices have derailed ambitious aims to slash extreme poverty and hunger across the world by 2015, a World Bank and International Monetary Fund report said Friday.

Recent spikes in international food prices have stalled progress across several of the (MDGs), an international program set up in 2000, the report said.

The developing world is "seriously lagging" on global targets related to food and nutrition, and child and maternal mortality rates are still unacceptably high, said the Global Monitoring Report.

As a result, the report said, 1.02 billion people will likely still be living in extreme poverty in 2015.

"High and volatile food prices do not bode well for attainment of many MDGs, as they erode consumer purchasing power and prevent millions of people from escaping poverty and hunger, besides having long-term adverse impacts on health and education," said Justin Lin, the World Bank's chief economist.

The United Nations set a 15-year timeframe in 2000 to achieve its goals of halving extreme poverty, boosting health and education and further empowering women across the .

The report said the world was significantly off-track on reducing mortality rates of children under five and mothers, and would not meet its goals by 2015.

The slowest progress was in reducing maternal mortality, where only one-third of the goal had been met.

Progress in reducing infant and child mortality has advanced only 50 percent toward the .

On the good side, targets related to reducing extreme poverty and providing access to safe drinking water have been achieved several years early, and goals on education and the ratio of girls to boys in schools are within reach.

But for nutrition, the report called on countries to create buffers to make them more resilient to food price spikes.

Countries should use policy measures to encourage farmers to increase production, employ social safety nets to improve resilience and strengthen nutritional policies to improve early childhood development.

In addition, trade policies should improve access to food markets, reduce food price volatility and spur productivity gains.

However, the slowing global economy and Europe's financial crisis has made it harder for developing countries to counter high food prices.

"The fragile global economy could very well slow developing countries' progress on human development goals," said Hugh Bredenkamp, deputy director of the IMF's Strategy, Policy and Review Department.

While have declined from their 2011 peaks, commodity prices remained high and volatile, "a big concern" in the Middle East and North Africa, which is the world's largest wheat-importing region, the report said.

It pointed out that food price spikes since 2007 contributed to the Arab Spring uprisings.

Meanwhile, aid flows appeared set to slow as many large donor countries rein in budgets in the face of the global slowdown. Based on reported donor plans during 2011-2013, overseas development aid was expected to fall by 0.2 percent a year on average.

"Clearly, assistance must be leveraged in new ways if we are to improve security and nutrition, particularly for the poor and vulnerable," said Jos Verbeek, lead economist at the World Bank.

Explore further: Best of Last Week – First map of hidden universe, pursuit of compact fusion and new clues about the causes of depression

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Three billion Asians face food crisis threat: research

Oct 28, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The escalating cost of rice and other foodstuffs across Asia could cause the reversal of policy reforms, social unrest and deepening poverty for over 3 billion Asians – according to new ...

Climate set to worsen food crises: Oxfam

Nov 28, 2011

Storms and droughts that have unleashed dangerous surges in food prices could be a "grim foretaste" of what lies ahead when climate change bites more deeply, Oxfam said on Monday.

999: The human face of economic crisis

Sep 09, 2009

As the economy continues to unravel, a series of papers published today assess the effects of the crisis on children's health, education, and rights in East Asia and the Pacific. Crisis for Children, a special issue of the ...

Obese now outnumber hungry: Red Cross

Sep 22, 2011

Obese people now outnumber the hungry globally, but hardship for the undernourished is increasing amid a growing food crisis, the International Federation of the Red Cross warned Thursday.

Race to save mothers, children set to fall short

Sep 20, 2011

A global campaign to save new mothers and children under five in developing nations has made strong gains but is set to fall well shy of UN goals, according to a study released Tuesday.

Recommended for you

US company sells out of Ebola toys

Oct 17, 2014

They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one US-based company has sold out.

Social trust eroded in Chinese product-tampering incident

Oct 14, 2014

For about a decade, Chinese consumers weren't getting what they paid for when they purchased Wuchang, a special brand of gourmet rice that has a peculiar scent. The quality was being diluted when less expensive rice was aromatized, ...

The 2014 Nobel Prizes at a glance

Oct 13, 2014

(AP)—All winners of the 2014 Nobel Prizes have now been announced, starting with the medicine award a week ago and ending with the economics prize on Monday.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 23, 2012
Silliness. Until people are ready to embrace private property laws and throw out their tyrants, they're not willing to leave poverty. The UN plays no part in this. Giving people food doesn't teach them anything and they'll fall right back into poverty until they learn to feed themselves. What's the incentive? The chance to have a better life. You keep what you work for. It's a shame they and starting to be the western world, don't realize that's how you leave poverty.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012
Countries should use policy measures to encourage farmers to increase production,

Like private property rights and free markets?