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DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Results of UN Food Summit Seen as Disappointing

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This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the World Summit on Food Security
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the World Summit on Food Security

Last week, the United Nations held a World Summit on Food Security. But the three-day meeting in Rome produced only limited measures to fight rising hunger. The U.N. World Food Program says more than a billion people -- one in six worldwide -- do not get enough food to be healthy.

The troubled world economy is not the only cause of recent increases. The poorest countries continue to face high food prices, which have fallen elsewhere. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says more than thirty nations continue to need emergency food assistance.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the food crisis has forced millions of families into poverty and hunger. He said six million children die of hunger every year. And he warned that food security is closely connected to the issue of climate change.

BAN KI-MOON: "At a time when the global population is growing, our global climate is changing. By twenty fifty we will need to grow seventy percent more food. Yet weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable."

The delegates in Rome promised to continue efforts to reduce by half the number of hungry people by two thousand fifteen. But critics pointed out that world leaders made a similar promise more than ten years ago.

Several countries promised to increase aid for agriculture, to help developing nations become more independent.

Still, critics deplored a lack of greater action. Leaders from more than sixty countries were in Rome. But Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the only leader from a major industrial nation in the Group of Eight. An official from Kenya, Adam Barre Duale, said it showed a lack of unity in the fight against hunger.

ADAM BARRE DUALE: "We need both the developed world and the developing countries to come together and to give and support a global initiative in the war against hunger."

The Food and Agriculture Organization says more than forty billion dollars a year needs to be invested in agriculture to defeat world hunger. The growing problem has affected developing countries, but also industrialized nations.

The government estimates that forty-nine million people in the United States were "food insecure" last year. That means their households, at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all members because of a lack of resources. Almost fifteen percent of all households were in that situation. And the Agriculture Department says the numbers may be even higher this year.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.

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