UN chief to lead meeting with Spanish Premier next month to deal with hunger crisis

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday that he and the Prime Minister of Spain, Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero, have agreed to co-chair a high-level meeting next month aimed at tackling the urgent hunger crisis afflicting one billion people worldwide. The Food Security for All meeting in Madrid, slated for 26-27 January 2009, aims to gather governments, private entities and civil society groups to examine progress in achieving food security, define a road map for the future and tackle hunger more effectively. The Secretary-General made the announcement at the sixth meeting of the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, which focused its discussion on reducing hunger, promoting food security, and intensifying small-scale agriculture in countries that need and request assistance. Ban also welcomed a follow-up to the proposals made by several heads of government at the High-Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome last June to establish a global partnership for agriculture and food security, and acknowledged the Group of Eight (G-8) most industrialized countries for supporting the partnership. As well as pledging an extra $6 billion in new funding, the summit adopted a declaration at its conclusion that called for increased assistance for developing countries, especially for those hardest hit by the rise in food prices. The Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, David Nabarro, was asked to double up as Task Force Coordinator starting next year.

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