FAO Names 15 Experts To New Food Security Advisory Body

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has named 15 experts to a committee “to help formulate policies to ensure food security and avoid a repeat of the food crisis of a few years ago,” VOA News reports (DeCapua, 9/6).

The experts will form a steering committee to will lead the Committee on World Food Security’s “new advisory body, the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE),” according to an FAO press release (9/3).  

The steering committee “will appoint ad-hoc expert teams to provide independent expert knowledge on food security-related topics,” according to PANA/Afrique en ligne. The members, who “come from a wide range of backgrounds related to food security,” will “analyze the current state of food security and nutrition and its underlying causes and provide scientific and knowledge-based analysis and advice on specific policy-relevant issues” (9/6).

Catherine Bertini, a former head of the World Food Program, is the only committee member from the U.S. VOA News interviewed her about the global food situation. “As a result of the economic crisis, the earlier food crisis of a couple of years ago, the fuel increases – all of these contributed to more food insecure people, more hungry people in the world. And unfortunately that has continued,” she said. Bertini, who is now a professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, discussed the role of the committee, which she says will advocate for agricultural development including nutrition, research and organizational issues (9/6).

The press release lists all the committee appointees, which includes experts from Australia, Ethiopia, the U.K., South Africa, France, Brazil, Egypt, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Iran, India, China, Russia and Thailand (9/6).

Global Food Prices Up 5% In August

The Globe and Mail reports that “[i]nternational food prices were up 5 percent in August, the biggest one-month increase since last November.” The FAO is “being careful not to describe the galloping prices as a ‘crisis’ or an ’emergency,'” because its Food Price Index is “still 38 percent below its peak in June, 2008” and policy makers are “trying not to set off the alarm,” and drive prices higher. The article quotes the FAO’s senior grains economist Abdolreza Abbassian, who spoke Monday about global food costs (Reguly, 9/6).

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