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ActionAid Challenges G8 on Response to Food Crisis
Date:7/2/2008

G8 failure on food prices, biofuels, and climate change places 1.7 billion people - 25% of the world's population - at risk of hunger, warns anti-poverty agency ActionAid.

WASHINGTON, July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Days ahead of the G8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan, ActionAid launches a new report, "Cereal Offenders: How the G8 has Contributed to the Global Food Crisis and What They Can Do to Stop It." Read the full report at: http://www.actionaidusa.org/assets/pdfs/food_rights/cereal_offenders_final_ us.pdf

Report author and ActionAid's Food Rights Policy Associate, Ilana Solomon, said:

"The insatiable demand for biofuels has caused cereal prices to rise and production to shift from food crops for global needs to biofuel crops for Northern SUVs. The G8 must take urgent action to shift grain production back to meet the needs of people, not cars.

"It is estimated that biofuels production alone accounts for up to 30% of the hike in food prices. The crisis is exacerbated by climate change and failed agricultural policies. If this trend continues, ActionAid estimates that an additional 850 million people could go hungry by 2009. Eight years after G8 leaders led the world community in pledging to halve the number of hungry people, their current policies instead threaten to double that number."

ActionAid is calling on G8 leaders to act now to slow the biofuel juggernaut by:

-- Supporting a five-year moratorium on biofuel expansion to prevent farmland being converted into biofuel plantations;

-- Ending subsidies and targets aimed at increasing the use of ethanol and biodiesel in the US and European Union;

-- Scaling up alternative renewable energy sources instead of subsidizing biofuels.

ActionAid's report also criticizes the G8's failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, insisting that climate change is already wreaking havoc on agriculture in developing countries. Anne Jellema, ActionAid's International Director of Policy, said:

"As the IPCC states, yields from rain-fed agriculture in some African countries are likely to drop by 50% by 2020 due to climate change. This projected decline in productivity is largely caused by the emissions of the polluting countries of the G8.

"The G8 nations are the world's dirtiest emitters. They must clean up their act and pay the price for playing havoc with the developing world's food production."

ActionAid demands that the G8 leaders pledge US $55 billion of the UNFCCC estimated US $67 billion annual cost of helping developing countries cope with climate change. ActionAid further demands that G8 leaders agree on medium-term targets to reduce their emissions by at least 25-40% below 1990 levels and to assist developing countries in accessing clean technology.

"The world cannot afford more false promises. It's time for the G8 to demonstrate real leadership and to act with urgency to deal with the world's biggest challenges of hunger and climate change," added Ms. Jellema.

Notes to editors:

See ActionAid's new report: "Cereal Offenders: How the G8 has Contributed to the Global Food Crisis and What They Can Do to Stop It." Available on http://www.actionaidusa.org

ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in over 49 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. For more information please go to http://www.actionaidusa.org

Available to the media:

Video footage of biofuel production threatening rural livelihoods in Ghana, West Africa.

Case studies of people affected by rising food prices in Mozambique, Haiti and Malawi (text and pictures).


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SOURCE ActionAid International USA
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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