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Water management and malnutrition crucial issues at McGill food conference

From catastrophic floods in Pakistan that have left millions homeless and hungry to the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake, relief efforts are under way in many parts of the world where disasters have brought food crises along with destruction. In Africa's Sahel region, severe drought has been followed by floods that are now threatening the food security of millions of people among the world's poorest. More than half of Niger's population some 7 million people as well as millions more in neighbouring Chad, Mali and Mauritania face hunger and malnutrition.

Worldwide, more than 1 billion people go hungry every single day.

Water management and malnutrition are the two key threats to food security that will be discussed at the Third McGill Conference on Global Food Security, to be held Oct. 19-21, 2010, in Montreal.

As climate change predictions suggest a greater variability of rainfall, sustainable water management methods are becoming increasingly crucial in addressing the enormous problem of world hunger. In addition, while the global price of some commodities has fallen from the record highs of 2008, prices for domestic products remain high or have increased in many regions, contributing to an increase in malnutrition. Households already made vulnerable by consecutive food and economic crises have been forced to reduce the diversity and quality of their diet, resulting in insufficient caloric intake and nutritional deficiencies affecting growth or passed on from mother to child. Natural disasters in some parts of the world only add to those difficulties.

The McGill Conference on Global Food Security will welcome some 400 participants, including representatives of developing countries, international development agencies and the private sector, as well as scholars and decision makers, who will offer unique perspectives on the global food situation and discuss continuing efforts to meet the food demands of a growing population. The event will open with a public lecture on Oct. 19, which will also inaugurate the McGill Institute for Global Food Security.


Contact: Julie Fortier
McGill University

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