Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Greener Production of Food to Feed the World or the 2008 Speculators?

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This summary is prepared by the External Affairs Department of the World Bank. All material is taken directly from published and copyright wire service stories and newspaper articles. The daily summary and other news can be found on the World Bank’s external website at For inquiries call (202) 473-7660 or send a written request to the News Bureau.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Today’s Headlines:
  • Lagarde Takes Up IMF Post
  • UN Calls For Greener Food Production To Feed World In 2050
  • UN: Barriers To Gender Equality Remain
  • Agencies Warn Of East Africa Famine
Lagarde Takes Up IMF Post. “Former French finance minister Christine Lagarde took over as the new head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday…. The first woman to head the world's key crisis lender, Lagarde takes over in the wake of countryman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit in May…. She spent her first day at the IMF's Washington headquarters in meetings with the Fund's management team, the executive board, department chiefs and other staff….” [Agence France Presse]
The Guardian reports that “…Lagarde's terms of appointment include a section laying out the conduct expected of her by the IMF. This, apparently for the first time, includes clear instructions on ethics. The letter said: ‘As managing director, you are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity, impartiality and discretion. You shall strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in your conduct.’…” [The Guardian (UK)]
FT adds that “…Lagarde will be subject to the same heightened ethics rules as all IMF staff and will also undergo internal training….” [Financial Times]
The Wall Street Journal reports that during her first press conference on Wednesday, “Lagarde said…the global economy remains fragile and uneven, and said addressing the European debt crisis will be a top priority…She said that while the financial crisis has abated, ‘some might argue it's still continuing given that the growth potential has not been restored in many countries, given the fact that unemployment is still very high in many corners.’…” [The Wall Street Journal]
UN Calls For Greener Food Production To Feed World In 2050. “World food production will have to increase by up to 100 percent by 2050 and focus on greener methods to sustain an expected 9 billion population, the UN said Tuesday in its annual survey of economic and social trends. The UN's annual World Economic and Social Survey called for governments to invest nearly $2 trillion a year to help small-scale farming and to reduce environmental harm….” [Associated Press]
Reuters adds that “…presenting the survey, UN Under-Secretary General Sha Zukang said in the long-term ‘large-scale agriculture is the way ahead,’ adding: ‘But to get started on the way to sustainability you have to invest in small-scale farming.’… The survey said achieving food security through ‘a truly green agricultural revolution’ would provide a long-term solution to hunger and malnutrition and ease price volatility while protecting the environment….” [Reuters]
Meanwhile, AFP notes that “…at the moment, ‘external financing currently available for green technology investments in developing countries is far from sufficient to meet the challenge,’ the UN report assessed. Over the last two years, climate change funds managed by World Bank disbursed about $20 billion, a fraction of the sum necessary for developing countries to build up clean energy technologies, sustainable farming techniques and technologies that help cut non-biodegradable waste production. Even though states agreed during a 2009 Copenhagen summit to spend $30 billion over 2010 to 2012 and $100 billion a year by 2020 in transfers to developing countries, these sums have not been realized….” [Agence France Presse]
UN: Barriers To Gender Equality Remain. “Women around the world are many steps closer to attaining economic and political equality - but there is still much work to be done. This is the message of Progress of the World's Women 2011-2012: In Pursuit of Justice, a report released Wednesday by UN Women. Over the past generation, women have seen paths opening to the top of political and corporate life. But the report also identifies a sizeable enforcement gap, meaning that the lives of hundreds of millions of women often fall far short of the rights supposedly enshrined in law….” [Financial Times]
The Guardian adds that “…more than half of working women in the world, 600 million, are trapped in insecure jobs without legal protection, according to the report by UN Women. A similar number do not have even basic protection against domestic violence, it finds, while sexual assault has become a hallmark of modern conflict. UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet said the document showed that many millions of women had no access to justice….” [The Guardian (UK)]
Bloomberg writes that “…the report said that while 186 nations have ratified the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 30 have enacted legal ‘reservations’ that deny equal marital and familial rights…. There are 127 nations don’t explicitly criminalize rape within marriage, 61 that severely restrict abortion rights, and 50 that have a lower legal age of marriage for women than for men….” [Bloomberg]
Agencies Warn Of East Africa Famine. “Food price rises are combining with severe drought and conflict to create the gravest threat of famine in years across large parts of east Africa and the Horn, according to aid agencies desperately short of funds. The agencies of the Disasters Emergency Committee, the UK-based umbrella organization which launches and coordinates responses to major disasters overseas, said on Tuesday that they face a funding shortfall of more than EUR94 million for their emergency response in the region….” [Financial Times]
The NYT reports that “…the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is calling it the worst drought the region has experienced the early 1950s. And the problem is made much more difficult by the continuing anarchy and civil strife in most of Somalia, coupled with cross-border raids and violence between pastoral communities in the Ethiopian-Kenyan border. However, refugees are being pushed from Somalia for a simple lack of food, said OCHA spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker. She estimates about 5,000 people are entering Ethiopia from Somalia every week….” [The New York Times/ClimateWire]
BBC adds that “…the levels of malnutrition among children fleeing Somalia's drought could lead to a ‘human tragedy of unimaginable proportions’, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres has said. Young children are dying on their way to or within a day of arrival at camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, the UNHCR says. It estimates that a quarter of Somalis are either displaced within the country or living outside as refugees….” [BBC News]
Also in This Edition, Briefly Noted… The African Tax Administration Forum said this week that South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia are now working together to prevent multinational companies from avoiding taxes and depriving their countries of money that could be used to fightpoverty. [Associated Press]
The African Development Bank expects to provide Cameroon with $60 million for a planned 1,192-megawatt hydropower project to feed the country's industrial expansion and households. The critical Lom Pangar dam project would more than double the country's power output, lifting severe constraints on its development. [Dow Jones]
The World Bank approved Tuesday $1 billion in credit to support India through the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP). [Xinhua]
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and reinsurer Swiss Re announced an agreement Wednesday to boost regional trade by guaranteeing financing risks for exporters and importer inpoor countries. [Agence France Presse]
Bangladesh has extended a ban on export of rice for one year, with effect from July 1, after the latest six-month embargo expired. [Reuters]
Australia's foreign aid program will be focused on fragile states and its support to China and India will be phased out over time, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced Wednesday. [Xinhua]
Japan's government has approved a second budget of $24.7 billionfor reconstruction after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. [BBC News]
World total official foreign exchange holdings reached $9.69 trillion in the first quarter of 2011, according to data released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday. [Xinhua]

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