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CSI: Turtle Bay

The Food and Agriculture Organization recently held a workshop in Rome to discuss best forensic practices to combat the illegal fishing trade that threatens to decimate the livelihood and primary protein source of millions around the world. 

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Food running out in drought-ravaged Guatemala

In an interview with Guatemala's Prensa Libre (Spanish), Irma Palma, the acting director of the World Food Programme field office, says that the WFP will be forced to send out a flash appeal in hopes of remedying a desperate food shortage in eastern Guate

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Good news in the battle against hunger

In the wake of the financial crisis, the number of people worldwide who do not have enough to eat has topped a billion. However, a new report, Pathways to Success (pdf), by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggests that there is positive news in the battle against hunger.

In 31 of the 79 countries that the FAO monitors, there has been a "notable decline" in the number of undernourished people between 1991 and 2005. How? The report notes four trends:

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Phones unfortunately more widespread than food

The WFP has announced a new twist in its successful program using mobile phones to alert Iraqi refugees in Syria about available food aid.  Reuters reports:

Iraqi refugees in Syria will this week start receive U.N. text messages they can redeem for fresh food in local shops, the World Food Programme said on Tuesday. 

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Bravery award of the day

Goes to Sudanese truckers:

They risk being robbed or kidnapped, but Sudan's truckers still deliver food aid to thousands displaced by conflict in Darfur, where banditry is often overshadowed by the fighting between army and rebels.

Banditry, it's worth pointing out, is actually a much more common, and possibly even more pernicious, problem for those in Darfur struggling to live on food aid.  The WFP provides this aid for almost four million Darfurians.  And it's mostly Sudanese truckers who deliver it.

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How swine flu and the economy can help tackle climate change, MDGs, and food shortages

If the G8 can figure out what to do about Italy, they might want to heed some of the Secretary-General's advice. In another op-ed that just might increase a few crushes (or maybe just boost his global popularity), Ban presents the responses to the global financial crisis last fall and the H1N1 epidemic this spring as evidence of the interconnectedness of global problems -- and how vigorous global cooperation can have a resounding impact. Armed with these examples, he lays down the gauntlet for the G8 on three of the causes he has taken up: global warming, the Millennium Development Goals, and the world food crisis. On the first, he sets an ambitious goal:

First, the G8 and other major emitters of greenhouse gases must intensify their work to seal a deal at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. That agreement must be scientifically rigorous, equitable, ambitious and exact. Achieving the goal of limiting the global mean temperature increase to two degrees Celsius will require nations to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. The G8 and other industrialised countries must take the lead by committing to emission cuts of at least 80% from 1990 levels.

It's worth pointing out that this is the minimum that will be necessary to prevent the worst from happening. Yet it's also, thus far, more than the United States and other wealthy countries are ready to commit to. As Ban writes, "co-operation works, but we've only just gotten started."

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UN Food and Agriculture Organization: 1 billion people go hungry

 From the Food and Agriculture Organization

World hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1 020 million people going hungry every day, according to new estimates published by FAO today.

The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment. This has reduced access to food by the poor, the UN agency said.

"A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. "The silent hunger crisis — affecting one sixth of all of humanity — poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions."

 "The present situation of world food insecurity cannot leave us indifferent," he added.

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An Agriculture Summit — No Clowns Here

With most conference-related attention being sucked into Geneva, another meeting just finished up its work not too far away, in Treviso, Italy.  While (fortunately) lacking the histrionics of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the G8 "agriculture summit" is tackling a problem even more urgent: global food insecurity.  In the words of Director-General Jacques Diouf of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, one of multiple UN food agencies invited to the meeting:

“In order to feed the nearly one billion hungry people and provide for the extra three billion people coming into the world by the year 2050, the world needs political leadership and well invested resources...World leaders looking for ways to save the global economy from disaster and to create jobs and income for millions of people in rural areas would be well advised to invest heavily in agriculture."

The summit may not have achieved all that advocates for the world's poor could have hoped for, but it seems that the G8's farm ministers recognize the imperative identified by Diouf.  But -- and no offense to farm ministers here -- this is an issue whose weight merits attention by G8 ministers themselves at their next gathering.