Washington D.C. – As Greece edges closer to default, confidence in the Euro and the dollar declines and global food prices soar, ActionAid called on G20 finance and development ministers meeting today to put serious reforms in motion.
Although global food security is among the top agenda items for today’s meeting, there are serious concerns that despite continued hikes in the price of staple foods, ministers will not take steps to prevent the trend from becoming another global food crisis.
“Ministers must approve the pilot program for emergency food reserves in West Africa,” says Marie Brill, Senior Policy Analyst for ActionAid USA. “These food reserves could be the difference between life and death for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. At the same time, the whole range of steps to reduce food price volatility, including buffer stock deployment, must be further explored.”
ActionAid notes that the G20 has thus far been supportive of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which channels support to the smallholders and women farmers who supply most of the food in Africa and other regions. But Neil Watkins, Director of Policy and Campaigns for ActionAid USA adds, “Warm words aren’t enough – with food prices on the rise and hunger rising unabated we are calling on additional donors to fill the remaining needs by pledging support for the GAFSP’s public sector window now.”
Eroding confidence in both the dollar and the euro mean that the danger of financial crisis will not fade until serious reform of the international monetary system are underway. Soren Ambrose, ActionAid’s International Policy Manager, says “A well-functioning global economy should use a neutral global reserve currency to eliminate distortions. Initiating an orderly global process now would avert a rushed and chaotic one later. ”
ActionAid is also calling on ministers to address tax policy and domestic resource mobilization so that poor countries can better weather the crisis. “The G20 needs to take decisive action to put a stop to the financial abuses made possible by shadow banking systems and tax havens,” says Watkins. “The G20 needs to stop letting corporations off the hook from paying taxes in countries they are operating in.”
ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in 50 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. Together with more than 2,000 civil society partners worldwide, ActionAid works with and supports the poorest and most vulnerable people to fight for and gain their rights to food, shelter, work, basic healthcare and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. View the website at www.actionaidusa.org.