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Item 72 (a) of the provisional agenda
Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and
disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including
special economic assistance: strengthening of the coordination
Foreword: A year of challenges
It is my pleasure to present to you the 2008 Annual Report for the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
For the millions of people affected by natural disasters and conflict worldwide, 2008 was a year of enormous challenges. More than 211 million people were affected by natural disasters, with more than 238,000 killed and US$200 billion in damages, making 2008 one of the most devastating years in terms of human and material losses.
- World cereal production in 2008 is forecast to increase 4.9 percent to a record 2 232 million tonnes, considerably up from earlier predictions after better than expected results from the major harvests gathered in the past two months.
- Based on the latest production forecast, a significant improvement in the global supply and demand balance for cereals in the 2008/09 season can be expected.
In 2007, natural and man-made disasters continued to take a toll on the lives of people.
Part I: Operational Requirements and Shortfalls
Overview of the 2007 Programme of Work
As the end of 2007 nears, the number of people the World Food Programme is seeking to support has risen to 83 million. The amount of food assistance required to assist these people is valued at US$3.4 billion. Considering resources mobilized thus far in 2007, the current level of funding falls short by some US$653 million.
Additional resources amounting to approximately US$800 million are required before the end of 2007 to ensure uninterrupted food aid deliveries for ongoing activities.
World cereal production in 2007 remains on course to reach a record level of 2 095 million tonnes, but with some major crops yet to be planted, the forecast is still tentative.
Based on the current 2007 production outlook, global cereal supplies are forecast to increase in the new 2007/08 marketing season.
Favourable prospects for 2007 world cereal crops, mainly following expansion of plantings in Europe and North America, coupled with generally satisfactory weather conditions.
FAO's latest estimates put global cereal output in 2006 at just under 2 billion tonnes, 2.7 percent lower than in the previous year but still above average.
The global cereal supply and demand situation has further tightened, with a downward revision of the 2006 world cereal production forecast and a projected increase in cereal utilization in 2006/07. At current forecast levels, the utilization would exceed production by 3.3 percent in 2006/07.
- The FAO's latest assessment shows that 40 countries are facing food emergencies and require external assistance. Among them, the most pressing humanitarian problem remains the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. The already precarious food supply situation may worsen if deteriorating security disrupts the main harvest due to start in the coming few weeks.
- Prospects for the 2006 world cereal harvest have deteriorated further since July.
AFRICA: In eastern Africa, despite improved outlook for current season crops in several countries, more than 18 million people are in need of food assistance. In western Africa, notwithstanding improved harvest prospects generally in the Sahel, the food security situation is still of concern notably in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. In Southern Africa, food insecurity is worsening for an estimated 12 million people due to reduced harvests in 2005, escalating food prices and rising energy costs.