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03 Dec 2008 description

By John Acher

OSLO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Nearly 100 nations began signing a treaty on Wednesday to ban cluster bombs responsible for killing and maiming thousands, but powerful arms producers including the United States, Russia and China remain outside the pact.

Despite those and other military powers not signing, 18 of 26 NATO members, including Britain, France and Germany, are expected to ink the pact, which was hailed by hosts Norway.

"Today we confirm that cluster munitions are banned forever," said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the first to sign in a …

30 Nov 2008 description

By Amran Abocar

DOHA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Donor states should improve the quality of aid to developing countries even if the global financial crisis means they do not increase their aid levels, a senior U.N. official said on Sunday.

With some nations slipping into recession and others perched on the cusp, the United Nations and aid partners fear states will cut back on aid commitments.

14 Nov 2008 description

By Alistair Thomson

DAKAR, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The financial crisis threatens to unleash fresh movements of refugees and may make countries less willing to host them, worsening an already potent cocktail of conflict and climate change, a top U.N. refugee official said.

Erika Feller, assistant high commissioner for protection at U.N.

29 Oct 2008 description

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Developed countries are planning to cut aid to Africa due to the global financial crisis, a senior African Union (AU) commissioner said on Wednesday.

While Africa is relatively protected from the global turmoil as African banks are less exposed to credit risk, analysts believe there could be a reduction of aid flows as well as foreign direct investment and remittances.

"I have had informal discussions with representatives of our development partners and the message that I'm getting is that this could affect development aid …

17 Oct 2008 description

By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - At first sight, it seems like good news for those fighting hunger around the world: the spikes in commodity prices that triggered food riots this year have been all but erased amid the recent financial turmoil.

But relief officials now have another fear -- that distracted donors will forget that the problem goes much deeper, and stop devoting time and money to an emergency that will only be worsened by a now-looming recession.

"There is no automatic correlation between what happens in the wheat futures market in Chicago and the …

10 Oct 2008 description

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The global financial crisis must not cause aid cuts to humanitarian agencies which could leave millions of people worldwide without food or shelter, U. N.

03 Sep 2008 description

CANBERRA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - There is no end in sight to global food shortages and multiple crises from climate change and energy and water scarcity will soon intensify what is already a silent famine, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

"There may be a slight dip, but we're going to see sustained high food prices for the foreseeable future," Katherine Sierra, the Bank's Vice President for Sustainable Development told Reuters in an interview.

"What we're seeing right now is a kind of quiet famine, people that have really had to reduce their food consumption …

31 Aug 2008 description

Aug 31 (Reuters) - Ghana hosts a high-level meeting on aid effectiveness from Tuesday to Thursday which will bring together ministers and representatives from more than 100 countries, both donors and recipients of aid.

Senior officials from multilateral development and financial agencies, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, will also take part in the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra.

The meeting will look at ways to make international aid work better for the world's poor, who have been badly hit this year by soaring prices for food, fuel …

01 Aug 2008 description

NOUAKCHOTT, Aug 1 (Reuters) - African governments trying to help their populations cope with rising food prices should carefully target measures to help poor families and avoid waste, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Friday.

'In our view the best way is to try to help the poor by direct income support, targeted safety nets like food-for-work programmes, and to avoid general subsidies which waste resources and don't help the poor,' Strauss-Kahn told African finance ministers and central bankers at a meeting in Mauritania.

Many African governments have …

31 Jul 2008 description

July 31 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is set to renew a mandate for peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region on Thursday. Here are some details on international peacekeeping in Africa.

* SUDAN, DARFUR: (UNAMID) (From 2007)

-- In 2007 the U.N. Security Council finally authorised 26,000 troops and police for the operation known as UNAMID.

-- The force has been struggling to stabilise the situation.

04 Jul 2008 description

July 4 (Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations meet in Japan on July 7-9 amid concerns about spiralling food costs around the globe.

Up to 105 million people could become poor due to rising food prices, the World Bank estimates, with forecasters warning prices will remain high for some years.

Here are some key facts about the issue:

WHY ARE FOOD PRICES RISING?

- Factors behind the surge in prices include high energy and fertiliser prices, a declining U.S.

03 Jul 2008 description

Written by: Ruth Gidley

In five years' time, we could be living in a world where millions are dying in famines with no food aid to hand, regular storms and droughts wipe out acres of crops, and skyrocketing food prices have created global political panic, food experts say.

But there might be a way out. Or a combination of ways.

"(The) tectonic plates are shifting on food...

03 Jul 2008 description

By Jeremy Smith

BRUSSELS, July 3 (Reuters) - Europe's development and farm chiefs called on Thursday for better-targeted aid to help Third World countries achieve long-term sustainable farming, as a way to feed millions of people while global food prices soar.

While the EU comes under pressure in world trade talks to slash its internal agriculture subsidies, it also faces repeated calls -- as a major humanitarian aid donor and farm producer -- to help developing countries weather the world food crisis.

The EU's executive Commission has suggested a series of short-term …

02 Jul 2008 description

By Cynthia Johnston

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, July 2 (Reuters) - Bans on food exports by countries hit by rising prices are impeding efforts to get sustenance to some of the world's most needy people, the head of the World Food Programme said.

Executive Director Josette Sheeran appealed to countries to exempt humanitarian agencies from their export restrictions or taxes so that states with excess food stores could contribute to feeding the world's hungry.

'As countries deal with the food crisis, more and more are shutting down their markets for export ...

27 Jun 2008 description

By Daniel Wallis and Cynthia Johnston

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, June 27 (Reuters) - African Union states must unite to reduce the impact of soaring food prices that have hit their citizens harder than the rest of the world, the continent's top diplomat warned on Friday.

Experts say poor harvests, high fuel costs and rising demand, especially from fast-growing Asian nations, mean one billion people worldwide are now threatened by hunger.

"This sharp increase (in basic food prices) has had a particularly negative effort on African countries," Jean Ping, chairman of the …

27 Jun 2008 description

By Sonia Ounissi

TUNIS, June 27 (Reuters) - Foreign donors should do more to stimulate private investment to improve Africa's ailing farm sector and address a worsening food crisis, delegates at a farming conference said on Friday.

Africa is struggling to feed a growing population due to years of neglect of agriculture and a shift by many countries to export crops that increased reliance on food imports.

Africa's wheat consumption in 2005 grew 3 times quicker than output, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

A doubling of commodity prices in the last …

19 Jun 2008 description

By Daniel Wallis

NAIROBI, June 19 (Reuters) - Africans must unite to demand an immediate end to Western trade barriers that are worsening the impact of a global food crisis on the world's poorest continent, Kenya said on Thursday.

Experts say poor harvests, high fuel costs and rising demand, especially from fast-growing Asian countries, mean one billion people worldwide are now threatened by hunger.

Kenyan Agriculture Minister William Ruto said he would mobilise African governments to bring down barriers "imposed by our big brothers in the developed nations to deny us …

05 Jun 2008 description

June 5 (Reuters) - The United Nations food summit issued a declaration on Thursday at the end of the three-day conference.

Here are highlights from the four-page text agreed after tough negotiations between the 183 countries.

05 Jun 2008 description

By Robin Pomeroy and Stephen Brown

ROME, June 5 (Reuters) - A U.N. global food crisis summit risked embarrassing failure to reach any formal agreement on combating hunger threatening a billion people worldwide.

Delegates from 183 countries at the Rome talks were supposed to issue a resounding declaration on Thursday on "eliminating hunger and securing food for all".

But squabbling about trade barriers and geopolitics raised the prospect of the statement being scrapped.

"There are difficult negotiations going on," said Matthew Wyatt, deputy head of the United …