Posted by: APO | 16 April 2008

Rising food prices / Sweden gives extra support to UN to counter effects of rising food prices

Press release

16 April 2008

Ministry for Foreign Affairs


Sweden gives extra support to UN to counter effects of rising food prices


The Government is to make an extra contribution of SEK 70 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to help counter the immediate effects of escalating food prices.


“Rising food prices are starting to have a very tangible impact, affecting millions of the world’s most vulnerable people who depend on food aid for their survival. The WFP has appealed to the donor community to take urgent and concerted action in this critical situation. Sweden is responding to this appeal,” says Gunilla Carlsson.


The current food price trend has several interconnected causes, the most important of which are rises in oil and other energy prices, economic growth and increased demand for food in countries such as India and China, and weather-related events such as drought in Australia. Another factor is food price speculation on the world’s commodity exchanges.


The higher food prices have a direct impact on food aid. Money set aside for purchasing food does not go as far as previously calculated. If nothing is done, there is a risk that the quantity of food that the WFP and others distribute to save lives and maintain human dignity in conflict and disaster situations will significantly decrease.


“We call upon the WFP to make the most of the flexibility that the Swedish money will provide, so as to prioritise the most vulnerable groups when the money is distributed,” says Ms Carlsson.


The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. Its three largest operations are in Sudan, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Sweden is one of the largest donors to the WFP. The additional budget of SEK 70 million comes on top of the SEK 380 million previously approved for 2008. Sweden’s contribution is non-earmarked, which means the WFP is free to decide how and where to use the money.



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