Global Leaders Gather in S. Korea Amid Financial Jitters for World’s Premier Aid Forum —The Washington Post/ AP
The rich countries that traditionally give aid question how much they should spend amid tough domestic budget fights and fears that a European financial crisis could spread. Aid groups, meanwhile, worry that donors will retreat from crucial programs for those living in crushing poverty. Global heavyweights, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will try to use the three-day Busan forum to argue that, despite mounting economic uncertainties, the world needs stronger aid programs with better coordination and transparency.
Droughts and floods which devastate crops and rising seas which imperil coastal cities will become potent triggers for famine, disease and homelessness, in turn inflaming tensions and leading to unrest, say experts. Wheat, corn, and sorghum have all seen global spikes in the past 18 months, but in the drought-hit Horn of Africa their prices have at times doubled or tripled compared to a five-year average.
As governments prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in South Africa, experts warn that among climate change’s greatest consequences in developing countries such as Bangladesh are risks to the agriculture sector, including an increased risk of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. WFP reports that by 2050, climate change is expected to increase the number of hungry people by 10 to 20%, and the number of malnourished children is expected to increase by 24 million.