18 April 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says his country will double emergency food aid to meet a crisis sparked in several developing countries over sharply rising food prices. Lisa Bryant has more on Mr. Sarkozy's remarks made at a major international conference in Paris.
President Sarkozy said he would double emergency food aid to roughly $100 million this year for poor countries. He also called for a global partnership between governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to fight soaring food prices that have sparked riots and protests in about half a dozen developing countries.
Mr. Sarkozy said the international community needs to think about helping developing countries develop their food-based agriculture so their populations can live off their production - rather than condemn them, he said, to producing crops for export.
The French president spoke at a key climate change conference in Paris. Experts say the rising food prices are partly due to climate change - and because fields once used to grow food crops are now used to cultivate crops for cleaner-burning biofuels. Food prices have surged 40 percent since midyear last year.
In an interview on France's Europe 1 radio Friday, International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said cultivating biofuels instead of food posed a moral problem - and suggested a moratorium on biofuel cultivation.
Strauss-Kahn warned there would be more food riots to come, characterizing the situation as very serious. He said hundreds of millions of people would be affected by malnutrition and hunger. He said the world must find a response.
The two-day Paris conference, which ended Friday, aimed to reach agreement among 17 major carbon-dioxide emitting countries on drafting a new climate change treaty by 2009.