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May 2, 2008

UN to have a plan to tackle global food crisis

The United Nations is aiming to have in place a comprehensive plan to tackle the global food crisis by the beginning of June, Antara news agency quoted Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes as saying.

The UN`s action plan "around which the institutions and leaders of the world can coalesce," is to be readied in time for a meeting of the world body`s agencies in Rome to be held in June, he said.

One of two coordinators of a high-powered task force set up to organise responses to the global rise in food prices, Holmes said the breadth and complexity of the issue needed to be recognised, but there was no need to panic.

"I think it is clear we can fix these problems. The solutions can be found. They are very difficult, some of them, in the short term, but they can be done," he said.

UN System Influenza Coordinator David Nabarro, is the other coordinator of the task force announced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to organise responses to the global rise in food prices.

On the role of grain-based biofuels in the current crisis, Holmes said, "It is something that needs a new look without wanting to fall into knee-jerk reactions of saying all bio-fuels are bad or good".

The Under-Secretary-General also said the crisis was not affecting every country in the same way. "In some places and for some groups, particularly those living on less than a dollar a day, that could become a matter of life and death," he said.

The task force is chaired by Ban and consists of the heads of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Trade Organisation among other agencies.

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