Editorial (November 2008)
During recent weeks, the developed world has seen the collapse and subsequent bail-out of many of its major financial institutions. Billions of dollars of support has been paid by governments in an effort to underpin the economy and lessen the impact of a worldwide recession.
FAO has stated that, with rising food and fuel prices, over 75 million people have fallen below the hunger threshold this year. It is not yet clear how much the current financial crisis will further impact on the poor. But there are concerns that despite the rapid assistance to ailing banks, developing countries will fail to be supported in the same way and that pledges of aid from donor countries will not be honoured.
In the shadow of these crises, aid organisations strive to help those most in need. In the Democratic Republic of Congo tens of thousands of people have fled amid escalating violence in the region. In My perspective, Sheila Sisulu of the World Food Organisation (WFP) stresses that whilst their emergency feeding programmes are vital in keeping people alive, much work needs to be done to break the long-term cycle of hunger. More on the current financial crisis and the lack of political will to fight worldwide hunger is highlighted in an overview of a recent a recent conference in Dublin.
Around the world, millions of people, particularly poor indigenous groups, depend on collective ownership of resources, including forests, pastures and wetlands, to survive. In Focus on Common resources, we review some of the threats, benefits, constraints and opportunities that are experienced by communities, whose efforts and dependence on such resources often goes unrecognised. In pictures features an insight into the lives of Maasai pastoralists, while the success of community dairies in Haiti are highlighted in Developments.
Trade not aid is often hailed as key to successful development. In our leading Book review, A Splendid exchange, author William Bernstein details how trade has changed the world - for better or worse. Improved marketing and trade was also a major part of discussions at an international conference on bananas and plantain in Kenya recently. A selection of viewpoints on how this versatile fruit can benefit African smallholders are summarised in Points of view.
Plans in Malawi to move away from food aid by promoting an ambitious new programme to develop fertile zones is reported in News brief, along with an update on the impact of the floods in Haiti, crop failure in Syria, and pests and diseases in Pakistan, Burma and Morocco. The challenge of living life in the Solomon Islands archipelago is reported in Country profile.
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Date published: November 2008
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- Sheila Sisulu, World Food Programme
- Financial crisis could worsen food crisis - FAO
- Malawi to focus on 'green belts'
- Solomon Islands
- Common resources
- African bananas - unlocking the potential
- Morocco and FAO battle PPR
- A Splendid exchange
- Burma's crops plundered by rats
- Making a splash: milk for the masses in Haiti
- Pakistan hails the 'destroyer'
- Ancient traditions, modern relevance
- Crops fail in Syria
- Fighting hunger in a time of crisis
- Haiti floods misery
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