Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Peace Prize’

Oxfam: Food Prices to Rise as More Go Hungry

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Climate change and decreasing natural resources will put greater pressure on the world’s supply of food over the next several decades,  threatening millions of people with chronic hunger, according to a report from Oxfam International. The British-based charity says that the world’s food system is “broken,” and that food price increases have driven 44 million people worldwide into poverty already  in 2011.  “Our world is capable of feeding all of humanity yet one in seven of us are hungry today,” said Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.  “As climate change impacts become increasingly severe and fertile land and fresh water supplies become increasingly scarce, feeding the world will get harder still.  Millions more men, women and children will go hungry unless we transform our broken food system.”

Oxfam blames the coming crisis on governments, businesses and wealthy elites.  “Paralysis is imposed upon us by a powerful minority of vested interests that profit from the status quo,” says the report, titled “Growing a Better Future.”  Oxfam points to the price of corn as one example of the system’s problems.  The price of this staple is expected to double over next 20 years.  The impact of climate change on the crop is blamed for 50 percent of that increase.  Use of corn for biofuels also is responsible.  “U.S. policy ensures 15 percent of the world’s maize is diverted to engines, even at times of severe food crisis.  The grain required to fill the petrol tank of an SUV with biofuels is sufficient to feed one person for a year,” Oxfam said.

According to the report,  “Now the major powers, the old and the new, must cooperate, not compete, to share resources, build resilience, and tackle climate change.  The economic crisis means that we have moved decisively beyond the era of the G8, when a few rich country governments tried to craft global solutions by and for themselves.  The governments of poorer nations must also have a seat at the table, for they are on the front lines of climate change, where many of the battles — over land, water, and food — are being fought.”

According to the report food demand will soar 70 to 90 percent by 2050, and that doesn’t take the impact of climate change into account.  Additionally, droughts, floods and changes in agricultural patterns from global warming will add pressure on the food system.  “The food system is buckling under intense pressure from climate change, ecological degradation, population growth, rising energy prices, rising demand for meat and dairy products and competition for land for biofuels, industry and urbanization,” the report says, noting that the number of people going hungry is expected to surpass one billion by the end of 2011.

Oxfam wants governments, especially the G20 nations, “to lead the transformation to a fairer more sustainable food system by investing in agriculture; valuing the world’s natural resources; better managing the food system; and delivering equality for women who grow much of the world’s food.  The report also points out that the private sector needs to change to a business model where profit “does not come at the expense of poor producers, consumers and the environment.”

The average cost of key crops will increase by 120 to 180 percent in the next 20 years, according to the report.  “The food system must be overhauled if we are to overcome the increasingly pressing challenges of climate change, spiraling food prices and the scarcity of land, water and energy,” Stocking said.

The “Oxfam Grow” campaign is led by Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.

President Barack Obama, Nobel Laureate

Monday, October 19th, 2009

apg_obama_nobel_091009_mnThe announcement that President Barack Obama, after just nine months in the Oval Office, had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize stunned the world — including the humbled recipient.

“I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize,” Obama said in remarks to the press in the White House Rose Garden.  “I will accept the award as a call to action, a call to all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said they chose to award Obama the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”  Thorbjoern Jagland, the Nobel committee chairman, said “only rarely has a person such as Obama captured the world’s attention and given his people hope for a better future.  His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitude that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

Obama becomes only the third sitting American president to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  He joins Teddy Roosevelt, who won the 1906 award for his efforts in ending the Russo-Japanese War.  The other is Woodrow Wilson, who won the 1919 prize  for negotiating the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I and his efforts in creating the League of Nations.

Obama intends to donate the $1.4 million cash prize to charity.

In congratulating him, we should also remember the extraordinary heroes who were nominated this year, including Morgan Tsvangirai – the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe – and Denis Mukwege – a gynecologist who specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang raped by Congolese militia.