How To Escape the Global Food Crunch

The world's economic woes and the global food crunch were high on the agenda at an international conference organized by Italy's Aspen Institute in Rome this weekend.

ROME -- The current crisis in the world economy has worsened the global food ‘crunch’ that erupted into the media last year. In fact, the two crises are now so intertwined that it’s impossible to separate them.

That’s why the search for solutions to the food crisis only makes sense if it’s part of efforts to address international economic woes.

A high-profile conference organized by Italy’s Aspen Institute in Rome this weekend discussed strategies to reverse the current economic downturn and, within that framework, exploring ways of achieving food security for the world.

There are currently almost one billion people in the world who go to bed hungry every night. According to new World Bank figures, the number is likely to rise this year.

The Rome conference – Sustainable Capitalism: finance, commodities and the common good – was hosted by WFP at its headquarters in the Italian capital.  It was attended by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and around 100 economists, ministers, development experts and business leaders.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran spoke at a key session on the food crisis. She was joined by Joachim Von Braun, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute and musician Bob Geldof, who among other things is the founder of the Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 initiatives.

The conference was part of a wider initiative by the Aspen Institute to help define the guidelines for the G8 during its Italian presidency. Aspen’s objective is to find ways of having the public and private sectors work together towards a new “global deal” built around sustainable capitalism.