IMF, World Bank must support poor countries facing food price volatility, Euro crisis
The World Bank and IMF must step up their support for developing countries who are struggling with spiking food prices along with the fallout from Europe’s fiscal crisis, international agency Oxfam said ahead of the annual meeting of the institutions in Tokyo this week.
World food prices are now close to their 2008-2009 peak and the economic downturn in Europe and the US is hurting poor country revenues. Worse still, food price rises threaten to fuel an upturn in land grabbing in developing countries as competition for natural resources intensifies. Oxfam has called on the World Bank to temporarily freeze its agricultural investments in land while it reviews its policies to prevent land-grabs and sets higher investment standards.
Oxfam spokesperson Elizabeth Stuart said: “As food prices rise, investors are buying up huge tracts of land: in the last 10 years, land in developing countries six times the size of Japan has been sold. Too often, these deals are land grabs where poor people are evicted without consultation or compensation.”
“The World Bank must help protect poor people’s livelihoods and food sources. As an investor and an adviser to developing countries, it can help prevent poor people being kicked off their land without consultation or compensation.”
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has said the Tokyo meetings will highlight rising food prices, the impact of climate change on farmers around the globe, and the Eurozone debt crisis.
Stuart said: “These are the right issues to target. Volatile food costs, failing aid and reduced capital flows are hitting poor countries hard.”
At the same time, a Eurozone breakup could cost the world’s poorest countries $30 billion in lost trade and foreign investment, Oxfam has calculated, pulling them into a spiral of falling export earnings, damaging their economies and putting pressure on already limited resources for social services. The IMF has warned that low income countries have run down their fiscal buffers.
Stuart said: “The IMF must work with developing country governments to ensure they have the policy space to increase health and education spending which is essential for social stability, tackling income inequality and for growth.”
Act now to stop land grabs: Sign the petition to the president of the World Bank
Notes to Editors
Oxfam has a team of policy experts at the Tokyo meetings, available for comment and analysis in English, Japanese, French and Arabic.
Oxfam's new report Our Land, Our Lives warns that more than 60 per cent of investments in agricultural land by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010 were in developing countries with serious hunger problems.
- US number: +1 202 321 2967
- Tokyo number: 080-6849-1653
Thx for speaking up for women: @MarsGlobal,#Mondelez & @Nestle have now moved from words 2 action http://t.co/laFtaWajFI #BehindTheBrands1 day 19 hours ago
UN agency and Slow Food group partner to boost livelihoods of small farmers http://t.co/l0YMT9yyk8 @SlowFoodHQ2 days 1 hour ago
RT @oxfamgbpress: Oxfam very relieved that Cyclone #Mahasen did not cause damage to vulnerable communities in Myanmar http://t.co/t2VwONPjs02 days 2 hours ago
RT @annamac33: The #ArmsTreaty can create a safer future for millions. Urge the US to sign! http://t.co/HRlNC8BcO32 days 3 hours ago
#FF Oxfam Global Ambassadors @KristinDavis @GaelGarciaB @driverminnie @liviafirth @baabamaal @HelenLMirren @BoseOfficial2 days 3 hours ago
#FF Oxfam Global Ambassadors @AnnieLennox @djimonhounsou @angeliquekidjo @firthcom @coldplay @RahulBose1 http://t.co/rXOrgldjlt2 days 3 hours ago
Thanks for speaking up for women! @MarsGlobal #Mondelez & @Nestle have moved from words to action http://t.co/pMvtbhesPh #BehindTheBrands2 days 5 hours ago
#FF the Oxfams! @IntermonOxfam @OxfamIndia @OxfamJapan @oxfamnovib @OxfamQuebec @Oxfam_mcm @OxfamItalia @oxfam_sol @oxfamfrance2 days 6 hours ago
#FF the Oxfams! @OxfamIreland @oxfamcanada @OxfamAustralia @Oxfam_DE @OxfamAmerica @oxfamgb @oxfamnz @oxfamhongkong @oxfammexico2 days 6 hours ago
Dismal levels of investment in agriculture a primary reason 1 in 8 people in the world are hungry http://t.co/orbRUxuVQo #govspendwatch2 days 20 hours ago
'A Jungle of Humanity - and Disorder', an interactive feature from @nytimes http://t.co/DxmATtGICV #SyriaCrisis #Zaatari2 days 22 hours ago
RT @benphillips76 How to Start Development’s Gutenberg Revolution http://t.co/DbieZs9UBZ #govspendwatch2 days 23 hours ago
Social protection, #genderequality & #climatechange crucial to tackling inequality http://t.co/mKqSIBcceM via @guardian #govspendwatch3 days 1 hour ago
RT @louis_belanger Starting to see Syrian refugees all over #Beirut On promenade, on Hamra, outside grocery stores, in parking lots #Syria3 days 1 hour ago
Are governments meeting their #MDG spending targets? Read the blog http://t.co/3bF1lhH8AX #govspendwatch #MDGs3 days 2 hours ago