For Immediate Release
Bread for the World Cites Urgency of G-20 Economic Summit
WASHINGTON - Bread for the World president Rev. David Beckmann issued the following statement today regarding the upcoming economic summit by the leaders of the G-20 nations on the global financial crisis, scheduled for Saturday, November 15:
"The fact that a discussion about the current crisis was extended to the G-20 nations and includes leaders from developing countries is a recognition of their growing importance in the global economy and how central they are to a worldwide economic recovery.
"While the summit will focus on a coordinated response to the current crisis and reforming the global financial system to meet 21st century realities, it is urgent that the leaders of the 20 largest economies commit to helping low-income developing countries through this crisis.
"This financial crisis comes on the heels of a global hunger crisis triggered by two years of steadily rising food prices that surged in late 2007 and the beginning of 2008, compounded by an unprecedented rise in fuel prices through much of 2008. Most low-income countries are food and fuel importers and while many governments have stepped in to protect their citizens from absorbing the entire brunt of the price increases, they have limited resources to scale up social safety net programs and make the investments needed in agriculture. As a result, the World Bank estimates that more than 100 million people have fallen into extreme poverty and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the number suffering from hunger has increased by more than 75 million people.
"Since the summer, food and fuel prices have come down, but they are still higher than they were two years ago. The global financial crisis will make it more difficult for developing countries to access credit to meet their import bills. Developed countries and the multilateral financial institutions must step in to prevent further increases in hunger and poverty that could put at risk the progress that has been made toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals."
Beckmann added that the G-20 should also build on this historic summit by agreeing to reforms that give developing countries a greater voice in international institutions. "As the food, fuel and financial crises so vividly demonstrate, the world is interconnected in very profound and complex ways. The need for coordination at the global level is more urgent than ever before and with climate change occurring more rapidly than previously anticipated, that urgency is unlikely to diminish."