he president of the World Bank yesterday urged immediate action to deal with sharply rising food prices, which have caused hunger and violence in several countries.
Robert B. Zoellick said the international community has to “put our money where our mouth is” now to help hungry people. Zoellick spoke as the bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, ended two days of meetings in Washington.
He called on governments to rapidly carry out commitments to provide the U.N. World Food Program with $500 million in emergency aid by May 1. Prices have only risen further since the program issued that appeal, so it is urgent that governments step up, he said.
Zoellick said that the fall of the government in Haiti over the weekend after a wave of deadly rioting and looting over food prices underscores the importance of quick international action.
He said the bank is granting an additional $10 million to Haiti for food programs.
Zoellick said that international finance meetings are “often about talk,” but he noted a “greater sense of intensity and focus” among ministers; now, he said, they have to “translate it into greater action.” – wp