Statement by Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on food price increases
New York, 23 April 2008 - UNICEF joins the World Food Programme and other UN agencies in expressing concern that food price increases are having negative social, economic and political impacts, especially in low income and least developed countries. Poor households spending as much as 70% of their income on food are most at risk. Rising food prices are likely to affect the most vulnerable populations such as people depending on humanitarian assistance, orphans, those affected by HIV and AIDS, refugees and poor urban families. The increase in food prices may not only slow down progress towards achieving health and nutrition related MDGs, but can also reverse or negatively impact child-related social indicators
It is critical that interventions to alleviate the situation are evidence-based. UNICEF is closely monitoring the nutrition situation and the impact of the food price increases on women and children, and especially the most vulnerable groups. On this basis UNICEF is working with governments and partners to assess short-, medium and long-term interventions. The most urgent priority is to help children that are already malnourished and protect vulnerable populations from tipping into levels of chronic malnutrition.