Statement by Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on food price increases
New York, 24 April 2008 - UNICEF joins the World Food Programme and other UN agencies in expressing concern that food price increases are having negative social and economic impacts, especially in low income and least developed countries. Poor households already spending as much as 70 per cent 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 Millennium Development Goals, 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 children and women, and especially of the most vulnerable groups. On this basis UNICEF is working with governments and other partners to assess the need for short, medium and long-term interventions. The most urgent priority is to help children who are already malnourished and prevent the nutrition situation of affected populations from worsening.