U.N. experts seek new fund to support world’s poor

A new global initiative ensuring the social protection of the world’s poorest people is a growing necessity, two United Nations independent experts said Tuesday, noting that without such a program, chronic unemployment, food insecurity, and natural disasters would pose continuous impediments to those seeking to emerge from poverty.

In a joint news release, Magdalena Sepúlveda and Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteurs on extreme poverty and the right to food, respectively, urged the creation of a global fund for social protection, stating that 2 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product would be enough to provide all the world’s poor with basic social protection from the effects of unemployment, illness, disability, crop failure and soaring food costs.

The experts’ proposal comes on the heels of a new hunger report published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. The report said that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010 to 2012.

“Following this summer’s drought in the US, food prices are dangerously high for the third time in five years and hunger remains at unacceptably high levels, as today’s FAO figures show,” Ms. Sepúlveda and De Schutter stated.

“The right to food is denied every time prices spike and people are no longer able to put food on the table. Food and other basics must not be left to the mercy of economic cycles – the world’s poorest citizens must be able to fall back on basic social protection,” they added.

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