Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010

Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010
Finalist for society, politics, history blogs



Saturday, January 28, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The Middle East and North Africa or MENA has some good news going concerning clean energy. This surely freshens the region a bit that has been mired in bloody conflicts between the youth-driven anti-Old Order movements and the status quo of Stone Age prinzeps-military dictatorships-family oligarchies.

US $9 Billions was allocated recently by stakeholders in Morocco to leapfrog the renewable energy or RE sector there. The project is largely in the domain of solar panel power production, which I find truly appreciable. The project could spin off RE across the entire region, or at least North Africa, so let’s cross our fingers that a new light will spark off human development in the entire region.

Below is a report on the subject from the World Bank.

[Philippines, 28 December 2011]


Morocco lights the way to a clean-energy future

Submitted by Inger Andersen on November 18, 2011

Some countries of the Middle East and North Africa region are once again lighting up a new path. Following the social revolutions which showed the world the effect of combining non-violent protest with new media technology, an energy revolution is now underway. It also utilizes cutting-edge technology with the potential to lead the world into a new energy era. Pointing beyond fossil fuels, this revolution aims to harness an older and more abundant resource: sunshine.

Morocco has launched a National Solar Plan that is as bold as it is ambitious. Using Concentrated Solar Power technology, this $9 billion project aims to build five commercial-scale solar plants, with a generating capacity of 2,000 megawatts, the equivalent of a large nuclear power plant. The first solar plant will be constructed on the Ouarzazate plateau, south of the Atlas mountains, and is expected to begin generating power by 2014, with the full project slated for completion in 2020.

Morocco might be classified as a developing nation, but it is making a huge investment in its future, and championing the challenges of climate summits in Copenhagen and Cancun to fundamentally change our energy consumption models to protect the environment. This is no small feat for a country almost wholly reliant on coal and oil. Ouarzazate represents the first step in a radical transformation that by 2030 aims to cut the country's consumption of oil by 40 percent. Morocco currently imports 97% of its primary fuels, and this move toward domestic production will both provide significant energy security and eventually convert it into an energy exporter.

Apart from the economic benefits gained from nurturing a new industry - with the new jobs and skills it will create - the investment will also be a boon to the environment. It is calculated that the first phase of the Ouarzazate project will spare the atmosphere the equivalent of 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, while the full solar project will reduce annual emissions by three million tons.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is on the sharp end of climate change. Significant action to mitigate its effects is a necessity, not a subject for debate. Of the 19 countries that experienced record temperatures in 2010, five were in MENA.

From a development standpoint, this sort of extreme weather can have disastrous social and economic consequences; reversing gains and driving people back into poverty. The effect of lower precipitation and droughts is one example and precious water resources will become increasingly scarcer forcing people to spend more time looking for it, potentially foregoing critical activities such as education. In Yemen, where the search for water is the culturally defined job of young women, water scarcity could have a multi-generational impact on gender parity.

Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and while MENA is already grappling with its very real consequences, Morocco is showing a way forward. It is moving beyond pronouncements and translating commitments into actions. It is taking advantage of its wide open spaces and abundant sunshine. Although the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund are supporting the project with low-cost financing, the leadership is Morocco's own. It is the first to launch a project under the MENA Concentrated Solar Power Scale-Up Program, a landmark World Bank development initiative that is designed to fund eight other commercial-scale power plants in the region.

Concentrated Solar Power technology has proven dependable in generating consistent levels of electricity, and the Moroccan plan will prove its suitability to large-scale industrial application. It will also prove to all the participants of the COP 15 and 16 climate summits, that mitigating the effects of climate change through the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy is possible. It just means taking the summit pronouncements seriously, and turning them into bold actions.

There is no GDP test for innovation. It is not size that matters, but vision and commitment, and Morocco is displaying plenty of both. The progress of the National Solar Plan will be watched closely by its neighbors, eager to follow in its footsteps. Morocco could very well unleash a green energy revolution in the heart of the sunshine belt.


PEACE & DEVELOPMENT LINKS:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Thursday, January 26, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

We have a gladdening news about the Himalayan region regarding the potentialities of renewable energy or RE as impetus for economic prosperity. Eight (8) countries in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region particularly manifest high potentials for RE-driven growth.

The question that is now rising from the emerging green tech boom there is: who owns the said RE boom altogether? Who is in control, who pays up the greatest for the boom, what yields will there be for the peoples of the 8-country region?

Without such a control over the boom’s compass and yields, there is always the danger of financial predators using the RE boom to extract the greatest profits out of their greedy pursuits, which will cancel out the people-prospering side of development.

Below is a report on the subject from the

[Philippines, 27 December 2011]


Himalayan countries urged to own their green tech boom

Smriti Mallapaty

21 November 2011

[KATHMANDU] Himalayan countries should support and invest in green technologies if such initiatives are to succeed and bring benefits to the economy in the long term, a meeting has heard.

Eight countries in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region are making progress in development and uptake of renewable energy technologies, which can maintain sustainable economic growth for mountain communities, a workshop in Kathmandu heard earlier this month (2–4 November).

Further investments could provide environmental, social and economic benefits to mountain communities, experts told the meeting, which was organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

But it is uncertain whether poorer countries could sustain investment in green technology development without external support and this dependency on donor funding could hamper the progress made so far, experts warned.

Suresh Kumar Dhungel, senior scientist at Nepal National Academy of Science and Technology, told SciDev.Net: "The sad part is that Nepal's efforts are not solely ours, it is all guided by funds from international donor agencies. Policymakers need to realise the importance of a green society."

Golam Rasul, head of ICIMOD's economic analysis division said: "The initial cost of renewable energy is high compared with fossil fuel based energy. The technology we are using now is not very cost-effective. Technologically advanced countries should support research in this field."

Rasul said regional cooperation and transboundary energy trade could offer a way out.

"Bhutan and Nepal have huge hydropower potential but lack technical capacity and large markets, whereas India and Bangladesh are power hungry," Rasul said.

Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar, deputy director-general of the National Environmental Protection Agency, of the Afghanistan, told SciDev.Net climatic environments may need different green technologies, appropriate for local circumstances.

Prem Pokhrel, climate and energy programme officer at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, Nepal, said that almost a million households in Nepal are benefiting from micro-hydro power plants, improved cooking stoves, domestic biogas plants, and solar home systems. This saves an estimated 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Pokhrel described an 'energy ladder' of rising income, where households transition from wood and animal-based fuels to electricity and other clean energy, as they get richer. This also translated into better health for women and children, said Pokhrel. He added that uptake of clean energy can also help generate better income.

ICIMOD organised a conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Mountain Development: Opportunities and Challenges in View of Rio+20 in September, which produced a concept paper 'Green Economy for Sustainable Mountain Development'.

One of the key recommendations to the national governments from the concept paper was to "adopt alternative forms of energy such as hydropower, wind power, biogas, and solar energy to reduce negative impacts from the use of fossil fuels and fuel wood".

Link to 'Green Economy for Sustainable Mountain Development: a concept paper for Rio+20 and beyond'


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Sunday, January 22, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Severe drought just struck northern Afghanistan, inducing shortfalls in crop yields. Over 2 millions of Afghans up north have begun to feel the severity of the shortfall.

The news is surely alarming, as it comes amid the eco-catastrophes of similar types in the Horn of Africa, parts of Pakistan, and other regions of the planet. The seeming coincidence of too many droughts is indicative of the dire consequences of ecological changes brought forth by both human intervention and natural phenomena.

Meantime, as winter now knocks at the doors of northern hemispheric communities, over 2 millions of Afghans face coupling disasters of hunger, diseases, and gargantuan mortalities due to the drought there. Is the world ready to respond to the new eco-challenge and help out the said small tillers and workers?

[Philippines, 26 December 2011]


In Afghanistan, Millions Face Hunger as Winter Approaches

More than 2 million people in northern Afghanistan are facing hunger following a severe drought that has caused crop shortfall in the region. The situation is expected to worsen with the upcoming winter, according to several aid groups.

Nine aid groups, including Oxfam, have released a joint statement to highlight the situation and urge the international community and Afghan government to ensure people receive the food assistance they require quickly.

“Donors and relief agencies must remain vigilant and responsive as more resources will be required if the situation deteriorates because of a harsh winter,” said Manohar Shenoy, Oxfam’s country director in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press.

Some aid agencies have also raised questions on why the situation in northern Afghanistan persists despite the billions of dollars in foreign aid received by the country.

One theory is that donors focus their aid programs in Helmand, Kandahar and other conflict-torn cities in southern Afghanistan, BBC notes, adding that aid agencies have slammed this policy, which they describe as “militarized aid.”

“They are aiming on winning hearts and minds by implementing quick fix, quick impact projects,” said Louise Hancock, Oxfam’s policy and advocacy director in Afghanistan. “These result in schools being built in areas where there are no roads going to them, where needs are not at their greatest or where there are not enough teachers to staff that school.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.


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Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Whether this news is gladdening or not, the Asian Development Bank had extended emergency funds worth US $3 million to Thailand to shore up the country’s relief and rehabilitation operations in light of the massive flooding there.

The amount is surely token, as it is worth some couples of toothpick cases for the millions of affected persons. Thailand surely deserves larger relief assistance, most specially from the global corporations that have been operating in the Bangkok region as their central hub in the whole of Asia. The oligarchic companies surely remember Thailand only when their cash registers inflow from their profitable operations, but shirk from the responsibility of helping out during calamities and catastrophies.

Better indeed that the ADB provides some aid for toothpick packs than none at all. Hopefully the same continental bank would allocate billions of dollars for new investments in the country as a way of compensating its toothpick mentality during worst calamities.

[Philippines, 25 December 2011]


ADB Gives Emergency Support to Thailand after Worst Floods in over 50 Years

21 November 2011

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing emergency assistance of $3 million to help Thailand get back on its feet in the wake of the country’s worst flooding in more than half a century.

“The scale and magnitude of the floods are immense and this grant will help Thailand address some of the most immediate, pressing needs,” said Craig Steffensen, ADB’s Country Director in Thailand.

The floods, sparked by heavy rains in August and September, have over 600 people dead and inundated homes, farmland and businesses, including parts of the capital Bangkok and surrounding districts. All affected provinces have been declared disaster areas and the country’s gross domestic product could decline by up to 2% as a result of the devastation.

ADB’s grant will support the provision of food, water, and other essential services to people who have been forced to flee their homes and others affected by the floods. It will be coordinated with assistance being provided by other development partners, including the United Nations, World Bank, European Union, Japan and the United States.

The grant is being provided from ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which was established in 2009 to provide quick disbursing grants to help countries affected by natural calamities meet their immediate needs. It also helps bridge the gap ahead of longer term post-disaster reconstruction assistance and disaster risk reduction initiatives.


Sunday, January 15, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

So many conflicts are happening across the globe at this moment, leading to mass migrations of affected non-combatants. Rebel groups bent on forming mini-states, such as those on the African continent, form a ceaseless phenomenal tapestry of violence and migrations.

Incidentally, many migrants have returned to the homeland, or as in the case of other migrants they get absorbed in the host countries. Let us take the case of Cote d’Ivoire that has been badly hit by the same rebel syndrome messianically forming mini-states in the most gruesome conflicts one can imagine.

Migrants that used to be sheltered in tent cities of sorts are back in the country. Let’s take a cursory visit to the life of these lucky migrants via the reportage of the IOM below.

[Philippines, 23 December 2011]


First Group of Internally Displaced Persons Return to Their Villages in Western Cote d’Ivoire

Posted on Friday, 18-11-2011

Cote d’Ivoire - Seven months after the end of the post electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, hundreds of families who sought refuge in camps in the west of the country, are finally returning home with IOM assistance.

On 16 November 2011, IOM in coordination with government authorities and partner agencies carried out the first organized return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from a displaced centre in the western town of Duékoué to surrounding villages.

A first IOM convoy of 103 families (459 individuals) left the overcrowded Catholic Mission holding centre in Duékoué for various nearby communities. Other returns are planned over the next few days, with the remaining families scheduled for relocation in a nearby camp in Nahibly.

Up to 25,000 IDPs sought refuge in and around the Catholic Mission in Duékoué at the peak of the conflict. Currently, an estimated 17,000 displaced persons are still living in camps throughout Cote d’Ivoire, in addition to thousands of others who are staying with host communities.

Security improvements in the region have encouraged many displaced persons to consider returning to villages, with many families excited at the prospect of returning home.

"I think I will do better by returning to my village," one of the returnees told IOM. "Life in the camp has been good because it has provided us with security. Now things are better, I need to go home and re-build my life for the sake of my children."

Residents of other IDP camps in Western Cote d’Ivoire who are willing to return to their villages will be assisted by IOM and its partners to do so.

Over the past weeks, IOM has organized several "go-and-see visits" for IDPs who saw that living conditions in their home villages had steadily improved. On their return, they shared information with those who stayed back in the camps. This information helped them in their decision to return or not.

However, many families are still too frightened to return immediately, though they intend to do so at a later date. Some say they will have nowhere to stay because their houses were destroyed during the conflict. Others are afraid of gun-carrying traditional fighters and other armed men, while a good number fear those who they say illegally occupied their plantations after they had fled.

IOM is currently rehabilitating some 300 destroyed homes in some of the worst conflict-affected areas in the west of Cote d’Ivoire and is stocking up on non-food items, which include plastic sheeting, mattresses, mats, kitchen sets, buckets, etc. for distribution to families in need.

As the IDPs return, they will undoubtedly face the daunting task of putting their lives back together. IOM will continue to conduct follow-up missions in the areas of return, to ascertain the living conditions, with the aim of providing the assistance that is needed for sustainability.

In order to do this IOM will appeal to the donor community for financial aid. The current activities are being carried out thanks to donations from the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), the European Union Humanitarian Assistance (ECHO), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Australian Assistance for International Development (AUSAID).

For further information, please contact:

David Coomber
IOM Cote d’Ivoire
Tel: +225 048 30 444


Saturday, January 14, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

How much transparency is involved in the aid phenomenon? Is the transparency coming from the donor or from the recipient, or from both sides of the aid coin?

Whatever agenda will be taken up concerning the aid problem in Busan, the transparency question would surely ring the strongest decibels. And may we stress DECIBELS, as we anticipate debates that could be so emotional as they can shoot up adrenalin to feverish levels. Discourses will be accompanied by high tenor rationalizations, with finger-pointing blaming in the menu of presentations.

“Busan Busan on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” could be a guide thought in the report on the subject below.

[Philippines, 22 December 2011]


Ahead of Busan: How Countries Rank on Aid Transparency

The majority of international aid donors are not publishing enough information about the money they give, undermining the effectiveness of development spending and damaging public trust, according to the Aid Transparency Index 2011 released earlier this week by Publish What You Fund. The report comes just two weeks before the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea.

Aid is a scarce and precious resource, which, if spent well, can make a major difference to the lives and prospects of people and countries receiving it. However, a lack of comprehensive, timely and comparable aid information means that donor governments do not know enough about where their own money is being spent with what effect, nor can they can compare and coordinate what they are doing with other agencies around the world.

Without comparable data, aid-recipient countries cannot plan their own spending properly or measure impact. Equally, taxpayers in both donor and recipient countries are unable to hold their government to account for spending the money well.

Major donors including the United States, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Canada, Italy and Australia perform poorly in Publish What You Fund’s pilot Aid Transparency Index, in spite of pledges to improve at the high-level meetings in 2005 and 2008. The five best-ranked donors are the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the African Development Bank, The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.K.’s Department for International Development.

The index – the first of its kind - ranks 58 donor agencies according to how much information they provide across 35 different indicators. The average score of 34 percent shows that although some donors have made good progress, the majority need to do much more. No donors ranked in the top category “good,” which requires a score of over 80 percent.

The fifteen worst-performers (Spain, Portugal, U.S. Department of Defense, U.K. Commonwealth Development Corp., Latvia, U.S. Treasury, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Greece, Cyprus and Malta) all scored less than 19 percent, with the bottom two scoring zero percent.

The report calls on all donors to sign up to and implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative, which provides a common standard for publishing data and has the potential to transform the way aid is managed. It urges donors to use the upcoming High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan to commit to publish timely, comprehensive and comparable information on aid by 2015.

The Make Aid Transparent campaign was launched in June this year to urge governments to maintain commitments to publish to IATI at Busan. In the last 6 months the campaign has gained real ground. It is now supported by over 100 organisations and 8000 people internationally and has been presented around the world, including in London, Paris, Washington, Yemen, Honduras, and Berlin. The Make Aid Transparent campaign will be handing the petition signatures to country ministers at the meeting in Busan at the end of the month.


Friday, January 13, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Is the Somalia famine hopelessly irreversible? If the catastrophe can be reversed, can the interventions be sustained without aid from external donors?

Those are pretty tough questions to answer. Admittedly, the famine in the Horn is too large a human & nature predicament, with over 11 millions of hungry people affected at its peak some couples of months ago. Somalia seems to be a classic basketcase of the catastrophe, as the problem there is complicated by peace & order challenges.

Below is a reportage on the subject by the UNDP. Note that the UNDP experts have taken the standpoint that the problem can be reversed but with substantial assistance from benevolent sources.

[Philippines, 21 December 2011]


Famine in Somalia can only be reversed with continued assistance

21 November 2011

Water tanks have also been placed along the routes being used by displaced people. (Photo: OCHA/Buhaene)

Nairobi – Increased humanitarian assistance to Somalia has had a significant impact in the famineaffected parts, bringing the three southern regions of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle out of famine.

However, according to the latest data compiled by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and Famine Early Warning System in southern Somalia, famine persists in parts of the Middle Shabelle region and in the areas hosting internally displaced persons in the capital Mogadishu and along the Afgooye corridor, northwest of the city.

Malnutrition and mortality rates in many parts of southern Somalia continue to be the highest in the world.

“Any improvements can only be sustained if the current level of humanitarian assistance continues,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, who also serves as the UN Development Programme’s Resident Representative.

“If humanitarian activities are interrupted or reduced in southern Somalia, many areas will fall back into famine. It is only thanks to the generosity of donors that we have been able to save tens of thousands of lives in the past three months. We need this support to continue or the price we pay will be the loss of thousands of lives.”

The UN and other partners are working to increase access to food, markets and health services. UNDP has been working in Mogadishu and in some of the famine-affected districts building shallow wells, boreholes and water pumps, rehabilitating essential agricultural infrastructure, and helping to create short term jobs which allow households to improve access to food.

Somalia continues to face the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with over half of its population in urgent need of assistance.

Three million out of the four million people in crisis are in southern Somalia, where access to the population in need remains a major challenge.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Here’s the bad news for everyone across the globe: global food prices remain high. In the Horn of Africa particulary, food crisis remains as the calamity that recently hit the area bordered a catastrophe of drought cum famine.

As Zoellick of World Bank had contended, the food crisis is far from over. Calamities after calamities have struck different parts of the globe in a super-convergent fashion, thus contributing to the high price index of food as a whole. Thailand is still under flood waters as of November, thus hampering the overall grains production, leading to further speculation in the cross-border prices of grains.

Below is a summary of the bad news going about food prices.

[Philippines, 20 December 2011]


Global Food Prices Remain High and Volatile Affecting Poorest Countries the Most

Press Release No:2012/134/PRM

Floods in Thailand add further uncertainty. Food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2011–Global food prices remain high and volatile, hitting the poorest countries hardest and adding to the strains facing the global economy, according to the World Bank Group’s new Food Price Watch released ahead of the G-20 Summit in Cannes, France. While the Bank’s food price index has dropped 5 percent from its February 2011 peak and dipped marginally in September by one percent, it remains 19 percent above its September 2010 levels.

“The food crisis is far from over,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick, who has urged the G-20 to put food first. “Prices remain volatile and millions of people around the world are still suffering. The World Bank has been working closely with the French Presidency of the G-20 and our partner international organizations on actions to protect the most vulnerable from the dangers of food price volatility, while also addressing some of its root causes. Let's remember, averting crisis is not just about banks and debt. Millions of people around the world face a daily crisis of hunger and malnutrition. At Cannes, the G-20 can and should take steps to address their needs."

The Group of 20 heads of government, who are meeting in Cannes Nov. 3– 4 to discuss the global economy, are expected to endorse a package of concrete actions to improve transparency and policy coordination to detect and correct problems early; to help countries manage price volatility using sound risk management tools; to promote more productive and resilient agriculture; and to get food to the needy fast through emergency regional humanitarian food reserves and agreement not to ban exports of food for World Food Programme. As the world population reaches a staggering 7 billion people, it is more important than ever for the global community to galvanize around actions to improve food security.

According to Food Price Watch, a quarterly report, recent floods in Thailand−the worst in 50 years−may add uncertainty in the short run following estimated production losses of between 16 to 24 percent of total production. In the meantime, the food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, affecting over 13.3 million people in the region–an additional million since August, and the outlook remains frightening.

The report said prices of grains rose 30 percent (September 2010–September 2011), with maize increasing by 43 percent, rice by 26 percent and wheat 16 percent. Soybean oil went up by 26 percent. Over the last quarter, however, an increase of 3 percent in the price of grains was roughly offset by a 3 percent decline in the prices of fats and oils.

Volatility, which is higher in low income countries, is expected to persist in the medium term due to multiple global and domestic factors. Structural factors contributing to the volatility include rising populations and changing diets, increasingly intertwined relations between food and energy prices, and increasing production of biofuels.

On the other hand, a favorable outlook on supply and stocks is likely to relieve some of the pressure on global food prices. Latest forecasts show global wheat stocks reaching a 10-year high in 2011-12, global production of maize to rise by 4 percent from increased production in Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia, and Ukraine. Global rice output is also likely to get a boost in 2011-12 due to an expected bumper harvest in India following very favorable monsoon rains.

These production gains in some markets underscore the critical need to keep international markets open, to get food where it is needed, provide incentives to farmers who expand production, and avoid panic behavior created by export bans.

While a troubled global economy could dampen demand and push food prices down, the effect on developing countries would be mixed−hurting food exporting countries and poor producers in rural areas, and benefiting food importers and consumers. The problem, Food Price Watch warns, is that developing countries might have now limited resources to protect vulnerable populations following the economic crisis and stimulus spending.

In addition, fears associated with the global economy may affect medium to long-term investments in agricultural research and more productive agricultural techniques, especially amid persistent volatility.

Among the ongoing efforts to improve volatility-related information, the G-20 agriculture ministers introduced the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), officially launched in September, to increase market transparency on the short-term global food outlook, especially stocks, and to identify abnormal international market conditions in order to prompt early responses.

How the World Bank Group is helping to put food first

In the Horn of Africa, the World Bank Group is providing $1.88 billion to save lives, improve social protection, and foster economic recovery and drought resilience. More than 13 million people are affected by the crisis.

A first-of-its-kind World Bank Group risk management product, provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will enable up to $4 billion in protection from volatile food prices for farmers, food producers, and consumers in developing countries.

The Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) is helping some 40 million people through $1.5 billion in support.

The World Bank Group is boosting its spending on agriculture to some $6 to $8 billion a year from $4.1 billion in 2008.

Supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), set up by the World Bank Group in April 2010 at G-20’s request, to assist country-led agriculture and food security plans and help promote investments in smallholder farmers. To date, six countries and the Gates Foundation have pledged about $971.5 million over the next three years, with $571 million received.

The World Bank Group is coordinating with UN agencies through the High-Level task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis and with NGOs.

The World Bank Group supports the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), which it helped to establish in 1971. In 2008, the CGIAR with the support of the World Bank and other donors launched a reform process, which culminated in the adoption of a comprehensive strategy that determines the new global research programs and a new funding model that prepares CGIAR to absorb and attract vastly more program funding, with a target annual budget of $1 billion by 2013, to which the World Bank contributes some $50 million per year. With agriculture production needing to rise some 70 percent by 2050, and with a five- to ten-year window to develop new varieties and get them to farmers, increased funding from the international community for global research is critical.


In Washington: Alejandra Viveros, (202) 473-4306,

For Broadcast Requests: Natalia Cieslik, (202) 458-9369,

To access Food Price Watch, please click:

Food Price Watch author, Jose Cuesta will take part in World Bank Live online discussion about Global Food Prices on Tuesday, November 8 at 10:00 am EST (15:00 GMT). Participate and submit questions in advance here:

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