Food On The G8 Menu at Lake Toya

G8 meetings are a way for our dear leaders to get together and share their pain. I bet they have a lot to moan about in those private sessions. Mum's the word: privacy, secrecy (until it is time to write that best-selling ghost-written auto-biography).

Some 40,000 special police are now everywhere, at all big subway stations, in major parts of cities. Japan has turned itself into a kind, soft, friendly little surveillance state. OK, noone wants a repeat of what happened in London last summer (50 dead). So cheer up, we will all probably be safe.

What do you think they should be debating at Lake Toya, Hokkaido?

Alex Evans at Global Dashboard examines the G8 Agenda. Yes, climate change and energy issues are all very important. What really strikes me as the top item this year is food:

Sir John Holmes’s UN task force will be presenting its final report at the Summit. Leaders will probably pledge to do everything they can to increase food production and increase investment in agriculture - which is a good idea, though it does still leave the small fact that enough food is produced for everyone to eat today, but there are still 850-950 million undernourished people. Increasing yields isn’t the whole story.

This Task Force is chaired by the UN Secretary-General and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf is the Vice-Chairman. UN Under-Secretary-General John Holmes is Task Force Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General David Nabarro as Deputy Coordinator.

The primary aim of the Task Force is to promote a unified response to the global food price challenge. They will try to come up with a prioritized plan of action and coordinating its implementation. If they don't? I would say many of us will all be looking at rations for many important foods, maybe by next year at the earliest.

Ban Ki-Moon puts it simply, reminding us of the new face of hunger: The price of food is soaring. The threat of hunger and malnutrition is growing. Millions of the world's most vulnerable people are at risk. An effective and urgent response is needed.

Ban reminds us of the first of the Millennium Development Goals, set by world leaders at the U.N. summit in 2000, that aims to reduce the proportion of hungry people by half by 2015. This was already a major challenge, not least in Africa, where many nations have fallen behind. But we are also facing a perfect storm of new challenges.

I hope the Lake Toya summit on July 7-9 will not be clouded by media reports about futile terror attack attempts, real or imagined, while millions of people face a much more serious challenge - what to put on their dinner table for their families.

Read more:
NGO Site: G8 Action Network
Official Site: G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit

Written by Martin Frid at

Tags: Japan


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