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s the world continues to recover from thefinancial and economic crisis, leaders areset to discuss other pressing challenges,says Robert B. Zoellick, President of theWorld Bank Group, at the 2011 spring meetings for theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.We may be coming out of one crisis - the financial andeconomic crisis - but we are facing new risks andwrenching challenges: high and volatile food prices,high fuel prices with knock-on effects for food, politicalupheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, turmoilin Cote d'Ivoire, repeated natural disasters, risinginflation in emerging markets with some risks ofoverheating, sovereign debt issues in Europe.With food prices, we are at a real tipping point. Foodprices are 36 per cent above the levels of a year ago andremain close to the 2008 peak. Already 44 millionpeople have fallen into poverty since June of last year.If the Food Price Index rises by just another 10 percent, we estimate another 10 million people will fallinto extreme poverty -that is where people live on lessthan US$1.25 a day. And a 30 per cent increase wouldadd 34 million more people to the world's poor, whonumber 1.2 billion. We can do something about this.Some have asked; what can the G20 do? The G20 canplay a leading role. I believe multilateralism must befocused on doing real things in the short term whilebuilding toward mid- and longer-term actions. So I ampleased that France has made a top priority for itsPresidency of the G20 the topic of food. We areworking closely with the G20, and I believe we cantake a number of important steps that will help in twokey areas: food price volatility and food security. We aregoing to be using these meetings with the G187 tohelp prepare the way.First, we are working on a new code of conduct forcountries with regard to export bans. At a minimum,these should not apply to humanitarian suppliers suchas the World Food Programme. Second, we believe thathaving better information on food stocks' quality andquantity would help. Third, supporting the pre-positioning of small humanitarian food stocks inplaces like the Horn of Africa, operated by the WorldFood Programme. Fourth, helping countries to manageagricultural risks better. And fifth, the World Bank and the regional development banks can helpcountries with quick support for the most vulnerablethrough effective, targeted nutrition and safety netprogrammes rather than mistaken price controls orbroad-based increases in wages.More can be done on the production side, too. The WorldBank is now investing about US$7 billion a year inimproving agricultural production, from seeds toirrigation to storage. And we are investing all across thevalue chain. One area of focus is agricultural research -helping to develop better seeds. We are discussing with France and the G20 the possibility of perhapsintersecting that with some of the anxieties about climatechange and reviewing some of the research priorities aswe boost support for the 15 key research centres inagricultural research around the globe.I think these goalsare achievable in coming months and I am looking forresults at the meeting of G20 agriculture ministers inFrance in June. I look forward to continuing to work withthe French and others to make this happen. nThese Remarks by The World Bank Group PresidentRobert B. Zoellick are excerpts from Mr Zoellick'saddress at the at the Opening Press Conference of theWorld Bank-IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DCon 14 April 2011. For more information visit:www.worldbank.org.GLOBAL RESPONSE TOGLOBAL CHALLENGES066MOBILISING FINANCEROBERT B. ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, THE WORLD BANK GROUPA" "I BELIEVE MULTILATERALISMMUST BE FOCUSEDON DOING REALTHINGS IN THESHORT TERMWHILE BUILDINGTOWARD MID- AND LONGER-TERM ACTIONS

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