PIOJ to Assist PM to Prepare for Meeting on Global Food/Fuel Crisis


Prime Minister, Bruce Golding says that he is seeking the assistance of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in preparing Jamaica to make its contribution to a special high level meeting involving several key international figures.
The meeting is slated for New York in September, to discuss the prevailing global food and fuel crisis.This comes against the background of what he describes as the “worst food crisis. ever experienced” globally, coupled with a “cyclone of economic volatility,” which he points out, has seen the price of oil spike rapidly from just over $70 per barrel to upwards of $130 currently, within a six-month period.
Speaking at a special ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the PIOJ’s Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) at the organisation’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston on Wednesday (June 4), Mr. Golding said that in light of the prevailing global crisis, Jamaica “is going to have a particular role to play in that dialogue.””We are going to need the kind of guidance, the kind of advice, and the kind of hard empirical data that will help us to build a convincing case, that what has been (occurring), does not have to and should not continue to be (the case). And, that there are fundamental changes that need to take place,” Mr. Golding stated.
The Prime Minister pointed out that, previously, on each occasion when a food crisis arose, they were “localized” in individual countries, adding that there were surpluses in other parts of the world to counter such developments. “We are (now) dealing with a situation where surpluses exist no where in the world,” he lamented.
“Some of it has to do, of course, with the fact that (there are) emerging economies, particularly those with large populations. (For example) India and China alone, account for 30-odd per cent of the world’s population, so that when (the) standard of living improves in those two countries alone, it impacts significantly on world demand for particular things (and vice-versa),” he informed.
However, Mr. Golding lamented what he described as the seeming lack of urgency on the part of some of the world leaders to address the existing problem.
“What amazes me is that the world is asleep.the world is completely asleep. The Director General of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Dr. Jacques Diout said, at a conference in India in April, that he was amazed that he had not been summoned to an emergency meeting of the UN (United Nations) Security Council, because he feels that this crisis is as serious as a war breaking out. And there has not been a gathering of world leaders yet to say now ‘we have a problem, let’s see how this problem is to be dealt with'”, Mr. Golding said.
Additionally, he stressed that in parallel with that level of deliberations that needs to take place, it must be determined whether the existing multi-lateral financial and economic framework is appropriately calibrated to provide early warning signs in the event of similar occurrences in the future, to prevent same, and ensure that there is a response mechanism, particularly in relation to countries that are vulnerable.
Mr. Golding said British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, with whom he was mandated by CARICOM to raise the matter at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Kampala, Uganda, will be presiding over a special conference of 12 Commonwealth Heads of Government, which he chairs, next week, for preliminary talks on the matter. This meeting, he advised is in preparation for the New York Summit in September.
Stressing that efforts to address the crisis would be challenging, Mr. Golding said he would be seeking the PIOJ’s help in leading Jamaica’s preparation to make it a contribution, in that regard, to the New York conference.

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