76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, global food shortages are heralding “a new era of hunger, ” according to the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program; and

WHEREAS, out of a confluence of problems -- rising energy costs, natural disasters linked to climate change, rising demand for meat and dairy in China and India, and competition for grain to make bio-fuels like ethanol -- a monumental world food emergency has emerged; and

WHEREAS, as of December 2007, at least 37 countries are facing food crises, and 20 have imposed food-price controls; and

WHEREAS, soaring food prices and food shortages have led to food riots in a number of nations, including Haiti, Bangladesh, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Senegal; and

WHEREAS, multiple problems exist in the world’s agricultural system, and experts believe that the food surpluses of recent decades caused governments and development agencies to decrease support for the improvement of agriculture in poor countries and slash funding for vital research programs; and

WHEREAS, growth of the global food supply has slowed even as the world’s population has continued to increase; and

WHEREAS, the biggest cutbacks in donations to agriculture to poor countries have come from the governments of wealthy countries and development institutions controlled by the wealthy nations, such as the World Bank; and

WHEREAS, although institutions such as the World Bank have begun to reverse the trend and are increasing lending for agricultural programs, the severe effects of this period during which support for agricultural systems lagged will take years to be overcome,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors recognizes the global food emergency faced by the people of this planet and calls upon the U.S. government, governments of other wealthy nations and development agencies to increase financial aid to help deal immediately with the severe impact of higher food and energy prices and the turmoil in global financial markets; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors recognizes that coordinated and collective international action, led by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, is imperative to prevent the emergence of a larger crisis; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors calls upon the U.S. Congress and the Administration to recognize and respond to this global emergency by restoring its support for a global research network, particularly programs funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID) to help poor nations improve the indigenous crop production critical to their food supply, and by increasing U.S. support for other international food programs that address this crisis.