FAO and World Task Force for Food Emergencies

  February 11, 2021   Read time 1 min
FAO and World Task Force for Food Emergencies
FAO has done a lot to deal with the food related problems. This international body played a key role in raising the consciousness of the necessity of global cooperation for tackling the food problems. People die of hunger on daily base and something urgent needs to be done and this need global mobilization under an internationally recognized body.

When FAO was established in 1945, it was assumed that with the aid of the temporary organizations dealing with food, nations would be able to cope with the emergencies arising after the end of hostilities and that reasonable conditions would soon be established in which FAO could start its work. But the food situation continued to deteriorate. In February 1946, the UN General Assembly called on governments and international organizations concerned with food and agriculture to make ‘special efforts’. FAO’s response was to convene a ‘Special Meeting on Urgent Food Problems’, which met in Washington, DC in May 1946. While primarily concerned with the immediate problems of emergency food supplies, the meeting also called for ‘longer term machinery to deal with certain practical international problems connected therewith’ and requested the director-general of FAO: "to submit to the Conference of FAO at its next session [in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 1946] a survey of existing and proposed international organizations designed to meet long-term problems concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of food and agricultural products, including the risk of accumulating surpluses; [and] to make proposals to the Conference on any extension of the functions of existing organizations or any new organizations which the survey may indicate as necessary." Out of this request came the opportunity for Boyd Orr to realize the ‘dreams and miracles’ he had spoken about in this address at the first FAO Conference in Quebec City after his election as FAO director-general, and his proposal for a ‘World Food Board’ (WFB) (FAO, 1946a). It is difficult now to appreciate the full impact the experiences of the previous three decades had had on Body Orr and his FAO staff when drafting the WFB proposal. The triple impact in North America and Europe of dramatically falling agricultural prices and incomes, the general economic slump, and the rapid rise in large-scale unemployment had created widespread depression and mass poverty.

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