UN meet on global hunger opens sans G8 leaders

The UN today opened its food summit saying a climate change deal in Copenhagen next month would be crucial to fighting global hunger as rising temperatures threaten farm output in poor countries.

Government leaders and officials met in Rome for the three-day UN summit on how to tackle the challenge helping developing countries feed themselves. However, anti-poverty campaigners were not impressed and dismissed the event as a missed opportunity.

The sense of scepticism deepened by the weekend, with US president Barack Obama supporting a move to delay a legally binding climate pact until 2010 or even later, which European negotiators said did not imply weaker action.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon told the Rome summit that there could be no food security without climate security.

He added that in December a comprehensive agreement will need to be worked out to provide a firm foundation for a legally binding treaty on climate change.

With the figures for the world's hungry crossing 1billion for the first time, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation had called the summit in the hope of getting a commitment from the leaders of the world for raising the share of official aid spent on agriculture to 17 per cent of the total - its 1980 level - from the present 5 per cent.