Government Officials, Researchers and Experts to Diagnose Impact of Food and Oil Prices in the Region
Conclusions will be delivered to Heads of State and Government attending the next United Nations General Assembly, said ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.
(4 September 2008) A seminar organized by ECLAC seeks to reach a shared diagnosis on the impact in Latin America and the Caribbean of volatile food and oil prices, in order to help governments redesign policies to better face the crisis.
In her opening words, Ms Bárcena stated that ECLAC wanted to provide an instance for dialogue in a region plagued by asymmetries, imperfect markets and public policies lacking instruments to address a crisis of this nature.
"We would like the Heads of State and Government who will attend the next United Nations General Assembly -where these issues will be discussed- to have the conclusions of this seminar. We are not going to make decisions; we are trying to reach a shared diagnosis of how we are doing," she said.
The Executive Secretary opened the seminar explaining the origins of the rising prices of basic products, their macroeconomic and social effects, and the challenges for economic policy in the region.
Food prices will continue to go up until 2015 due to supply and demand, said Máximo Torero, Director of the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division and Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Food Policy Research Institute. Torero noted that some countries have implemented measures to mitigate the effects of these hikes at a national level, but that some of them have even deepened the crisis.
During the seminar, José Goldemberg, research scientist of the University of São Paulo, called on governments to speed up technological alternatives to address the energy crisis. Goldemberg stressed that consumption of oil increased by 1.1% in 2007, gas by 3.1% and that world energy consumption rose by 2.4%. He suggested three possible solutions to address rising consumption: more efficient use of energy, increasing the use of renewable energy sources, and promoting the rapid development of new technologies for the use of cleaner fossil fuels.
Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary, opened the seminar.
Photo: Alejandro Hoppe/ECLAC
From left to right, Osvaldo Kacef, Director of ECLAC's Economic Development Division; Martine Dirven, Officer in Charge, ECLAC's Production, Productivity and Management Division; Máximo Torero, expert from the International Food Policy Research Institute; and Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC's Executive Secretary.