UN forum to discuss volatility on agriculture and mineral markets

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Jan 2011

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development will hold the second Global Commodities Forum at the end of January, in order to discuss volatility in commodity markets following rises in energy and food prices.

Agriculture and mineral commodities have long been subject to sharp rises and falls in prices and demand.

This volatility “hinders sustainable economic growth and development in poor, commodity-producing countries and greatly complicates the investment process, government and corporate planning, and decision-making”, according to UNCTAD, while exports of basic farm products and raw industrial materials such as petroleum, ores and minerals are vital for many developing-country economies.

Government ministers, heads of international agencies and experts in the fields of energy, minerals, and agriculture will meet at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the effectiveness of existing commodity policies in ensuring energy and food security, and the sustainable production and use of commodities.

High-level officials present at the Forum will include the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the Mongolian Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, and the Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.

Egypt will be represented by the Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for International Economic Relations. The Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Agriculture will miss this event, at a time when Egypt is facing soaring food and fuel prices.

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