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Kate Blagojevic, press officer

The PR tactic of organising a meeting with your opponents days before a protest or critical report is launched is as old as the hills. But it can still be disarming.

Austrian bank Volksbanken, has added to the growing number of European banks to withdraw investment funds linked to food commodities.

In total four German banks, one Scandanavian bank and one Austrian bank, including giants Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, have all either withdrawn food-based funds or stopped issuing new ones.

 

A new WDM/PLATFORM report released today finds that transforming the Royal Bank of Scotland into the Green Investment Bank would kick start the green energy revolution.  The research, by former Pricewaterhouse Coopers consultant, James Leaton, finds that it would bring 50,000 new green jobs a year, boost the UK economy, reduce the UK's carbon emissions and improve international competitiveness - whilst not increasing the budget deficit.

The World Development Movement believes that a key reason that food prices rises have been increasing dramatically is due to excessive speculation in commodity markets by investment banks and hedge funds and that the UN FAO should be coming out more strongly against excessive speculation.

Dr Julian Oram, who is attending the UN FAO emergency summit in Rome commented:

The World Development Movement reacted critically to the announcements saying that for 30 years developing countries had faced the same austerity measures which led to more poverty and more injustice for the poorest people. It also said that it was deeply deceptive that climate finance and the Green Investment Bank were being touted as 'good news stories' by the coalition government.

The progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals is being discussed at a summit in New York. The goals were set in 2000 with a target of meeting them by 2015. Ten years later, it's clear that progress in many areas is slow, espeicially for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where over half the population continues to live in abject poverty.

Yesterday the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) adopted its report on the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). This piece of legislation is critical to achieve stronger regulation of commodity derivative markets and limit harmful financial speculation on food

NGOs welcomed the introduction of mandatory limits on speculation but warn that a number of loopholes must be fixed to make the proposed rules effective. 

The World Development Movement criticised the findings of the Beddington report which promotes the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops as a key solution to global hunger.

The focus on GM in the Chief Scientist's report is a red herring and does not correctly identify the real causes of hunger.

At the conclusion of the climate talks in Cancun, UK-based anti-poverty campaigners from the World Development Movement say that no real progress has been made since last year’s meetings in Copenhagen in terms of tackling emissions due to rich coutnries  feet-dragging. But although they cautiously welcomed the establishment of a new ‘Green Climate Fund’ to help poor countries cope with climate change, they raised strong concerns over the level of finance and potential role of carbon trading and markets.

Today, there are many stories about food price rises - hitting poorer people in Mexico and countries in Africa, but delivering fat profits for the likes of contraversial agribusiness, Cargill, which is the world's largest agricultural commodity trader.

Deborah Doane, director of anti-poverty group the World Development Movement, said today that the UK government’s aid spending inquiry should scrutinise the growing private sector cash-in on development aid.

Fossil fuels, and a bailed-out bank, RBS are investing our money in the most destructive project on earth; tar sands mining in Canada.  Watch our new film, be inspired and join us in the fight for climate justice

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