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G20部长会议关注全球食品价格上涨

来源:慢速英语   时间:2011-06-19 10:25:42

High food prices have pushed an estimated 44 million more people into poverty in the past year, according to the World Bank. France says taming food price volatility is one of its major goals as current head of the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies. For the first time, G-20 agriculture ministers will meet in Paris from June 22-23.

根据世界银行的报告,在过去一年中,高食品价格使大约4千4百多万人陷入贫困。法国说,控制食品价格波动是法国作为20国集团轮值主席的主要目标之一,20国集团由主要的发达国家和一些新兴经济体组成。20国集团的农业部长将于6月22日至23日首次在巴黎开会。

The reasons and remedies for today’s volatile food prices are complex, says French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, and finding consensus among the G20 members has been a challenge. "I think at the beginning of the negotiation I was quite pessimistic," he said.

法国农业部长勒梅尔说,当今食品价格波动的原因与解决办法是复杂的,要在20国集团的成员中达成共识也是个挑战。勒梅尔说:“我在谈判开始时是相当悲观的。”

For example, there are contentious debates over the role of price speculation in the commodity markets. Investors have poured billions of dollars into these markets in just the past few years. Critics say that is fueling sharp spikes in prices. Le Maire says that while the investors profit, the developing world feels the pain. "Nobody can accept to have speculation on the poorest countries in the world, on the poorest people in the world," Le Maire added.

有很多问题引起争议,比如价格投机在商品市场中的作用问题就引起了辩论。投资者仅仅在过去几年中就把数以十亿计的美元投入这些市场。批评人士说,这就促成了价格的激增。勒梅尔说,在这些投资者获得利润的时候,发展中国家却感受到痛苦。勒梅尔说:“没有人能接受以世界上最穷的国家和最穷的人民为赌注。”

France is leading calls for more regulations on commodity trading.

法国带头呼吁对商品贸易实行更多的管制。

But many economists are not convinced that would help. They say the evidence does not prove the case that the flood of new investment money is really behind the price spikes.

可是,许多经济学家并不认为这样做会有帮助。他们说,现有的证据并不能证明新投资的大量资金的确是价格激增的原因。

Le Maire says this has been one of the most difficult areas of discussion. But he is hopeful the agriculture ministers can find common ground. “After 10 months of negotiation, I really think that a consensus among G-20 members is not out of reach,” he said.

勒梅尔说,这个问题是这次讨论最困难的领域之一。不过他还是希望各成员国农业部长能够找到共同点。勒梅尔说:“经过10个月的谈判,我确实认为20国集团的成员达成一项共识并非是不可能的。”

Le Maire says he would also like to see G-20 members reach a consensus to oppose export bans in response to crises. Russia suspended its wheat exports last summer after a serious drought cut its harvest by a third. Although the move was intended to protect Russia’s own food supplies, it was widely condemned for contributing to this year’s run-up in wheat prices.

勒梅尔说,他还想看到20国集团的成员达成一项共识,反对为对付危机而禁止出口。俄罗斯在连续多次干旱使其小麦收成减少三分之一以后,于去年夏天暂停其小麦出口。尽管这项举措本来是为了保护俄罗斯自己的食品供应,但却遭到国际社会的普遍谴责,认为这项禁令是造成今年小麦价格猛增的一个原因。

Shenggen Fan, head of the International Food Policy Research Institute, says he does not expect the G-20 to pledge to keep markets open. “I think probably we will not reach certain agreement. But maybe some language will be there. Countries should be discouraged to use export bans to safeguard their own domestic food security. By doing that they will starve their neighbors,” Fan said.

国际食物政策研究所所长樊胜根说,他预计20国集团不会做出保持市场开放的保证。樊胜根说:“我认为,我们很可能不会达成某种协议。不过,也许会有一些语言方面的表示。我们应当阻止一些国家使用出口禁令来保护本国的食品安全。因为如果那样做的话,他们将会使邻国挨饿。”

Fan says there may be an agreement to exempt humanitarian food supplies from a ban, but not much more.

樊胜根说,20国集团也许会达成一项协议,让人道主义食品供应不受出口禁令的限制,可是不会有更多的条款。

One of the biggest and most controversial issues in the food security debate that will likely not be addressed is the role of biofuels. National policies in the United States, Europe and Brazil support the use of food crops to produce fuel. Fan is one of many critics. “We know that biofuel has been a major cause of [the] last two rounds of food price increases. So, we do need to take urgent actions to prevent further expansion of biofuel production,” Fan said.

这次20国农业部长会议不大可能讨论生物燃料的作用问题。这个问题是食品安全辩论中最大和最具争议的问题之一。美国、欧洲和巴西的国家政策都支持使用食用作物来生产燃料。樊胜根是许多批评这种政策的人士之一。樊胜根说:“我们知道,生物燃料是过去两轮食品价格上涨的一个主要原因。因此,我们需要采取紧急行动,防止进一步扩大生物燃料生产。”

But these industries have strong domestic political support, and France did not include biofuels on the agenda for the Paris meeting.

可是,这些行业在国内有强大的政治支持。法国就没有把生物燃料问题列在这次巴黎会议的议程上面。

On the positive side, analysts say the G-20 ministers might agree to set up an emergency grain reserve that can provide food supplies in humanitarian crises.

分析人士说,从积极的方面来看,20国集团的农业部长可能会同意建立紧急粮食储备,以便在发生人道主义危机时可以提供食物供应。

And there may be another financial commitment to help developing-world farmers become more productive. G8 leaders pledged $22 billion for this purpose in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009.

20国集团也许会做出另一项金融承诺,以帮助发展中国家的农民提高生产率。2009年,8国集团领导人在意大利的拉奎拉为了这一目标承诺要提供220亿美元。

But experts estimate that only about a quarter of that money has been delivered so far, and budgets are extremely tight in many G-20 countries. Charlotte Hebebrand of the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council says wealthy countries should break the habit of over-promising and under-delivering.

可是,专家们估计,迄今为止,这笔钱中仅仅有四分之一被发放给发展中国家。目前,20国集团中许多国家的预算都极为紧缺。

“I think countries are going to lose credibility when these ambitious pledges are announced to great fanfare and then they are not implemented,” Hebebrand said.

On some levels, experts say what is most significant about the G-20 agriculture ministers meeting is that it is happening at all. Agriculture has been a neglected issue for years, which is part of the reason for the current crisis. The next challenge for the farm ministers, they say, is to convince their bosses to keep food security high on the agenda.