British Prime Minister David Cameron "has defended the government's commitment to overseas aid funding at a time of recession, as he prepares to co-host a hunger summit in Downing Street on the closing day of the Olympics," the Guardian reports. "Co-hosted with Michel Temer, the Brazilian vice-president, where the 2016 Games will take place, the event is designed to show that the Olympic family is aware of the gaping inequalities faced by competitors," the newspaper notes, adding though the meeting is not aimed at raising funds, "[i]t is likely to set a target to reduce the number of children left stunted by malnourishment worldwide by as much as 17 million by 2016." Cameron said on ITV1's Daybreak program, "There are 170 million children who are malnourished. ... I think most people recognize that when there are 170 million people around the world suffering from malnutrition, when there are millions of people living on less than a dollar a day, even at a tough time in Britain, we are right to meet our aid commitments," according to the Guardian (Mulholland/Wintour, 8/10).
Cameron made the remarks as nongovernmental organizations delivered petitions signed by 500,000 people to Downing Street "calling for government action to combat global hunger," BBC News reports. According to the news service, "They want action in regions including Sahel, West Africa, where more than 18 million people are suffering from the impact of drought and high food prices" and "[t]hey say Britain should use its 2013 G8 presidency to tackle hunger and try to save a million lives a year" (8/10). The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's most recent Food Price Index, "which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 213 points in July, up six percent from 201 points in June, the FAO said in its monthly index update," Reuters notes. "The world could face a food crisis of the kind seen in 2007/08 if countries restrict exports on concerns about a drought-fueled grain price rally, the U.N.'s food agency warned on Thursday," the news service writes (Hornby, 8/9).