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Qatar Urging World’s Driest Nations to Join Alliance, Head Says

Qatar, which will host the annual round of United Nations climate talks in 2012, is urging the world’s driest nations at this year’s talks in South Africa to join its Global Dry Land Alliance, the chairman said.

“We will be establishing it by December 2012” to coincide with next year’s climate talks in Doha, Fahad Mohammed al-Attiya said today in an interview in Durban. “We have meetings lined up with some of the 40 countries classified as ‘dry nations.’”

The alliance will focus on ways to prevent long-term food security issues that affect supplies, and also offer an umbrella protection to members in case of a food or water crisis, al-Attiya said.

Dry nations are increasingly concerned about the food situation after high prices in 2008 sparked riots in about 30 countries that depend on imported foodstuffs. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index of 55 food commodities reached an all-time high of 237.7 in February. It was at 216.10 on Oct. 31.

Those considered “dry nation” include Morocco, Egypt, Australia, the sub-Saharan nations, Mexico and others in the Persian Gulf and central Asia regions.

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