The president of the World Bank has warned that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis".
Robert Zoellick cited rising food prices as the main threat to poor nations who risk "losing a generation", the BBC reports.
He was speaking in Washington at the end of the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Meanwhile, G20 finance chiefs, who also met in Washington, pledged financial support to help new governments in the Middle East and North Africa.
Turmoil in the Middle East, volatile oil prices and high unemployment were also discussed.
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn raised particular concerns about high levels of unemployment among young people, according to the BBC.
"It's probably too much to say that it's a jobless recovery, but it's certainly a recovery with not enough jobs," he said.
"Especially because of youth unemployment... there is now a risk that this will be turned into a life sentence, and that there is a possibility of a lost generation."
An ambitious objective
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'Illusion of control'
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Total investment reaches £9m