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Irish Aid, Concern and the United Nations co-host international conference on global hunger

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, Concern and the United Nations are hosting a major conference in Dublin over the next two days (May 17 and 18) to identify practical ways of tackling the global hunger crisis.

This meeting will bring together some 200 representatives from the UN, Governments and aid agencies with representatives of smallholder farmers and fishing communities from around the world to agree practical measures to help reduce the number of people suffering from hunger, which now exceeds one billion.

Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, the UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security (HLTF) and Concern are co-sponsoring the meeting to revise a Comprehensive Framework for Action. This is a set of recommendations developed by the UN in 2008 in response to the food price crisis that year. The document provides Governments and NGOs with a set of policies and actions to promote hunger reduction.

Since 2008, the number of hungry people globally has risen from 860 million to over one billion. The world’s population is projected to increase to nine billion by 2050 and Minister Power said that feeding these extra billions of people will be one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.

Speaking ahead of his keynote address, Minister Power said:

“It is crucial that the eradication of hunger is at the heart of all our development efforts – both in Government, at international level and among NGOs. It is simply unacceptable that more than one billion people in the world are hungry.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015 will require a concerted, coordinated effort to make hunger our top priority. We must adopt a comprehensive approach that is focused on increasing farmers’ productivity and improving maternal and infant nutrition.

Since the launch of the report of the Hunger Task Force, Ireland has designated the fight against hunger as a cornerstone of our aid programme. I have committed to spending 20% of the entire Irish Aid budget on measures to reduce hunger and appointed a Special Envoy for Hunger.

Ireland and the US are building a strategic partnership to reduce world hunger, which is a foreign policy priority of both Governments. Next September, the US and Ireland will co-host a high-level event during the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, bringing together world leaders to highlight the importance of agriculture in reducing hunger and improving nutrition. In addition, the Irish and US Governments have signed a three-year partnership to cooperate on combating hunger in Malawi, prioritising support to small farmers, efforts to increase soil fertility and measures to adapt to climate change.

I am delighted to host this dialogue event in Dublin in cooperation with the UN and Concern. It underscores the importance I attach to working, in a coordinated and strategic manner, to tackle the persistent problem of global hunger.”

Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern said:

“I am pleased that the dialogue on how to reduce hunger is taking place in Ireland with civil society representatives from around the world. Governments, civil society groups and the private sector must find new and better ways of working together if hunger is to be defeated.

I am particularly pleased that Irish Aid and Concern are combining with the UN to show leadership in sustaining momentum for policy change aimed at significantly reducing the number of hungry people in the world.”

Notes to the editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for Overseas Development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For further information visit www.irishaid.ie
  • The Dialogue on the UN’s Comprehensive Framework for Action takes place at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Co Dublin, on May 17 and 18. It is by invitation only and is not open to the public.
  • Members of the media are welcome to attend the opening session from 9am to 10am on Monday, May 17, to hear Minister Power’s keynote address and Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern and David Nabarro, of the UN’s High-Level Taskforce introduce the dialogue event.
  • A media and photocall opportunity is scheduled for 11am at the Grand Hotel in Malahide. Among those present and available for comment will be Minister Peter Power, Concern CEO Tom Arnold and David Nabarro of the UN’s High-Level Taskforce.
  • The dramatic rise of global food prices and the ensuing food riots in 2008 led the UN to establish the High-Level Task Force, whose mandate is to promote a comprehensive response to the global food crisis. The Taskforce’s Comprehensive Framework for Action provides governments and non-governmental organisations with policies and actions which they can use to tackle hunger.
  • At the two-day meeting, up to 200 stakeholders from around the globe will discuss different elements of the framework with representatives of the Task Force. It will accommodate a range of views and focus on finding practical ways of working together to reduce hunger.
  • For further information or to arrange an interview with Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs on 01-4082653
  • For further information on the conference or the Comprehensive Framework for Action, visit http://www.concern.net/updatecfa
  • For further information on Concern, please contact Paul O’Mahony, Head of Communications, Concern on 01-4177700