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Minister to co-host major Hunger Conference in New York

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States, will co-host a meeting of international leaders to address world hunger and undernutrition in New York today.

The event, 1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future - Partnering to Reduce Child Undernutrition, will be attended by world leaders, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. It will highlight action to reduce child under-nutrition, focusing on programmes targeted at the 1,000 day window of opportunity, the period beginning with a woman’s pregnancy and continuing until a child is 2 years old. The 1,000 day window is critical because the physical and mental damage caused by undernutrition is largely irreversible after 2 years of age.

Keynote speakers include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Minister Micheál Martin, Secretary of State Clinton, Ministers from a number of developing and donor countries and Heads of several UN agencies including WFP, UNICEF and the WHO. Minister Martin will be joined by Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, who will chair a session of the event.

Minister Martin will participate in and deliver statements at a number of other key events taking place at the UN this week, including the High Level Plenary on the Millennium Development Goals, where he will restate Ireland’s commitment to the achievement of the Goals, emphasising in particular the challenge of addressing hunger.

The Minister will outline Ireland’s foreign policy priorities in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday 27 September. The Minister will also speak at two major disarmament conferences and conduct a round of bilateral meetings with ministerial colleagues.

While in the United States, Minister Martin will also carry out a number of engagements with business leaders in both New York and Philadelphia. During media opportunities, including an interview with business television networks Bloomberg and Fox Business, the Minister will outline the measures the Government has taken to meet the current economic challenges and how his Department is actively supporting Irish-US Trade. There will also be meetings with representatives of the local Irish communities.

Minister Martin said: “I look forward to a busy schedule over the next few days. The Hunger Event I am co-hosting with Secretary of State Clinton is one we have been planning since we met at Farmleigh last October. We have been greatly encouraged by the response of the international community and the fact that so many countries and agencies have agreed to support this initiative.

During my attendance at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, I look forward to hearing the priorities of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barak Obama while I will use my own address to outline Ireland’s priorities and issues of international concern.

I use every opportunity on my overseas trips to promote Irish trade, and I look forward to meetings with US and Irish business leaders in both New York and Philadelphia. In addition, I will use a number of media engagements to outline to an American audience the steps which have been taken by the Government to respond to the current economic challenges. When we met last September at Farmleigh for the Global Irish Economic Forum, the need to promote Irish culture was highlighted and I will join those taking part in the third annual First Irish Theatre Festival in celebrating this feast of culture.

While in New York I will be meeting with the leaders of the main community support centres in the US. This will be a great opportunity to review trends and areas of concern and to confirm grant support for their activities. I will also be meeting with the board members of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and the members of young Irish networks in both New York and Philadelphia.”