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Minister Flanagan co-hosts major international summit on achieving zero hunger


Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, is today co-hosting a major international summit at the United Nations to galvanise international action to end hunger within a generation.

The ‘Delivering Zero Hunger’ event is being hosted by Ireland, the Netherlands, Mexico, and the three major UN agencies tasked with tackling hunger, to encourage governments, businesses and civil society organisations to adapt five key actions to eradicate global hunger.

Minister Flanagan will sign the UN Zero Hunger Declaration on behalf of Ireland at today’s event. Speaking in New York ahead of the event, Minster Flanagan said:

“Ireland is recognised as a global leader in the battle against hunger. It is at the heart of our aid programme, Irish Aid, and of our foreign policy. We invest 20% of Irish Aid funding in actions to end hunger, focusing in particular on tackling child under-nutrition, which is responsible for the deaths of 8,000 children every day.

“Although the number of hungry people in the world has declined by more than 100 million, there are still more than 800 million women, children and men suffering the scourge of hunger every day. Malnutrition destroys their chance to lead full and productive lives and saps the potential of families, communities and entire societies.

“The Taoiseach last year committed Ireland to doubling our development funding for nutrition by 2020 and I am re-affirming that promise at the UN today.

“The Great Famine of the 19th century scarred our nation and lives on in our collective conscience. We have a deep sense of the injustice of hunger in a world of plenty. Ireland is offering our expertise, our experience and our resources to the fight to end hunger and under-nutrition.

“We are investing in cutting-edge research to support poor, smallholder farmers. Many of these farmers are women, whose simple priority is their children’s survival. Working with them, we have fostered partnerships to promote crops like groundnuts and beans, which improve families’ diets, provide income and enable them to send their children to school. Critically, they also improve soil fertility and help reduce erosion, thus tackling the effects of climate change. By making our aid so focused and effective, we believe we can help these farmers to achieve zero hunger in their communities, zero malnutrition, and sustainable farming.”

The challenge of eradicating hunger within a generation was set by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2012. Some 137 countries have committed to pursue the vision of Zero Hunger.

Minister Flanagan said: “The UN Secretary General challenged us three years ago to end hunger – and this is a dream which can be achieved, through policy change and practical action. The Zero Hunger Challenge complements Ireland's existing approach to hunger by bringing together issues of food security, sustainable food production, nutrition and food waste. ”

The Zero Hunger Challenge has five targets:

• Ensuring no child under the age of two years old is stunted. This means ensuring every child gets enough nutritious food in the 1,000-day window between the start of pregnancy and a child’s second birthday.

• Enabling all people to access the food they need at all times, including through decent and productive employment, social protection, targeted safety nets and food assistance.

• Ensuring sustainable food systems through standards of sustainability for all farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, governments, unions and civil society.

• Reducing rural poverty through encouraging decent work, and increasing smallholders’ income, empowering women, small farmers, fishers, pastoralists and others.

• Minimising food losses during storage and transport, and eliminating waste of food by retailers and consumers.

The Delivering Zero Hunger – Demonstrating Impact event is co-hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, Charlie Flanagan; the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte and Secretary of Social Development of Mexico, Rosario Robles Berlanga, as well as the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze and Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin.

Press Office
25 September 2014

Notes to the editor:


• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see

• For more information on Ireland work reducing hunger

• The Zero Hunger Challenge was launched by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 5 June 2012 at Rio+20 Conference.

• Identifying food and nutrition security among his top priorities, he set out a challenge to achieve an end to hunger everywhere, within his lifetime.

• For details of the Zero Hunger Challenge visit

• The event will take place at 18:15pm Irish time on Thursday 25th September and will be webcast live at