Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

US urged to highlight commitment

Hillary Clinton has been urged to use Independence Day to highlight America's commitment to tackle child hunger

The head of an Irish aid agency has called on the US to use Independence Day to highlight its commitment to tackle child hunger.

Concern Worldwide said an estimated 3.5 million children die from inadequate nutrition and related causes every year.

Tom Arnold, chief executive, has penned an open letter to secretary of state Hillary Clinton calling on her to help eliminate childhood under-nutrition.

"This could be your greatest legacy as a political leader and public servant," he said. "It would be reflected in tens of millions of children with brains sufficiently developed to use whatever opportunities life presents to them.

"Ireland will be your enthusiastic partner in this noble enterprise."

Last autumn, the US and Ireland announced they would act in unison on international research that the period in a child's life between pregnancy and age two - the first 1,000 days - was critical.

During that period, under-nutrition causes irreversible physical and mental stunting, affecting one of three children worldwide.

Mr Arnold said Ireland stands side by side with the US on this issue.

"The number of dead, and permanently-damaged, children resulting from basic undernutrition in the world's poorest countries is unacceptable, and avoidable," he added.

"The 1,000 Days partnership between the US and Ireland underscores our agreed sense of urgency and priority-setting in this area."

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