Belfast Telegraph

Martin to co-host hunger conference

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin will co-host an international conference on world hunger with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is among the high-profile figures from up to 190 countries invited to the event in New York next month.

Mr Martin revealed food security following the traumatic Pakistan floods and Russian fires will top the agenda.

"Nutrition and food security are the greatest challenges we face. It is unacceptable and a major failure that over a billion people are hungry in the world today," Mr Martin said.

The minister confirmed Irish and US officials were working to ensure as many countries as possible attend the event, which takes place on the fringes of the UN's General Assembly.

Mrs Clinton agreed to co-host the event while in Dublin last year. The pair will call on the international community to work together in response to the malnutrition crisis affecting some 200 million toddlers globally.

"We are prioritising the prevention of undernutrition in children under the age of two as the science shows that children never recover from malnutrition at that age, they never develop their full potential physically or mentally," Mr Martin said.

He also revealed Ireland will be drawing on its experience in several African countries - including Malawi, Ethiopia and Uganda - where, through Irish Aid partnerships, the Government is working to reduce hunger, mortality rates and disease.

"Irish companies have been using research and development to ensure the delivery of clean water in areas where it is needed most," Mr Martin added.

"We are supporting pioneering work by Irish organisations in the treatment of acute malnutrition which has saved the lives of millions of children."

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