Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

My view: World hunger can be beaten

At Concern Worldwide, we're used to big challenges. And on this, World Food Day, the figures associated with malnutrition are about as challenging as they get.

It's estimated that 870 million people in the world go hungry every day. Undernutrition causes more than three million children to die each year and stifles the lives of future generations by limiting a child's physical growth and ability to learn.

A recent study in The Lancet medical journal estimates that improving nutrition in the world would cost a huge £45bn between now and 2020.

But before the recent G8 in Fermanagh and under the leadership of the UK Government, the Nutrition for Growth summit made a significant start on the task. National governments – together with organisations like Concern, global leaders and the private sector – pledged £2.7bn to tackle undernutrition among the most vulnerable people in the world over the next seven years.

Concern's contribution to the Nutrition for Growth summit was a promise to spend £77m by 2020.

But we've now decided to accelerate our timetable by committing ourselves to raising and spending half of that £77m by 2016, on projects which tackle undernutrition.

And we've launched a campaign calling on the UK Government to do the same – to agree to start spending up to half its pledged money by then.

Concern believes that, if Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to distribute £375m of the UK's pledged money steadily and predictably before 2016, the UK would be better placed to lead the way for other nations, by making a new commitment at the next Nutrition for Growth summit in Brazil in three years' time.

Hunger can be beaten. The UK Government and Mr Cameron once again have the opportunity to transform lives by giving fresh momentum to the fight against malnutrition.

You can join the campaign at www.concern.net/cowpea

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