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Gorta welcomes Tánaiste’s Call for Better Nutrition for Mothers and Children

22nd September 2011

gorta has applauded the keynote address made by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., accompanied by the Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., to a special UN High-Level Meeting on Nutrition.

The meeting marked the anniversary of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement which was launched at the 1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future event hosted jointly by Ireland and the United States in New York last September. The High-Level Meeting today brought together over 400 representatives of government, civil society and private sector leaders including the UN Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon, the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and President Kikwete of Tanzania.

Ireland is playing a leading role in the fight against undernutrition, which is one of the world’s most serious but least addressed health problems. Since the initiative was launched, Ireland has been working with international partners to galvanise international action on tackling issues such as malnutrition. These efforts are linked to the first Millennium Development Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, an objective to which the Tánaiste and other leaders are re-committing at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Agricultural development is a key part of gorta's integrated approach in promoting sustainable rural development programmes and investment in agriculture is critical in mitigating against higher levels of undernutrition. Support for smallholder farmers as well as training, awareness raising and the empowerment of women, is also central to ensuring adequate nutrition and healthcare.

Speaking at the High-Level Meeting the Tánaiste said:

“Last year Ireland committed to ‘1,000 Days of Action to Scale Up Nutrition’. We committed to lead by influence and example. We committed to support national governments in their own efforts to scale up nutrition.”

“...in our aid programme we have aligned our structures, our programmes and our budgets to ensuring delivering on SUN remains a core priority of the Government.”

gorta CEO Brian Hanratty added:

“I welcome these comments from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore T.D. on the anniversary of the 1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future initiative. The gorta Hunger Secretariat was represented at the launch of the event in New York last year and is committed to improving the availability, adequacy and accessibility of food in communities, principally in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. In all aspects of our work, we believe that agriculture is key to ensuring farmers and their families have access to adequate nutrition and indeed nutritional practices, which help them to survive in times of hardship. I am greatly heartened by the Minister’s commitment to ensuring that SUN remains a core priority of the Irish Government.”

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