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Ireland’s Role in Fight Against Hunger

Aid Effectiveness, Hunger, News/feature, Ireland, Global, 2013


Minister Costello welcomes research on Ireland’s role in fight against hunger

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello has welcomed new research that has highlighted Ireland’s high performance in meeting its overseas aid commitments to help end global hunger and undernutrition.

The Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index has ranked Ireland 5th out of 23 OECD members on a range of indicators reflecting overall political commitment in the fight to end global hunger.

Speaking today from Washington, where he is attending an event co-hosted by Concern Worldwide to renew Ireland’s commitment to maternal and child nutrition through the 1,000 Days Partnership, Minster Costello highlighted Ireland’s strong performance:  

“I very much welcome the recent Report by the Institute of Development Studies and am pleased to see Ireland’s strong ranking.  This is testament to our active and prominent role in addressing the joint challenges of hunger and undernutrition.  Since the launch of our Hunger Task Force Report in 2008, Ireland has made great progress in putting hunger and nutrition at the centre of our international aid efforts.

“We know from the Lancet Report launched last week that, globally, malnutrition is responsible for nearly half the deaths of children under the age of five.  Yet these deaths are largely preventable. Ireland has built strong political support internationally and has invested in policies and programmes aimed at reducing the burden of global hunger.  Ireland will continue to build on these efforts through our strong commitment and leadership. We will continue to work to improve our own performance and encourage others to do the same”.

The Minister was in Washington to speak at ‘Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition’ which focuses on improving nutrition to children from pregnancy until the child’s second birthday- a period of 1, 000 days. In his keynote address Minister Costello said: 

“In 2010 the US and Irish Governments joined together to call for action on maternal and child nutrition. We accepted the challenge to build partnerships that would change lives. We pledged to build partnerships to support mothers and fathers – partnerships that bring together community organisations, the private sector, civil society, local authorities, and national governments.

“I am proud that Ireland was a founding supporter of the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, which has done so much to give us the platform for action that we see here today.

“By 2016, I believe that we can achieve the World Health Assembly target of preventing 25 million children from being stunted. Through a renewed commitment to the 1000 days partnership and through the sustained efforts of us all gathered here today, I believe that we will see within our lifetime a world free from hunger and under-nutrition.”





Notes to the editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme of overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Further information is available at www.irishaid.ie.  
  • The Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) is produced by the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an established centre of global thinking on development issues and research on governance, gender, climate and hunger.
  • HANCI indicators include spending on agriculture and food security; nutrition; social protection and climate together with policy and programming commitments to support coordination structures such as the global Scaling Up Nutrition movement.
  • Global numbers of undernourished people have been static at 870 million for the past 5 years and the prevalence of stunting has remained high in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa at around 40%. One in eight people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Undernutrition contributes to 2.6 million deaths of children under five each year - one third of the global total.
  • HANCI provides two separate indexes on hunger and nutrition, which are the first global indexes of their kind.  Ireland scored particularly well on biodiversity, endorsement of Scaling Up Nutrition- SUN- and is amongst the top donors investing in social protection. Ireland also shows enduring and stable financial support for agriculture and food security.
  • Other donor countries that ranked highly overall were UK, Canada, Denmark and Germany.   Malawi, one of Ireland’s key partner countries, was singled out for its national commitment to addressing under-nutrition.
  • In Washington, the Minister was addressing the event Sustaining Political Commitment to Scaling Up Nutrition, co-hosted by Bread for the World and Concern Worldwide. The event is the official launch of the SUN civil society network. 
  • In order to accelerate global action and investment to address the crisis of maternal and child undernutrition, The US and Irish governments, together with a community of global leaders launched the 1,000 Days Partnership in September 2010 as a ‘Call for Action’.  At the 2010 event, ‘1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change a Future’ they committed to return after 1,000 days to report progress on the Call for Action.  This event allows both countries to showcase achievements over the past 1,000 days and to renew a commitment to the 1,000 Days Partnership. 
  • The Minister, along with Mr Raj Shah, the Administrator of USAID, was speaking to show progress on maternal and child under-nutrition over the 1,000 day period from September 2010 to June 2013.  The Minister reiterated Ireland’s commitment, made by An Taoiseach in London on June 8th to redouble Ireland’s engagement and investment in nutrition between 2010 and 2020.
  • For further information contact Michael Treacy, Irish Aid Press office on 01- 408 2660 / 087-9372324.