Ireland – working to end hunger
Conor Lenihan TD, Minister of State for Irish Aid and Human Rights, today announced the establishment of a Hunger Task Force to identify the contributions that Ireland can make to international efforts to reduce hunger.
The Task Force, called for in last year’s White Paper on Irish Aid, will be part of Ireland’s efforts to the achieve the first Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015. Minister Lenihan announced the terms of reference of the Task Force and its chairman, former Minister for Agriculture, Joe Walsh TD, this morning. Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said:
“While acute hunger and famine dominate the headlines, 800 million people, including 300 million children, are persistently malnourished due to inadequate diets. Underlying issues such as conflict, climate and HIV/AIDS, contribute to this problem.
I am delighted that someone with the vast experience of Joe Walsh has agreed to chair this important initiative. Hunger causes poverty and is a consequence of poverty. It is a major barrier to economic growth, with an estimated 10% of a county’s potential GDP lost as a result of low productivity caused by hunger and malnutrition.”
Deputy Walsh said:
“We will approach this challenge in the context of Ireland’s own history of famine and our experiences in agriculture and development cooperation. The Task Force will examine international best practice in the area of food security and how Ireland’s energies, expertise and increased Irish Aid resources can best contribute to international efforts to reduce hunger.”
Note to editors:
The Task Force will be composed of between 12 and 15 people and will include a mixture of national and international experts. It will present its final report before the end of the year.
Other members of the Task Force present at the announcement were Nancy Aburi of the NGO Self-Help, Michael Gibney, Professor of Food and Health at UCD, Tom Arnold of Concern, Aidan O’Driscoll of Department of Agriculture and Food and Brendan McMahon, Head of the Emergency and Recovery Section of Irish Aid.
Minister Lenihan announced that Prof Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University), Justin Kilcullen (Trocaire) and Sheila Sisulu (Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme) have agreed to participate in the Task Force. Additional members of the Task Force will be named in the coming weeks.
Full terms of reference for the Hunger Task Force can be read at www.irishaid.gov.ie
10 April 2007