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Minister of State Cuffe emphasises role of Climate Change and Food Security on World Food Day

Speaking on the occasion of World Food Day 2010, Ciaran Cuffe TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Sustainable Transport, Horticulture, Planning and Heritage today underlined the significant impact that unimpeded Climate Change would have on issues of global food security. "Climate change intensifies the difficulties in planning and coping with weather variability and climate hazards for vulnerable people. Climate change magnifies the challenges faced by governments and the international community in supporting poor people and assisting them in their efforts to become more food secure" he said.

World Food Day, held every year on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, aims to highlight issues surrounding hunger and poverty in the developing world. Minister Cuffe noted the number of hungry people in the world now stands at 925 million, marking a decrease from the record 1.02 billion reached in 2009. However, this slowing in the growth of world hunger numbers does not leave the global community in any position to relax.  The Minister called for continued momentum in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals relating to World Hunger and highlighted the Irish Government's continued commitment to taking a leadership role internationally in eliminating hunger, with a particular focus on targeting maternal and infant under-nutrition.

Minister Cuffe stated, "In a world where a child dies every six seconds, hunger remains for the global community a tragic focus for urgent, cohesive and multilateral action" And furthermore "We must remain driven by the conviction that it is possible in the five years remaining to deliver measurable progress on our commitment to reducing the number of undernourished people to half their level no later than 2015". He concluded by saying that 'the Food Harvest 2020 Strategy was drawn up having full regard to the wider context of world food supply and demand and the role Ireland can play as a major producing and exporting country'.

The Minister went on to state that the escalation of weather related events such as those evidenced from flood-devastated Pakistan to the drought-devastated Sahel illustrated how the issue of climate change and its interaction with issues of food security has advanced into a sharper focus. He noted that Ireland also has to play its part in this process and, in this regard, Minister Cuffe stated that the forthcoming Climate Change Bill will play an integral role in terms of Ireland's national response and acknowledgment that every country and every individual has an important role to play in addressing the interdependent issues of food security and climate change.

Note for Editors:

World Food Day is a global initiative lead by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. It was started in 1980 and is held in countries throughout the world around October 16th. (This is the date on which the FAO was established in 1945). The aim of World Food Day is to raise awareness about hunger and poverty in the developing world. Every year a different theme is selected for World Food Day. This year's theme is 'United Against Hunger'.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations was founded in 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the conditions of rural populations. Since its inception, FAO has worked to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition and the pursuit of food security. FAO is one of the largest specialised agencies in the United Nations system and the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development.

Date Released: 15 October 2010