Nutrition Takes Centre-Stage At US-Ireland Hunger Event

Nutrition has become a central theme in the latest approaches to defeating hunger, marking a paradigm shift in food aid and development. This was underlined by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in an address to state officials and humanitarians at a recent event hosted by the US and Irish governments.

NEW YORK – WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Tuesday told a crowd of government officials, UN agency heads and humanitarians gathered at the 1,000 Days: Change A Life, Change The Future event in New York that nutrition had taken enourmous strides in just a few years to become a strategic priority in the fight against hunger.

“I think we’ve made history here," said Sheeran. "I guarantee you that if you met with a group of nutritionists two years ago, and said that their cause would be taken up by foreign ministers and the Secretary General of the United Nations, they wouldn’t have believed you."

The event, hosted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin on the sidelines of the UN Millenium Development Goals Summit, brought together a wide range of policy makers and opinion leaders to discuss food security and nutrition in the developing world.

Sheeran was joined on the podium by both Clinton, Martin and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who together urged nations to reach benchmakrs for improving the health of small children, pregant women and nursing children.

The event's name refers to the 1,000 days between conception and the first two years of life in which children are at highest risk of suffering life-long harm as a result of malnutrition. 

“Let today be the first of one thousand days of focused, concerted efforts to translate our common knowledge and vision into concrete action and then build momentum,” said Clinton.