Dublin conference: A bottom-up approach to hunger

A woman grinds maize and chickpeas together. Photo by: S. Mojumder / Drik / CIMMYT / CC BY-NC-SA

High-level aid officials and close to 100 people from local communities across Africa and Asia will be participating today in a conference in Dublin that aims to drive post-2015 development agenda discussions on the interlinkages among hunger, nutrition and climate change.

The Dublin Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, Climate Justice  hosted by the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and the Irish government, which currently holds the EU presidency  will act as a platform for the aid community to exchange ideas on tackling hunger and malnutrition.

About 870 million people  563 million of them from Asia-Pacific  continue to suffer from hunger, according to the the FAO’s 2012 State of Food Insecurity in the World. Climate change is expected to add 10 to 20 percent more to this number by 2050. It adds to the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, affects crop production and water access.

A paper released ahead of the conference highlights these scenario and the need to address the nexus between hunger and climate change. With an expected world population of 9 billion come 2050, the need to produce food enough for everyone becomes more critical.

Similarly important is ensuring food produced is packed with sufficient nutrients. Malnutrition leads to stunting and largely contributes to child mortality. A third of global child deaths is linked to malnutrition, according to the World Health Organization.

A common criticism in food security interventions is the lack of focus on nutrition.

Event organizers hope to “inspire” innovations in tackling these global development challenges come Tuesday, the end of the two-day conference. Participants, which include small-holder farmers, fishermen and other community representatives, will be presenting a number of case studies on the effects of climate change on their livelihoods, and programs and initiatives that are helping address the problems, such as the use of biogas in Nepal, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or the result of knowledge sharing among agricultural researchers, nongovernmental organizations and farmers in Malawi in the propagation of vitamin-rich, drought-resistant sweet potato varieties.

Among key development personalities that will be gracing the event are EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Chair Jay Naidoo, former Concern Worldwide chief Tom Arnold, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, Irish trade and development minister Joe Costello and OECD-DAC Chair Erik Solheim.

Patricia Espinosa, a member of the U.N. high-level panel working on the post-2015 development agenda, and Amina Mohammed, U.N. Secretary General Special Advisor on the post-2015 development planning will also be present at the conference, as well as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Irish President Michael Higgins. Malawi President Joyce Banda, meanwhile, is expected to provide a video message during the opening ceremony.

The event is by invitation only but it will be live-streamed at eu2013.ie.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.