25 September 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York




Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonís remarks at the presentation of the Irish Hunger Task Force report, today in New York:

This is an important day at the United Nations. †More than 100 world leaders will take stock of progress so far in reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

First among the Millennium Development Goals is eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. †Later today, I will be meeting with Governments of countries most affected by the food crisis, together with the biggest food producers and exporters, to discuss new ways forward.

We need to coordinate our efforts around a Global Partnership for Food, bringing together Governments, the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions, donors, civil society and the private sector. †We need to provide the political commitment to make policy changes. †We need to provide funding of up to $40 billion per year for the next three to five years.

I am grateful to Ireland for doing its part.† And I appreciate Prime Minister Brian Cowan for organizing this very important and meaningful event.† We have almost 60 side events, but these are all very helpful in raising the awareness and making very favourable conditions and atmosphere among the Governments and private sector and civil communities, and I really appreciate it.

The Task Force of the Irish Government started its work in early 2007, long before the food crisis stormed into the consciousness of broad public opinion.

But as the Taoiseach has just pointed out, Ireland is a country that knew mass famine only a century and a half ago. †I have learned a lot about the poverty and famine situation in your country.

This national experience no doubt reinforces the extraordinary commitment of the Irish people to their partnership with the developing countries, especially in Africa.

That sense of partnership is in keeping with Irelandís half century of participation in United Nations peacekeeping; its stalwart support of the development and humanitarian dimensions of the United Nations; its contribution to the international convention on cluster munitions; and its leadership in the reform and renewal of the United Nations.

I am confident that this report will reinforce the work of my own High-Level Task Force on the Food Security Crisis, which has developed a comprehensive framework for action. †And thanks to Bono and others, it will help us focus the attention of world leaders.† I thank the Government of Ireland and the distinguished members, including a number of my own United Nations colleagues, Josette Sheeran and Sheila Sisulu of WFP [World Food Programme].

This is a great way to begin this important day. †To quote one of Bonoís songs: †ďItís a beautiful day; donít let it get away.Ē

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For information media • not an official record