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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Remarks to MDG Summit event: "1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future: Partnering to Reduce Child Under-Nutrition"

by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 21 September 2010

Secretary of State Clinton,
Minister Martin,
Minister Kutesa,
Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Mr. Tom Arnold, Chief Executive Officer of Concern Worldwide,
Mr. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World,
Ms. Maria Eitel, President of the Nike Foundation,
Mr. Muhtar Kent, President and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola,
Excellencies,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank Secretary of State Clinton and Minister Martin for their initiative in organizing this meeting.

Hundreds of millions of people depend on us. Food insecurity and poor nutrition weaken the fabric of humanity.

Two years ago, the world received a harsh wake-up call.

Food prices escalated and food-related instability erupted in many places,

During the crisis, Prime Minister Brian Cowen and I launched the report of the Irish Government's Hunger Task Force.

One year ago, Secretary of State Clinton and I co-chaired an event highlighting the importance of partnerships between governments, businesses and civil society – including farmers' organizations.

And in l'Aquila, 26 nations agreed on the comprehensive food security initiative.

The world is moving on food security.

The l'Aquila initiative, which draws on the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, emphasizes smallholder farmers ... sustainable agriculture ... the links between climate change and agriculture ... and the interests of women both as farmers and as care providers.

It highlights the importance of safety nets and social protection.

It is a recipe for people to enjoy their right to food: long-term increases in food production ? stable food supplies and prices ? universal access to essential nutrition.

We are making progress in bringing the initiative to life.

Such progress gives me hope ? hope that we can better coordinate agriculture, health and social protection and improve links between research and investment to achieve long-term results.

Numerous food security partnerships have been started, including the U.S. Government's 'Feed the Future' initiative. Many countries are implementing long-term investment plans.

Last year's G20 meeting in Pittsburgh called for a Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme to help finance these partnerships.

Funds were received from several sources – including Ireland and the United States – and the first five grants were awarded in June this year. Many more countries are preparing applications.

Let us work to expand the pool of donors, and increase the resources that are available.

Today, we focus on two important new initiatives. The SUN Road Map for Scaling Up Nutrition, and the Thousand Day Movement, which will increase political attention to this essential element of the food security equation.

I strongly support both initiatives. They can help us to make significant headway on MDG-1.

SUN shines the light on our most precious and vulnerable resource.

Under-nourished children are more likely to get sick. They cannot concentrate in school and often earn less as adults. They pay the price throughout their lives.

Poor women do not eat enough nutrient-rich foods in pregnancy, nor are such foods readily available to their new-born children.

Furthermore, women who are poor can often be too busy working in the fields and markets to breastfeed or provide the care a baby needs.

SUN proposes a set of effective nutrition interventions from the start of each pregnancy until a child reaches the age of two.

We call this the thousand day window of opportunity.

These interventions are extremely cost-effective. They prioritize the interests of women and the importance of nutritious diets for mothers and babies.

If overall development policies are sensitive to the importance of the thousand day window, we can make a big difference to under-nutrition.

The SUN Framework has been endorsed by more than 100 key stakeholders. It gives us a unique opportunity to bring the SUN into young lives everywhere.

Today I encourage leaders to ensure that each decision they make helps reduce the risk of under-nutrition.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Martin, I thank you for your support across this agenda. Please know that I am glad to be counted as a Global Nutrition Leader.

Thank you.