13 August 2012
Mo Farah lends voice to fight against global hunger
There is plenty of food to go round, but yet every year two million children die because they just do not have enough to eat.
This shocking statistic was highlighted as the Olympic Games drew to a close over the weekend, ending with an event at Downing Street in which the prime minister urged world leaders to keep the global food crisis at the top of their agenda.
David Cameron was joined by Mo Farah, Team GB's double Olympic gold medal winner who is originally from Somalia, who used his recent surge in popularity to urge a global drive to boost nutrition.
Sporting legends Pele and Haile Gebrselassie, who have also campaigned to end the cycle of hunger and poverty by tackling their root causes, also joined the meeting at Downing Street.
The event announced three new initiatives in scientific innovation, better accountability by governments and greater co-operation between governments, civil society and business.
It is hoped that work in these areas will help tackle undernutrition, prevent stunting and improve children's life chances.
Leading aid and development charities, including Alliance member Tearfund, have welcomed the progress that was made at the Olympics Hunger Event in a joint statement which urges world leaders to keep the issue at the forefront of their minds in the run-up to next year's G8 summit in the UK.
The charities, including Christian Aid, Oxfam and the Global Poverty Project, said: "At a time when the world's spotlight is on Britain, we have shown as a nation not only that we can stage the greatest Olympics in history, but that we believe in a legacy for the Games which is about more than medals and arenas.
"There is real hope now that – with the momentum from this meeting building towards next year's G8 summit – we can mount the biggest-ever effort to end global hunger and fix the broken food system. The meeting acknowledged that this is a crisis with complex structural causes, but with the political will seen today, we know the solutions are at hand.
"At a time when Britain is being praised around the world for delivering a great Olympic Games and producing so many world-beating athletes, when the British people are rightly proud of what we have achieved, we have the opportunity as a country to show that same leadership and take that same pride in tackling one of the world's great shared problems. That global leadership and the millions of lives it will save would be the greatest legacy the UK Olympics could ever leave."
Speaking after the meeting, international development secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "As we focus on the legacy of these wonderful London Olympics, we have a chance to give millions of the world's poorest children a better start to life. We know that better nutrition for mothers and infants in the first 1,000 days from the start of pregnancy can stop the irreversible effects of malnutrition.
"Government, businesses and NGOs must now work in partnership to improve nutrition for the world's poorest people. I am determined that the UK will help lead and galvanise global efforts to tackle malnutrition. That would be a great Olympic legacy from London 2012."