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Hunger Summit the “Starting Gun” On An Olympic Legacy

Hunger Summit the “Starting Gun” On An Olympic Legacy For Millions Of Hungry Children

For immediate release

The UK government has organised the Olympic Hunger Summit to take place on 12 August, the last day of the Olympics and Save the Children is asking all who attend to commit to the biggest push yet to reduce child malnutrition, which kills millions of children around the world each year.

In announcing the summit British Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to Save the Children’s calls to keep the issue of food insecurity on the global agenda following the G8 summit at Camp David earlier this year.

"We are delighted that the UK Prime Minister has decided to hold a world hunger summit during the Olympics,” said Save the Children New Zealand CEO Liz Gibbs.
"With over a hundred heads of state visiting the UK, the Olympics offer a unique opportunity to leave a global legacy beyond sport” she said.

Mr Cameron will jointly chair the Summit with Brazil, the host of the next Olympics. It is likely that commitments to tackle child stunting, a condition caused by malnutrition, will be set as targets to achieve before the 2016 Olympics.

Save the Children is in the midst of responding to a food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa, where more than one million children face starvation, and wants to see hunger remain firmly on the agenda when the UK hosts the next G8 meeting in 2013.

Save the Children New Zealand, with support from the New Zealand government, is providing life-saving direct support to the crisis in the Sahel. They are appealing to the public for help and will give $359,435 in emergency funds towards the response in Mauritania, one of the affected countries where an estimated 700,000 people are currently affected by the food crisis.
The agency says that if global trends, such as climate change, volatile food prices and economic uncertainty continue, then over the next 15 years 450 million stunted children will not see their brains and bodies develop fully because of malnutrition.

"By galvanising other world leaders, the private sector, charities, and the public, the UK Prime Minister can help save the lives of millions of children who currently face a daily battle with hunger. This is a fight the world can win, and this is the time to act,” said Ms Gibbs.

Notes to editor:

The Olympic Hunger Summit:

• The summit will take place after the marathon on the day of the Olympic closing ceremony, 12 August.
• No 10 Downing St has asked Save the Children, other NGOs, Olympic athletes and high profile celebrities to help organise a public event to mark the start of the summit.
• A representative of the Brazilian government is expected at the summit and Brazil has agreed to link this to the Olympic cause.
• The summit aims to build on The New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security agreed at the 2012 G8, which aims to assist 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth.

Save the Children’s response to the Sahel, West Africa food crisis:
• More than 18 million people are affected by the food crisis in the Sahel region West Africa.
• The crisis is caused by a combination of drought, increased food prices and instability – including conflict in neighbouring countries.
• Save the children is responding to the needs of vulnerable children in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
• With support from the New Zealand government, Save the Children New Zealand is providing funds to implement a direct support programme to assist children and families in the worst affected Brakna and Gorgol regions of Mauritania.
• Direct support programmes strengthen the local economy - the most vulnerable families can purchase the food they need from their local market. This keeps them from selling the livestock that would provide for their future and means they won’t have to sacrifice their children’s education or healthcare.
• A donation of $65 will help a family survive for a month. Donate at: www.savethechildren.org.nz

Malnutrition:
• Malnutrition is widely seen as one of the greatest threats to a child’s wellbeing.
• At least five children die every minute of every day from malnutrition-related causes.
• A combination of global trends – climate change, volatile food prices, economic uncertainty and demographic shifts – is putting future progress on tackling malnutrition at risk.
• Save the Children says that six interventions during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life could save over 2 million children’s lives per year. These interventions are breastfeeding, complimentary feeding, iron folate, vitamin A, zinc and good hygiene.
• A new report, Ending the Everyday Emergency, by Save the Children and World Vision outlines how repeated food crises in the Sahel region of West Africa have made children and families more vulnerable to starvation and calls for long term strategies to improve resilience. The full report is available at: http://savethechildren.org.nz/assets/635/Ending%20the%20Everyday%20Emergency%20-%20full%20report%20final%20%2817%20July%202012%29.pdf
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ENDS

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