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Concern welcomes Special Envoy for Hunger

Concern Worldwide today welcomed the appointment of Kevin Farrell as Special Envoy for Hunger, to oversee Ireland's response to the global hunger crisis.

The appointment was made by Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power TD in response to recommendations of the Hunger Task Force. The Special Envoy will ensure these recommendations are implemented effectively across the Irish Aid’s areas of focus.

Plight of the poorest

Concern CEO Tom Arnold, who served on the Task Force, said: “The appointment of a Special Envoy for Hunger affirms Ireland’s commitment to leading from the front in addressing the plight of the poorest and most malnourished of the world at a time when the global recession and the international financial crisis makes them more vulnerable than they have ever been. Mr Farrell’s experience from his long career with the World Food Programme and his work with Concern in Bangladesh in the early part of his career makes him an ideal choice for this role.”

Role of Special Envoy

The Hunger Envoy will assist efforts at national, regional and international levels to reduce hunger and incerease access to food. He will also help shape effective responses to internationally agreed targets, in particular the Millennium Development Goal to halve global hunger by 2015.

Appointed for a term of 18 months, he will make a final report to the Minister of State for Overseas Development on Ireland’s progress in the implementation of the Hunger Task Force recommendations.

Commitment to 0.7%

“This announcement...reaffirms the Government’s commitment to overseas development and, in particular, to providing 0.7% of GNP to the aid programme by 2012.” added Arnold. “Ireland’s willingness to provide a lead in so doing is to be welcomed and has, I believe, the support of all the political parties and of the Irish people."

According to the latest United Nations global figures, 963 million people do not have enough to eat – more than the populations of the USA, Canada and the European Union. A staggering 40 million of these joined the ranks of the hungry and malnourished in 2008, due to crop failures and rising food prices. Current estimates suggest the total number will surpass one billion by the end of 2009.