Yesterday, as the London 2012 Olympics drew to a close, I was at 10 Downing Street to take part in a summit of leaders, experts and campaigners to launch a race against hunger and malnutrition. I wanted to tell you how it went – and to let you know that you have helped create a real chance for 25 million children to avoid stunting and fulfil their potential.
David Cameron decided to hold this event after thousands of ONE members and others called on him to do so. Ahead of the event, your voice was delivered with over 600,000 others to the British Prime Minister, calling on world leaders to tackle malnutrition and allowing millions more children to thrive.
I was really proud of our team at ONE, who brought an amazing line-up of sporting greats to Downing Street for the event. British double Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah, Brazilian football legend Pelé, and Ethiopian Olympic and World Champion Haile Gebrselassie got things off to an exciting start as five children ran down a specially-created race track up to the door of Number 10 and handed a baton to the British Prime Minister and the Brazilian Vice President, urging them to launch a race against hunger.
Inside, we heard a number of strong commitments. The European Commission, through its aid, pledged to reduce the number of stunted children by 7 million by 2025. Ireland’s leader promised to make hunger and malnutrition a priority of their EU presidency next year. India promised to double its investment in nutrition. David Cameron also committed to using Britain’s G8 presidency in 2013 to lead on this vital issue. Meanwhile private companies like Unilever and Vodafone pledged to play their part.
The summit concluded with a push to make significant progress on hunger and nutrition by the time of the next Olympics in 2016. This was one of the key things we had called for. If leaders keep their promises and stay on track, by the time athletes meet again in Rio, 25 million children could have avoided stunting. And that will be just the beginning.
These are real strides forward in the race against hunger, and wouldn’t have been taken if it wasn’t for you. ONE members called for this event to take place and called for concrete commitments to be made at it. Both have happened.
There will be much more to do in the race against hunger, but from what I’ve seen of the passion and dedication of ONE members over the last few weeks I know that we can get there. In Mo Farah’s own words yesterday, this is perhaps the most important race of all.
Thank you very much!