As Great Britain revels in the aftermath of Olympic triumph, RESULTS UK looks to what the true legacy of these momentous Games might be and asks what it really means to inspire a generation.
Held on the same day as the Olympic’s closing ceremony, the UK Hunger Summit, co-hosted by David Cameron and Brazil’s Vice-President Michel Temer, gathered together world leaders, global food specialists, NGOs and sporting legends to discuss measures to tackle childhood malnutrition between now and the next Olympic Games in 2016.
Two million deaths are caused by malnutrition and famine each year but actual figures are likely to be higher, as starvation is rarely cited on death certificates. An additional 170 million children are so under-nourished that both their physical and mental development will be compromised, resulting in less healthy, less able future generations. That’s why the Prime Minister’s objective for the summit was so important; that of creating a lasting legacy and inspiring action through the Games to forge permanent and effective initiatives and support to wipe out world hunger.
One of the key breakthroughs that came from the summit was the UK’s pledge of £120 million towards new drought-resistant, vitamin rich crops as well as increased commitments from private corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever to provide good quality, nutritious food to the world’s poor. Targets to reduce the number of children affected by malnourishment were also agreed by a total of 25 million by 2016, in keeping with the UN’s 2025 target of 70 million.
These measures were welcomed by members of the global food community, NGOs and international advocacy groups. A number of high profile celebrities and sports personalities also showed their support for the initiative, including UNICEF’s Goodwill ambassador David Beckham and recent Olympic champion Mo Farrah; one of the key guests at the summit on Sunday.
Andrew Mitchel, Secretary of State for the Department of International Development, says the aftermath of the Games was the perfect opportunity to further the fight against hunger and malnutrition on a multi-national scale:
“This is a chance for Britain, together with the next hosts of the Olympics – the Brazilians – to put a real flag in the sand about the importance of tackling malnutrition in the future.”
As Britain gears itself up for yet more sporting success at the Paralympics, RESULTS is keen to make sure this golden opportunity is not wasted. It is now important that political impetus be combined with concrete investments from the private sector to help put an end to global hunger and malnutrition by providing better food options for those living on and below the poverty line.
No doubt, this is a marathon mission and not a sprint; one that the UK must lead to put pressure on all governments to re-address the issue of food security and distribution in the world today.