Justine Greening's closing speech at Nutrition for Growth event

Summary of commitments made at Nutrition for Growth event.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP

Thanks very much Henry. I now have the pleasure of drawing this morning’s session to a close. A hugely important session, and can I just start by saying a massive thank you to everybody who’s contributed to what I think, we can all agree, was an incredibly successful day.

On behalf of the Prime Minister David Cameron, who was here earlier this morning, and the UK government, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the commitments that you’ve made here today.

Thank you also to Vice President Temer, from the Government of Brazil, and to Jamie and Chris Cooper-Hohn for your partnership in this fantastic work. And of course to Paul Polman of Unilever for donating the use of what has been a wonderful space to hold such an important event. And finally can I just say thank you to my ministerial team at the Department for International Development, Lynne Featherstone and Alan Duncan, and also officials at the Department for all their work in pulling together today’s programme.

Twenty-five years ago if you’d asked most people what they thought about aid, what they thought aid was, they might have said it was food parcels to famine hit regions, and it’s easy to see why.

I remember when I was growing up at secondary school in Rotherham, Yorkshire. When Live Aid and Band Aid woke us up to that dreadful famine in Ethiopia and it was really for me the first time, I think, I became aware of some of the challenges that other countries face in the world.

It was an incredibly powerful moment that I’ll never forget. It brought the problem of hunger right to the top of the political and global agenda. But the truth is that while the international community has been great at responding to emergencies, I think we perhaps have been less successful at tackling the root causes of some of these problems. I think we now understand that challenge better.

We understand that the visible signs of hunger are just the tip of the iceberg and that the crisis of undernutrition may be unseen, but it is often just as devastating. If children don’t have the right nutrition they can’t develop properly and that harms not just their health and personal development in later life, but when you add it all together it harms their countries’ economic development prospects too.

I’ve said that I want to see an end to aid dependency through jobs and growth. Ending hunger and undernutrition is the first step in securing self- sufficiency. But I don’t believe that hunger and nutrition can be solved by governments and donors alone, and we’ve seen that today.

That’s why it’s so important that we have the input of business, including Unilever, today. And I’d like to pay tribute to Paul Polman for the commitment that he has shown, not just here but on the high level panel to business leaders across the world, about what steps companies can take to be part of the development push.

We’ve had business and we’ve also had science and academia. All have shown their willingness to be part of the solution today. The Global Nutrition for Growth Compact shows not just commitment of resource to improve nutrition, but commitment of political will too. Ninety-one countries and organisations have signed up to it and I’m aiming for more by the time of the Compact’s first report at the UN General Assembly later this year.

Businesses have signed up to provide nutritional support for their workforces and their families including breastfeeding mothers. The Compact sets out an ambitious timetable for change and I’m absolutely delighted that Brazil will bring us back together again at the Rio Olympics where we can demonstrate what we’ve achieved in the thousand days between now and then.

The UK will play its part too. We are committing ourselves to up to an additional £655 million for direct nutrition that will go on programmes between now and 2020. Of this, around £280 million will be used to leverage new extra contributions from others, in order to help raise a further £500 million plus.

We’re also really delighted that part of that is a £32 million funding allocated to a new catalytic financing facility for nutrition that we’re launching today with CIFF. It’s really aiming to pull-in more philanthropic investments into this area than we’ve ever seen before.

I’m also committing to make sure that a greater proportion of our work is nutrition sensitive; worth around £604 million of our planned future investments in agriculture, social protection, sanitation, hygiene and humanitarian response that will deliver an even more long-term impact on nutrition.

This of course sits alongside the fantastic, ongoing huge nutrition commitments already being made by countries like the US and Canada. And I’m absolutely delighted to see that Julian Fantino [Canadian Minister of International Co-operation] and Rajiv Shah from USAID are here today.

We’ve also heard some outstanding new commitments. President Banda, earlier today, talking about increasing Malawi’s domestic financing for her national plan to 0.3% of annual Government funding. This is a fantastic commitment.

From business, British company Del Agua planning to reach nine million people in Rwanda with advanced water sources.

Together, donors, philanthropic foundations and CSOs have announced new commitments today, which including potential leverage funding, is up to $4.1 billion. And for those UK people here, that’s £2.7 billion.

A further $19 billion has been announced for investments in agriculture, hygiene, social protection and other nutrition sensitive programmes that can help deliver even more results.

In conclusion, we can all take huge pride today in having secured what I think is a truly historic pledge to find long-lasting solutions in order to end undernutrition in our lifetime.

Thank you so much for your contributions today, but it’s only a start, now the work begins. Today we have set the ambition, but let’s use that ambition, the promises that we’ve made today, to make that pledge a reality in the future.

Thank you.

Published 8 June 2013