Malnutrition In North Korea – Question in the House of Lords


Food Security Summit
Question July 25th 2012
11.30 am

Asked By

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the agenda for the Food Security Summit that the Prime Minister has called during the 2012 Olympic Games and who will attend.

Baroness Northover:

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister will host a major event on hunger during the London Olympics. He will bring together leaders of Governments, business and civil society organisations to galvanise global efforts to tackle undernutrition.

Lord Alton of Liverpool:

My Lords, in the context where a malnourished child is eight times more likely to die than a child of normal weight, and where 3 million children are estimated to die of malnutrition every year, will the Minister undertake to look at the reports of our previous ambassador in North Korea, Peter Hughes, and our present ambassador, Karen Wolstenholme, who have reported on stunted growth, especially among children, in a country where 2 million died during the famine in the 1990s? Will she accept that, however much we may despise a particular ideology, it should be no part of our policy, or indeed that of the United States or any other nation, to try to drive a country into submission by using food as a weapon of war?

Baroness Northover:

The noble Lord is right to say that there is a very high level of malnutrition across the world, which has a terrible impact upon the health of children. That is why the Government have focused very much on trying to ensure that this issue is addressed. I take on board what he says about this report. I will make sure that DfID sees it, if it has not already done so; I should think it is highly likely that it has already. It is extremely important that we ensure that food—and support for the ability of people to feed themselves—is available worldwide, whatever the regime.