Elders to meet in Dublin next year


Global leader group, the Elders, is coming to Dublin next year because of the Irish presidency of the European Union, one of its members Mary Robinson said today.

The former Irish president said the Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights, would hold its next meeting in Dublin next May. Members of the group include its chairman Desmond Tutu, former US president Jimmy Carter, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and former president of Brazil Ferdinand Henrique Cardoso.

Mrs Robinson said that during Elder meetings they had some “really hot arguments”which tended to be between who want to focus on acute crises such as Syria and others who want to tackle broader concerns.

She was speaking at the meeting of the European Venture Philanthropy Association in Croke Park, Dublin today. The conference with some 400 delegates was on the theme of backing changemakers in a time of uncertainty.

She told the group that she was “interested” in an observation at their annual conference that the countries of Europe “are still quite rich societies despite the angst of the eurozone and hardship for people”.

“In these changing times I believe we also need to have a knowledge and appreciation of how grossly unequal our world is and to address this inequality with a passion for social justice,” she said.

Mrs Robinson also spoke about the UN’s Scaling Up Nutrition initiative, a movement which she and chief executive of Concern Worldwide Tom Arnold are leading.

“I believe to be truly revolutionary" it “will need to focus on the role of women in addressing under-nutrition,” she said.

The movement focuses on nutrition during the 1,000 days from conception through the first two years of life.

“You can’t tackle under nutrition without placing them [women] in the centre,” she said. “This may sound like common sense but it is quite a revolutionary approach that has not been done,” she said.

Mrs Robinson  said a climate justice approach needed to be “embraced” in tackling the hunger issue with women and children front an centre.

The world was in a “very significant time of change” with the population due to reach nine billion by 2050 requiring an increase by 70 per cent in grain production and an increase in 20 per cent of people going hungry, she said.

She also flagged another initiative during Ireland’s EU presidency when the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice would be work with the Government co-host a major conference in April to highlight the links between hunger, nutrition and climate justice.

The conference would not have “experts” but those who “work on the ground”, she said.

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