Last week I participated in Agenda 2010: The Turning Point On Poverty sponsored by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The conference recognized the progress being made towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals but focused primarily on the MDGs on which the international community is failing to make the most progress: hunger and nutrition, and education and health.
The conference addressed conditions needed to enable the MDGs to be met, including economic growth, stable states, the empowerment of women and tackling climate change. PepsiCo was one of two food companies, along with Unilever, invited to participate along with over 80 technical experts, key ministers and policy makers from developing countries.
Of particular interest was DFID unveiling their first global under nutrition program which targets six countries. Two of them, Nigeria and India, coincide with work PepsiCo is doing in those countries on under-nutrition. I also was impressed with the focus on the fundamental importance of investing in girls as a key element of for progress on all MDGs. The conference made it clear that we must all work with old and new partners to help poor countries participate in, and benefit from, high and sustained economic growth which creates markets, jobs and incomes in order to reach the MDGs.