Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan says the poor will be the first to suffer as a result of the current global financial crisis.

Mr Annan made the comments as he addressed an international conference being held in Dublin to discuss world hunger.

Aid Agency Concern has organised the conferenceat the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, which is being attended by more than 200 delegates.

Mr Annan is concerned that the current financial crisis will result in governments taking their eye off the issue of world hunger.

He said the poor must be protected and the world must use the current crisis to come up with effective reforms of the global financial market.

He praised the Government for its aid commitment and said reconfirmation of that assistance in this weeks budget was welcome.

Since leaving his job at the UN, Mr Annan has become involved with a group called Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, he is campaigning to have countries change their agricultural policies and increase food production and availability.

Former President Mary Robinson and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General Jeffrey Sachs are among the speakers today.