Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have launched a new initiative in New York aimed at reducing hunger in the world.

The 'Change a Life, Change the Future' strategy is a collaboration hoping to pull together the efforts of different countries in the area of childhood nutrition.

Ireland has joined in a partnership with the US to highlight and push forward a plan to deal with hunger and, in particular, the first 1,000 days in a child's life.

It is a crucial time. If an infant is deprived of key nutrients during this time, the child can be affected for life.

Ireland has been using more than 10% of its development aid for this purpose in recent years and the aim is to spend a fifth of its overseas aid directly on reducing hunger.

It is a key issue in New York during a week in which world leaders are discussing the Millennium Development Goals.

The goals were set out amid much optimism before the international downturn, but are now under pressure as many countries take a second look at their development budgets.