Rishi Sunak said "no parent should ever have to watch their child starve" as he opened the Global Food Security Summit in London today.

The Prime Minister also launched a White Paper setting out the Government's long-term approach to international development more broadly up to 2030.

Speaking at the gathering at Lancaster House, Mr Sunak announced a new virtual hub to link UK scientists with global research initiatives aiming to develop climate and disease resistant crops.

The Northern Farmer: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opens the Global Food Security Summit in London on Monday Picture: DAN KITWOOD/PA

Mr Sunak said the new science centre will "drive cutting-edge research on flood-tolerant rice, disease-resistant wheat and much more", with the innovations reaching millions across the poorest countries as well as improving UK crop yields and driving down food prices.

He told the summit: "It can't be right that today in 2023, almost one billion people across the world regularly do not have enough to eat, that millions face hunger and starvation, and over 45 million children under five are suffering acute malnutrition.

The Northern Farmer: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opens the Global Food Security Summit in London on Monday Picture: DAN KITWOOD/PA

"In a world of abundance, no one should die from lack of food, and no parent should ever have to watch their child starve."

The UK is hosting the food summit in London alongside Somalia, the United Arab Emirates, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The White Paper fails to restore the target to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid, after the budget was slashed to 0.5 per cent by Mr Sunak when he was chancellor amid economic pressures in 2021.

It reiterates that the Government's commitment to return to the higher target "once the fiscal situation allows".

The Prime Minister said the paper demonstrates the UK's new approach to development, "going further to help the poorest and support those suffering in humanitarian crises", leading not "merely with strength, but with compassion", and harnessing Britain's expertise in development and science.

"We live in a dangerous world, at a time of growing threats, strategic competition and conflict. Now, many of these challenges like the war in Ukraine have a direct impact on the poorest in the world."

The Northern Farmer: A pre-recorded message by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is broadcast during the opening session of the Global Food Security Summit in London Picture: DAN KITWOOD/PA

The UK is changing its approach "to deliver in a changing world", Mr Sunak said.

He also announced £16m in additional support for the international child nutrition fund. UK support for child malnutrition will match pound for pound the amount the worst-affected countries including Uganda, Ethiopia and Senegal invest of their own resources in tackling the issue, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.

Up to £100m in humanitarian funding is being released to countries worst hit by food insecurity including Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Afghanistan, and to countries impacted by climate-related weather events such as Malawi, the FCDO said.

The White Paper's priorities include mobilising international finance, reforming the international system, tackling climate change, harnessing innovation, and putting women and girls centre stage.