Trending: Momentum Builds to End Undernutrition for Good
Prior to this week’s G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, which took on a variety of international issues, G8 governments and many others have taken on an issue that’s critically important to us at Action Against Hunger and to people all around the world—undernutrition.
On June 6th, the medical journal The Lancet published new evidence of the importance of maternal and child nutrition in preventing child mortality, linking nearly half of all child deaths to undernutrition and emphasizing how cost-effective proven interventions like treating severe acute malnutrition really are. Our staff in more than 40 countries around the world use these key interventions to save lives and prevent undernutrition.
On June 8th, the governments of the United Kingdom and Brazil, along with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), brought together representatives from governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to pledge support for nutrition interventions and generated a total of $4.15 billion in commitments to nutrition financing through 2020. As part of these pledges, we at Action Against Hunger committed to raising private funds to address undernutrition and signed onto the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact.
The new Lancet report emphasizes how cost-effective proven interventions really are, like treating children with severe acute malnutrition.
All the pledges, however, fall far short of the resources needed to achieve a world free of undernutrition. The Lancet estimates that $9.6 billion would be necessary annually to cover 90% of the need for the top ten nutrition-specific interventions in the 34 countries with the highest burden of undernutrition. That’s more than double the total amount pledged over seven years.
On June 10th and 11th, civil society representatives from around the world gathered along with US government representatives in Washington, D.C. to emphasize the need to sustain political commitment to scaling up nutrition. We partnered to sponsor the Next 1,000 Days event at which representatives from approximately 40 countries in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement shared their experiences with scaling up.
Civil society representatives from SUN countries officially launched the SUN Civil Society Network, which will enable information sharing and coordination across the movement. They declared their principles and overall objectives and discussed several areas of future work, including how to most effectively work with the broader nutrition community and how to advocate for nutrition in global and national settings.
Where do we go from here?
We remain dedicated to improving nutrition through our work in nutrition, including a pledge to provide lifesaving assistance to 600,000 children with severe acute malnutrition and to improve the nutrition status and environment of six million children. We will also support governments in strengthening their systems for delivering nutrition interventions, and will seek additional resources to meet the global need for critical nutrition interventions.
We want to see concrete progress toward the goals that the international community has set for itself. These include Millennium Development Goal number 4 of reducing the child mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 and the 2012 World Health Assembly targets to dramatically reduce undernutrition in children and pregnant women, such as lowering and maintaining childhood wasting to below 5% by 2025.
With new evidence supporting and donor and developing country governments acknowledging the critical role of maternal and child nutrition, we have the opportunity to give the next generation the start it deserves. But it will take our combined and sustained efforts to mobilize the resources necessary to meet this fundamental need.
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