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World Food Summit Neglects Millions of Children

Governments gathered in Rome offered no funding for childhood deaths from hunger

NEW YORK, NY—International diplomats assembled at this week’s World Food Summit in Rome failed yet again to take action on acute malnutrition, which kills up to five million children in developing countries every year. Despite initial pledges of $20 billion for agricultural assistance made at the G8 Summit earlier this year, world leaders have not provided any specific funding to address childhood malnutrition.

Action Against Hunger| ACF International expressed regret today that the World Food Summit produced no concrete commitments toward reducing the number of child deaths from malnutrition. Although acute malnutrition is preventable and readily curable, currently less than 10 percent of children can access treatment.

“As governments dither, millions of children are dying,” said Nan Dale, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger. “All that’s needed to bring proven methods to scale is political will, but that was in short supply this week.” Seven of the G8 leaders were absent from the World Food Summit, which was convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Last year Action Against Hunger treated some 400,000 children with acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger. The global humanitarian organization has responded to recent childhood malnutrition outbreaks in a number of countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and the Central Africa Republic, and runs prevention programs worldwide that reach some five million people each year.

Action Against Hunger reiterates its call for world leaders to prioritize malnutrition as part of ongoing efforts to address global food insecurity by:

  1. Allocating specific funding to the detection, treatment and prevention of childhood malnutrition;
  2. Reflecting the importance of food safety nets in financial commitments. Safety nets help families afford a nutritious diet for their children and protect against shocks to food consumption;
  3. Creating international and national mechanisms to address malnutrition from a range of sectors, including agricultural development, health, water & sanitation, and nutrition; and
  4. Establishing an accountability mechanism to ensure commitments are leveraged into real action.
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