The European Union (EU) is to spend an unprecedented €3.5 billion between 2014-2020 on improving nutrition in some of the world's poorest countries, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, is expected to pledge tomorrow.
Speaking ahead of a donors' event on nutrition to take place in London on June 8, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said: "I find it incomprehensible that in an era of technological revolution, some 870 million people are still going hungry and malnutrition is responsible for over 3 million child deaths annually. We have the means to stop this tragedy. What is lacking is the political will and determination to do so. That's why I am so pleased that so many people will take part in the event tomorrow; it shows that donors are giving nutrition the importance it deserves. Our new financial pledge will demonstrate that the EU is determined to make malnutrition history for once and for all."
This vital issue is high on the EU's long-term development cooperation agenda. Inadequate food and nutrition security takes an enormous toll on economies and damages the livelihoods and economic capabilities of already vulnerable populations. However, the EU recognises that 'hidden hunger', or under-nutrition, has not always been adequately addressed. To tackle this, EU has stepped up to the forefront of global efforts to eradicate hunger and under-nutrition in the world. Over the next ten years the EU intends to support some 50 countries, including 40 in Africa, to improve food security and reducing stunting.
This financial commitment will allow the Commission to reach the 2025 target announced last year: using EU-funded programmes to support partner countries in reducing, by seven million, the number of stunted children under 5 by 2025. Stunted children are those who are chronically underweight or small for their age due to a lack of access to healthcare and nutritious food. Stunting prevents these children from reaching their full mental and physical development and thus hampers their future. This commitment would help to meet 10 per cent of the World Health Assembly stunting reduction target (70 million less stunted five-years-old children by 2025).
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