London, 8 June - The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement today hailed world leaders signing the "Global Nutrition for Growth Compact" as an indication of unprecedented determination to end the injustice of malnutrition.
More than 60 world leaders attended the Nutrition for Growth high-level event -- a highlight of the UK's agenda during its Presidency of the G8 group of nations -- hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Vice-President of Brazil Michel Temer and Jamie Cooper-Hohn, CEO of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The event focused on the importance of good nutrition for the growth of individuals, societies and countries. Leaders from governments, international organizations, businesses, as well as civil society organizations, development agencies and research groups, signed the compact and made concrete commitments to act for better nutrition globally over the next seven years.
The commitments included clear targets for reducing the numbers of undernourished (or "stunted") children, for tackling obesity, for reducing anaemia in pregnancy and other deficiencies, new government policies and business practices, increased spending, making agriculture and food systems more nourishing, improving opportunities for women to breast feed their infants, and greater public information – and accountability – among all involved. Signatories to the compact indicated their willingness to be called to account for their pledges.
In a video message to the high-level event, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the UN's commitment to alleviating malnutrition in all its forms.
"No child should suffer the injustice of malnutrition. Yet one in four will be stunted by chronic malnutrition -- unless we act," said the UN chief."
"These commitments can support children's development, help hundreds of millions of people and boost the economies of some of the world's most vulnerable countries. The UN system and I will do everything within our power to see them fulfilled," he continued.
Data released this week in The 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition found that globally, malnutrition is responsible for nearly half the deaths of children under age 5 each year, indicating a critical need for continued investment and innovative collaboration. These deaths are largely preventable. In the past five years, since the release of the landmark 2008 Lancet Nutrition Series, implementation of proven interventions, integration of nutrition into broader health and development efforts and increased political commitment has resulted in alleviating the severity of malnutrition in several highly burdened countries. Evidence shows there is more to be done, however, particularly in tackling the underlying drivers of malnutrition.
"Overcoming stunting is a vital element of the Zero Hunger Challenge, my vision for a world where everyone enjoys their right to adequate food and good nutrition," added the Secretary-General in his message.
The presence of strong, cross-sector leadership in London and the commitment to a shared vision of success in ending malnutrition reflects the approach of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, an effort led by national governments dedicated to an investment in nutrition as an investment in the future. With countries leading the way in establishing nutrition plans, policies and programmes, global stakeholders across civil society, business, donors and others align to support advancement of these national priorities.
Since launching in 2010, the SUN Movement has expanded to 40 countries that together are home to 80 million stunted children equivalent to about half of all stunted children in the world.
"Good nutrition is essential for the growth of individuals, nations and economies," said Dr David Nabarro, Coordinator of the SUN Movement. "All in the Movement are excited by this event in London, which should be remembered as the day when the world started to turn a corner and start to see an end to the scandal of child malnutrition in today's world".
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