EU Pledges 3.5 Billion to Improve Nutrition For Poor

June 7, 2013

2 Min Read
EU Pledges 3.5 Billion to Improve Nutrition For Poor

BRUSSELSThe European Union (EU) announced it will allocate 3.5 billion between 2014-2020 to improve nutrition in some of the world's poorest countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 3 million children under age 5 years die every year as a result of under-nutrition and roughly 165 million children aged under 5 years old are suffering from stunting.

The announcement comes just days after U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva on June 4 called for resolute efforts to eradicate malnutrition and hunger from around the world. In keeping with the promise made when he took office in January 2012, Graziano da Silva said the social and economic costs of global malnutrition unacceptable.

Speaking ahead of a donors' event on nutrition to take place in London on June 8, EU 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."

Of the 3.5 billion allocated for the program, 400 million will be spent on boosting nutrition through specific nutrition programs in the health sector, whereas the other 3.1 billion will be invested in making sure programs in other areas such as agriculture, education, water and social protection do more to reduce under-nutrition.

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 recognizes 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 programs to support partner countries in reducing, by 7 million, the number of stunted children under age 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% of the World Health Assembly stunting reduction target (70 million less stunted 5-year-old children by 2025).

 

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