New York, US - The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement on Saturday hailed world leaders for signing the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact in London as an indication of unprecedented determination to end the injustice of malnutrition.
A UN statement, made available to PANA in New York, said that more than 60 world leaders attended the Nutrition for Growth high-level event in London.
The event was 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 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is an effort led by national governments dedicated to an investment in nutrition as an investment in the future.
It said that the event focused on the importance of good nutrition for the growth of individuals, societies and countries.
The statement said that 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.
Others are 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, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to alleviating malnutrition in all its forms.
Ban said no child should suffer the injustice of malnutrition, yet one in four would be stunted by chronic malnutrition unless the world acted.
He said: “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.
“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.”
The statement said that data released in 'The 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition' found that globally, malnutrition was 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.
It said 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 had 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,' it said.
The SUN initiative is also supported by global stakeholders across civil society, business, donors and others aligned 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.
Mr. David Nabarro, Coordinator of the SUN Movement said: “Good nutrition is essential for the growth of individuals, nations and economies.'