Global Development Groups and Officials, Members of Congress Convene on Bold Bipartisan Proposal for U.S. Leadership on Malnutrition Ahead of World Food Day

Nourish the Future aims to reduce severe malnutrition by up to 50 percent

Today, The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF), 1000 Days, Bread for the World, CARE, Every Breath Counts, ENN, Food for the Hungry, Food Systems for the Future, Global Communities, HarvestPlus, Helen Keller Intl, Kirk Humanitarian,  Nutrition International, This Saves Lives, The Alliance to End Hunger, RESULTS, and UNICEF hosted a briefing to champion Nourish the Future, an evidence-based five-year plan for the U.S. Government to scale up the most lifesaving malnutrition interventions in nine USAID high-burden countries. 

The briefing, Nourish the Future: An Opportunity for U.S. Leadership on Malnutrition, brought together leading international development leaders, members of Congress and UNICEF’s Executive Director to position Nourish the Future as the best path forward to combating global malnutrition—the leading cause of death for children—which claims a child’s life every 11 seconds.  

Harmonizing health systems and food systems is vital for achieving sustainable, high-impact nutrition interventions

Nourish the Future emphasizes that health and food systems—the two primary vehicles for combating malnutrition—must work in harmony for impacts to be sustainable. These two systems currently operate in silos and have failed to consistently and collaboratively meet the scale of high-impact nutrition interventions needed to address global malnutrition effectively. 

To encourage the scale-up of effective interventions, Nourish the Future recommends reinvigorating U.S. government leadership to fight global malnutrition through:

  • Improving nutrition through health systems by elevating the Power 4 nutrition interventions — prenatal vitamins for all pregnant women, breastfeeding support, vitamin A supplementation (VAS), and ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) — as vital tools in the fight against malnutrition; 
  • Strengthening nutrition through food systems by scaling up the production of diverse, nutritious foods in low- and middle-income countries and scaling up food-based nutrition interventions such as staple crop biofortification and large scale food fortification

The virtual briefing highlighted the urgency exacerbated by the global COVID pandemic to address worldwide malnutrition and the critical need for increased bipartisan congressional support and U.S. leadership on this issue. 

“Malnutrition is the number one killer of children globally, yet less than one percent of global development assistance is spent on high-impact malnutrition interventions. We must do better. Like many issues concerning health and hunger, this issue is preventable and solvable. We have the tools and resources to save millions of children and provide them with the future they deserve,” Eleanor Crook Foundation CEO Will Moore said, “We thank the members of Congress  and partners alike who join us today. In the days to come, the United States must continue to take the critical steps needed to end malnutrition and nourish the future for children and families globally. We look forward to the United States leadership on this issue in the days ahead.” 

Panelists on the discussion of curbing global malnutrition include members of Congress Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)  on pertinent commitments to nutrition and how bipartisan support is crucial to sustaining progress, as well as remarks from Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, and American Idol alum, CARE Ambassador, and Singer-Songwriter Kimberley Locke. 

Nourish the Future lays out a roadmap to save millions of children’s lives

In addition to discussing the key policy recommendations in the coalition-led proposal, panelists discussed how the plan aims to address the “four crises” articulated by the Biden administration: boosting the economy, fighting climate change, fortifying the COVID-19 response, and creating equality for all. 

“Global malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) shared, “But the good news is that we have the tools to end it. Nourish the Future presents a bold vision for the U.S. to fight hunger and malnutrition in the highest-burden countries. The plan is sophisticated in its simplicity, and we as a country must assert global leadership to see this plan through and save millions of children’s lives.”

“As a parent, I am genetically wired to protect and care for my children. These are all universal values we can agree on – whichever side of the aisle you sit on,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) shared, “And that translates to policymaking and making sure we leverage the tools and know-how at our disposal to end global hunger and malnutrition. Every dollar we spend towards evidence-based programs such as those endorsed in Nourish the Future is a dollar well-spent. We must endeavor to fulfill our responsibility as a global leader in this important effort.”

Clockwise from top left: Kathy Spahn, Dan Glickman, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Pape Gaye, Dr. Joanne Carter, and Ritu Sharma

“The ongoing effects of the pandemic have been profound – overwhelming health systems, disrupting food systems, and rolling back decades of progress in the fight against malnutrition. But we know that it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Helen Keller Intl CEO Kathy Spahn. “As advocates and implementers, we know what interventions work, and we must take strong action. Nourish the Future lays out a sound, evidence-based path to save the lives of millions of children. I’m thrilled to participate in today’s event and convene colleagues and partners as we discuss why, now, it’s even more urgent to fight global hunger and malnutrition.”

“For decades, the U.S. has been an indispensable leader in the fight against global hunger and malnutrition. When America sets bold goals for global development, progress happens,” CARE USA CEO Michelle Nunn shared, “With increasing climate change, growing humanitarian crises, and entrenched gender inequities, we have no time to waste in combating malnutrition in all corners of the world. Nourish the Future offers a smart, multisectoral approach that puts nutrition at the center of modern development efforts.” 

“Over the past two decades, the world has reduced the proportion of children suffering from undernutrition by one third, and the number of undernourished children by an astonishing 55 million. This proves that progress is possible,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore shared, “However, a toxic combination of rising poverty, conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are risking a backwards slide. Solutions to prevent, detect and treat child malnutrition are proven and well known. Nourish the Future provides a visionary and actionable roadmap to take these solutions to scale, get back on track, and end malnutrition for good.” 

To read more about Nourish the Future visitendmalnutrition.org 

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