It’s been one year since the Nutrition for Growth event, which saw $4.1 billion pledged to fighting the scandal of undernutrition. Leading media outlets in the UK certainly took note and here we provide a round-up of what some of them have been saying about the progress since the historic event last year.
Undernutrition in the Land of Rice
RESULTS UK’s latest nutrition report – ‘Undernutrition in the Land of Rice’ was launched in the lead up to the Nutrition for Growth Anniversary and quickly gained attraction – from the Labour Campaign for International Development blog all the way to the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia.
Generation Nutrition, ‘Nutrition for Growth: One Year On’
Saturday saw a fantastic blog from Generation Nutrition, which took stock of what we have achieved this last year and reminded ourselves of what we can achieve if we see this through:
- Reach 500 million pregnant women and children under the age of two with effective nutrition interventions
- Prevent at least 20 million children under five from being stunted
- Save the lives of at least 1.7 million by preventing stunting and through life-saving interventions such as the treatment of severe acute malnutrition
“The task of reducing undernutrition can sometimes feel incredible daunting. But then I remind myself that we have never been in a stronger position to tackle undernutrition”, says Sabrina de Souza, Nutrition Advocacy Coordinator at RESULTS UK.
One year on from the landmark summit, civil society is pressing governments to turn pledges into cash. The article recognises that the financial commitment was a landmark event, but one year on, has nutrition maintained its momentum?
Joel Spicer, president of the Canada-based Micronutrient Initiative agrees that there is real action going on: “Things are moving in the right direction. Just last week, Canada hosted a summit on maternal, newborn and child health, with nutrition as a key platform, and pledged $3.5bn between 2015 and 2020 towards achieving impact.”
However, there is still good reason for urgency around the fast and effective disbursal of commitments according to Sabrina de Souza, “The sooner the money is there, the more impact we will have. There’s a massive opportunity for £280m match funding which was part of DfID’s commitment, and we see this as having potential to leverage other donors and other countries to make new commitments, but so far we’re not aware of any progress being made in matching that money.”
Huffington Post, ‘Ending Child Malnutrition: Never Before Have We Been So Forearmed’
Never before in human history have we been so forewarned of what would happen if we neglect undernutrition:
- 3.1 million dying each year from this preventable condition
- countries losing up to 3% of the GDP because of poor nutrition
- less children enrolling and completing school
But never before in history have we ever been so forearmed with the knowledge to change it!
“Today, the evidence base has never been stronger. Of course it’s not perfect, but a lack of evidence and solutions are no longer viable excuses for inaction. We know how to prevent children from becoming malnourished and we know how to effectively treat children with the most severe form of acute malnutrition.”
Our friends at ACTION have also put together this great blog outlining how civil society, especially those working directly on the ground in high-burden countries, are leading the way.
And last, but by no means least, some amazing articles by our very own grassroots volunteers. Our grassroots volunteers have been working tirelessly this last year, encouraging the UK Government to make a big pledge at the Nutrition for Growth event. Since then they have been reminding DFID how proud they are of the UK’s commitment, while highlighting to them the need to see the money disbursed quickly and effectively.
In their letter to the editor the Reading RESULTS Group said, “We want to ensure that the great commitments of the Department for International Development and Justine Greening MP are honoured. We are asking that by June 8ths 2014, the UK makes an announcement of how a significant portion of funds will be spent.”
Thanks to the continued pressure by UK civil society, the public and passionate campaigners like our RESULTS grassroots volunteers, DFID announced that they have launched nine new nutrition programmes and are well on their way to fulfilling their commitments. But we must maintain the momentum. The sooner the money is implemented the greater impact we will have.