World Vision calls for more political commitment and funds to end global hunger at Rio summit

The international aid charity, World Vision warns that three million children will die every year unless governments take far-reaching action to prevent malnutrition. 

Calls by the world’s largest children charity come as world leaders, businesses, scientific and civil society groups meet in Rio on the eve of the Olympics to find new and sustainable solutions to malnutrition. At the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G), World Vision experts will tomorrow tell delegates that an opportunity now exists to wipe out acute malnourishment within a generation. 

Peter Keegan, Government Relations Manager at World Vision UK, said: “This race is a marathon that needs to be run at a sprinter's pace. Currently, 159 million children are so malnourished by the age of two that their minds and bodies will never fully develop; and 50 million remain at risk of death from the most acute form of malnutrition.

“World leaders, donors, businesses, scientific and civil society groups meeting in Rio tomorrow need to use the N4G event to build toward the next phase of the marathon to end malnutrition, and specifically to lay the foundation for a major pledging summit in 2017,” he said.

World Vision has also drawn together a set of recommendations for global leaders, which will be outlined at the Rio summit (and can be read here). The charity has also launched its #Nutrition4Gold digital campaign through Thunderclap and has asked social media users worldwide to support by posting messages.

Keegan explained: “We are encouraged to note that the UK government has been a global leader on nutrition since 2010. In 2015 the UK’s ambition to address malnutrition was increased further through the commitment to improve the nutrition of 50 million people by 2020.

“The UK government should seize the opportunity in Rio to build political momentum. It should press the EU and encourage other governments, donors and businesses to invest more in nutrition specific interventions. These can include promoting breast-feeding and other healthy child feeding, fortifying food and supplementing poor diets and changing poor nutritional practices,” he added. 

World Vision experts say the international community has only made sluggish progress in giving every child enough to eat. Less than one per cent of global development is spent on specific interventions to tackle poor nutrition – meeting just 1.4% of total needs.  

Carolyn MacDonald, a World Vision nutrition expert explained: “International collaboration is crucial to achieve the gains we require. We know how effective it is to invest in proper nutrition for a child’s first 1,000 days. The wins include: reduced child deaths, improved learning, and better productivity as adults. All these factors are essential for sustainable development. 

“For every $1 invested in proven nutrition programming, $16 of benefits are returned. Economic data released in May showed increased nutrition investment could result in $83 billion in GDP growth across Africa alone,” she said. 

It is partly because of these benefits that World Vision leads a range of initiatives and projects to sustainably improve nutrition and child health in some of the world’s most affected regions. And while organisations like World Vision require the International Community to do more to help, you can also make a huge difference by sponsoring a child today.

For more information, please contact: Henry Makiwa | Media Manager | World Vision UK | E-mail: henry.makiwa@worldvision.org.uk | Skype: Soshangana | Twitter: @makiwahenry

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