By Nourhan Dakroury
Participants in the G8 Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science singed a global agreement on Saturday to strive to end children’s malnutrition in developing countries.
The summit, led by United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian Vice-President Michel Temer and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) President Jamie Cooper-Hohn, focused on the impact of malnutrition on children.
According to a press release by the British government, participants who signed the agreement have committed their countries or organisations by 2020 to “improving the nutrition of 500 million pregnant women and young children, reducing the number of children under five who are stunted by an additional 20 million, saving the lives of at least 1.7 million children by preventing stunting and increasing breastfeeding and better treatment of severe and acute malnutrition”.
Cameron said in his speech at the summit that “one in four children is stunted through chronic malnutrition” and that “165 million children are so malnourished by the age of two that their minds and bodies will never fully develop”.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a press release: “Investing in nutrition is highly cost-effective. It pays off in the lives of children and in reducing poverty.”
According to UNICEF’s press release, the organisation pledged its continuous investment in fighting malnutrition in countries affected by stunting and other forms of malnutrition.
UNICEF’s investments are represented by “more than 350 nutrition experts working with governments and local communities in some 65 countries, backed by a financial contribution that has seen around $1bn spent by UNICEF on improving nutrition over the last five years”, according to the press release.
According to the British government’s press release, the UK announced at the summit that it has increased its funding for nutrition.
The funds provided by the UK and other countries, like the United States and Canada, will go towards “supporting the governments of developing countries to formulate high quality national nutrition plans”, according to the press release.
They will also contribute in helping the countries to take advantage of their resources to further fight malnutrition.
In addition, the funds will help in spreading awareness and “world-class scientific knowledge and evidence” among farmers, encouraging them to focus on growing nutrition-rich crops.
Among the participants in the London summit were two presidents and four prime ministers from Africa, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, philanthropist Bill Gates, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman.