On the 8th June 2013 the UK hosted the Nutrition for Growth Summit in London. A collaborative partnership between DFID, the Government of Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation the aim of the meeting was to significantly ratchet up political and financial support to deliver programs that focus on nutrition-specific interventions. The summit was attended by Heads of State, donor agencies, leading academics and key figures and representatives from the private sector committed to ending malnutrition.
Oshun was directly involved in creating the strategic process to deliver N4G, political outreach to mobilise commitments, drafting the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, as well as leading on the overall logistics for the one day summit.
The Scale and Effects of Malnutrition
Undernutrition is a chronic lack of nutrients that can result in death, stunted physical development and more illnesses in later life. A study released by the Lancet showed almost half of global child deaths are attributable to undernutrition. It is the biggest underlying cause of death in under-five-year-olds in the world and is responsible for 8,000 child deaths each day.
The impact on education is self evident. A child who is stunted, or undernourished will be challenged to get the best out of education. Equally, educated adults, and especially mothers, are far more likely to provide the right kinds of foods at the right time to their children. Good nutrition is a prerequisite for children to achieve at school. Good education will ensure that the cycle of undernutrition in a family is broken.
Outcomes of the Summit
Malawi’s President Joyce Banda, United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Nutrition, David Nabarro, the Prime Ministers of Tanzania, Uganda, Ireland and Niger, the Vice Presidents of Guatemala and Zambia, Bill Gates, almost all Heads of United Nations Agencies, over 30 ministers, CEOs from the corporate world and members of civil society organisations took their seats to listen to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The opening addresses from United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation President Jamie Cooper-Hohn opened the way to day-long discussions on how to tackle and fund undernutrition.
Over the course of the day over 70 speeches were made which included commitments from 14 Governments to increase the domestic resources to scale- up national nutrition plans. Donors made new commitments of up to $4.15 billion to tackle under-nutrition until 2020.
An additional $19 billion was committed to improve nutrition outcomes in other sectors, such as maternal and child health, agriculture and education. The commitments mean that funding on nutrition will effectively double from about $418 million a year to about $900 million a year between now and 2020. The challenge will be to ensure that these investments deliver results for undernourished boys and girls all over the word.
“Today we have seen a historic shift with nutrition taking its place at the heart of the health, education and economic development agendas. The investments announced today will transform the lives of millions of children as well as the economic growth and prosperity of nations”, said Jamie Cooper-Hohn, President and CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
Oshun will continue to work on this crucially important agenda – raising awareness and working to ensure commitments are met.