Fragile states will be left behind on global nutrition gains without urgent attention

World Vision launches report today as global leaders prepare to meet in London

OTTAWA, June 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Major progress in tackling child undernutrition in some of the world's toughest countries is at risk, a new report from World Vision warns today. The aid and development agency is concerned that while the global community is taking a forward-planning approach to security, there is not enough emphasis on basic needs like nutrition, except in emergency situations.

World Vision's Policy Director, Wendy Therrien, said:
"We need donors to think as long term about health as they are about security, which means planning for the day after the crisis ends. While the humanitarian response and saving lives is paramount, sustaining those lives by addressing chronic malnutrition is critical for the health of children and the health of their communities and economies decades down the road."

"The number of children under five who die every year has nearly halved since 1990. Yet, as world leaders prepare to gather in London for the Nutrition for Growth Summit this weekend, World Vision's Fragile but Not Helpless report finds that children in fragile states have been left behind and need urgent attention. Countries marred by conflict or fragility have some of the highest rates of acute and chronic undernutrition in the world - in Africa alone it is on average 50 per cent higher in fragile countries than in more stable ones."

"Getting the right nutrients in a child's first 1,000 days has lifelong implications, influencing their health, how well they will do at school, their job prospects, and in the case of women, their ability to have healthy children. Saving their lives in fragile states is complicated, but we know how to improve the health of women and children—with consistent funding, cooperation and political will."

Canada's role
Close to two thirds of fragile and conflict-affected states have not joined up to the global movement to tackle nutrition, known as Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN). As part of its global leadership role on child and maternal health and SUN, Canada should encourage donor countries to:

  • Provide funding and technical support to fragile states so they can implement SUN and develop national action plans for curbing undernutrition.
  • Increase long-term and predictable development funding to the most fragile countries.
  • Make sure that government and donor dollars support the building up of public services in fragile states so that money spent on health and agriculture is working together to improve the lives of children and families.

Facts and stats

  • Undernutrition contributes to the deaths of more than two million children every year.
  • Globally, one in four of all children under age five are stunted due to undernutrition - chronically undernourished and at risk of long-lasting damage to their cognitive and physical development.
  • Infographic drawing a picture of health in fragile states: Fragile countries, fragile lives

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca

Image with caption: "Fragile countries, fragile lives (CNW Group/World Vision Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130605_C5305_PHOTO_EN_27555.jpg

SOURCE: World Vision Canada

For further information:

For interviews contact: 
Tiffany Baggetta - 905-565-6200 extn. 2485 or mobile 416-305-9612 tiffany_baggetta@worldvision.ca


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