UNICEF welcomes Government of Canada's commitment to Scaling up Nutrition initiative to save children's lives in 20 African countries

TORONTO, June 8, 2013 /CNW/ - UNICEF welcomes the Government of Canada's commitment today to the Scaling Up Nutrition Initiative which will save vulnerable children's lives in 20 African countries through critical and cost effective nutrition and health services.

The funding of $29 million was announced by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation at the Nutrition for Growth meeting in London England as part of the lead-up to this month's G-8 Leaders' Summit.

"Funding for nutrition is critical to ending preventable child deaths and reaching children no matter how far," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley. "Canada has been a global leader in addressing challenges of malnutrition and we are pleased to see the Government reaffirm this commitment with the funding announced today."

UNICEF's Scaling up Nutrition initiative will support 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa deliver a package of high impact child survival interventions such as vitamin supplementation to the most vulnerable and hard to reach children under 5 years old. The initiative will also support governments to integrate life-saving nutrition programs into policies and budgets to ensure the initiative is sustainable in the long term.

Globally over 165 million children under the age of five are stunted as a result of malnutrition causing irreversible impacts on growth and brain development. Stunting drags down a child's performance at school and their future earning potential. Stunted children are also at a higher risk of dying from infectious diseases than other children.

UNICEF also welcomes additional funding announced today of $6.4 million for UNICEF and the WHO for the establishment of a National Nutrition Surveillance System in Afghanistan.

The Government of Canada's funding announcement is part of new commitments from governments, the private sector and specialized agencies made during today's meeting in London to tackle under-nutrition in some of the world's poorest countries, enabling children, their communities and countries to prosper.

About UNICEF Canada

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF Canada is a Canadian non-governmental organization established more than 50 years ago. We are one of 36 National Committees around the world who play a vital role in generating fundraising revenue, public support and awareness for UNICEF's work and we are also advocates for the protection and realization of children's rights.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

SOURCE: UNICEF Canada

For further information:

Melanie Sharpe
UNICEF Canada,
Office 416-482-6552 ext. 8892 cell: 416-871-7345
msharpe@unicef.ca


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