OTTAWA, June 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian-based Micronutrient Initiative applauds world leaders for coming together today in London to raise awareness and resources for childhood malnutrition, a silent killer that is the underlying cause of more than 3 million child deaths annually , with devastating consequences for hundreds of millions more.
MI President Venkatesh Mannar, who spoke at the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science high-level event, publically pledged that MI, an organization that already reaches half a billion people annually with its programs, would work to ramp up its own resources, capacity and impact. Mannar also expressed hope that this landmark moment would be the beginning of big change in the world.
"Over my 20 years in this sector, nutrition has often been relegated to the bottom of the priority list. It has been referred to as everyone's problem but nobody's issue," said Mr. Mannar. "Finally, today, nutrition is centre stage and we must take advantage of this position to ensure political will and resources translate into impact."
Poor nutrition results in devastating long-term health and productivity issues for millions of people in developing countries. The Lancet reported earlier this week that undernutrition contributes to 45% of deaths in children under five - nearly 3.1 million children each year. It reduces a country's ability to break out of poverty, despite available cost-effective, evidence-based solutions. Investments in nutrition continue to yield the biggest results: for every dollar invested, it generates at least a $30 return in better health and growth. Historically, less than 1% of ODA globally has been allocated to nutrition.
The Nutrition for Growth event leveraged new financial commitments for nutrition as stakeholders from government, civil society, private sector, and others committed to concrete and sustained support. Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, announced Canada's investment of more than $100 million for a variety of nutrition and food security projects, building on long-term Canadian leadership in this area.
"Today's show of global support continues the momentum created by Canada's steadfast leadership in nutrition, with the goal of creating significant change on the ground," Mr. Mannar said. "This will save and improve countless lives and help pull countries out of poverty."
The Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science event was co-hosted by the UK and Brazil governments, as well as the Children's Investment Fund Foundation. The Micronutrient Initiative participated in its role as an acknowledged global leader in the effort to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies. MI is headquartered in Ottawa and, since its inception, has reached billions with its programs and contributed to millions of lives saved.
SOURCE: Micronutrient Initiative
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