EU set to fight malnutrition

13.03.2013 - 13:01

The European Commission is launching a new effort to tackle world hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The newly adopted policy aims to improve the nutrition of mothers and children at a global level and consequently, to reduce mortality and diseases. The policy, set out in the Communication “Enhancing Maternal and Child Nutrition in external assistance: an EU policy framework” will be presented on 14 and 15 of March at the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement meeting in Brussels.

As Commissioner for development, Andris Piebalgs stated: "Undernutrition is the biggest threat to people’s health in the developing world, causing at least one third of all child deaths, and a fifth of mothers. This shocking and shameful reality calls for an improved, global and decisive response. The EU is firmly committed to reduce by 7 million the number of stunted children by 2025. Increased international mobilisation is vital. That’s why, today, I am also calling on other major donors and development actors to join us in this global movement and make their own commitments”.

More specificly, the new policy aims to reduce the number of children under five years of age that have been unable to develop properly both at a physical and a mental level due to malnutrition  by at least 10% in the next decade. The Communication foresees the allocation of more funds for nutrition and food aid from the EU humanitarian and development budgets.

In addition, the EU plans to promote breastfeeding, provide essential micronutrients such as iron and support activities such as deworming and supplementary and therapeutic feeding.

 Finally, the root causes of the problem will be addressed by promoting investment in rural development, sustainable agriculture, public health, water and sanitation, social protection and education.

According to the World Health Organisation roughly 165 million children aged under 5 years old are suffering from stunting, meaning that they experience chronic under-nutrition and low height for age.