Nutrition

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman launches ‘Progress for Children’

UNICEF Image: UN Standing Committee on Nutrition Chief Catherine Bertini and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman
© UNICEF/HQ05-1921/LeMoyne
Stunting due to undernutrition is common in the poorest nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Above, a child at risk in Haiti.
By Chris Niles and Rachel Bonham Carter

NEW YORK, USA, 2 May 2006 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman says poor nutrition among children threatens to become a worldwide catastrophe unless urgent action is taken.

At the launch of ‘Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition’ at United Nations headquarters in New York, she said that millions of children's lives and futures are threatened because they either do not have enough to eat or are not getting the nutrients they need to thrive.

Ms. Veneman stressed that the world’s future is tied to the health of its children.

“Unfortunately, too many people – from individuals and families to policy-makers and leaders – are unaware of the vital importance of nutrition, and how serious undernutrition is around the world,” she said. “One underweight and undernourished child is an individual tragedy. But multiplied by tens of millions, undernutrition becomes a global threat to societies and to economies.”

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2006/Susan Markisz
UN Standing Committee on Nutrition Chief Catherine Bertini (left) and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman launch ‘Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition’ at UN Headquarters.

Speaking on her first anniversary as head of UNICEF, Ms. Veneman said the problem must be tackled in an integrated way.

“Food aid alone is not enough,” she warned. “Reversing the trends in this report means taking a holistic approach to what keeps children healthy and developing properly. This includes healthy mothers during pregnancy, better education, effective disease control and policies that safeguard food access, even in times of crisis.”

Roundtable discussion on hunger

After the launch of the report, Ms. Veneman welcomed a distinguished panel to UNICEF headquarters in New York for a roundtable discussion on meeting the first Millennium Development Goal – to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

“If you look at the issue of hunger, you also look at the issue of children,” said Ms Veneman. “Children are central, they are at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals. The issue of nutrition is key. It interrelates with almost all of the goals.”

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/HQ06-0277/Markisz
Copenhagen Consensus organizer Bjorn Lomborg (second from left) speaks at UNICEF's roundtable discussion on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
UNICEF Director of Policy and Planning Saad Houry was the first speaker. He noted how far the global community has to go to eradicate hunger in a world where one in four children under the age of five is underweight and undernourished. The ensuing discussion, moderated by UNICEF Chief of Nutrition Rainer Gross, explored diverse approaches ranging from economically efficient development investments to sustainability through the protection of human rights.

UNICEF Director of Programmes Alan Court concluded the roundtable by thanking the panelists for keeping issues of hunger and nutrition high on the agendas of policy-makers around the world.

Participants in the panel included (left to right in photo above left): UNICEF Director of Policy and Planning Saad Houry; Copenhagen Consensus organizer Bjorn Lomborg; Global Business Alliance for Food Fortification Co-Chair Huaying Zhang; UNICEF Chief of Nutrition Rainer Gross; and Brazil’s National Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Food, Water and Rural Land, Flavio Valente.


 

 

Video

2 May 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Rachel Bonham Carter reports on the panel discussion at UNICEF headquarters on eradicating extreme hunger and poverty.

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Video

2 May 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the launch of ‘Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition’.

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(Real player)

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