Royal Government of Cambodia and UNICEF accelerate efforts to end child wasting
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Phnom Penh, 18 October 2022 – Senior representatives from the Royal Government of Cambodia and development partners gathered today at a high-level workshop, organised with support from UNICEF, to accelerate efforts to ending child wasting in Cambodia. Children who suffer from wasting, otherwise known as acute malnutrition, are eleven times more likely to die than well-nourished children, and those who survive often experience lifelong consequences.
The Government’s goal is to halve child wasting by 2025. Despite progress in reducing stunting since 2014, child wasting has not improved and remains at 10%, according to preliminary results of the 2021 Cambodia Demographic Health Survey. The ongoing socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, the crisis in Ukraine, and global economic insecurity are likely to exacerbate the problem of wasting and there is an urgent need to take stock of what is being done to address the problem and what more needs to be done. The workshop was organised to facilitate this essential work.
In March 2020, five United Nations agencies including UNICEF created a Framework for Action for the Global Action Plan (GAP) on Child Wasting, with the goal of accelerating progress in reducing child wasting around the world. In May 2021, Cambodia became one of the 21 front-running countries to develop its own costed GAP Roadmap under the leadership of the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD).
Today’s workshop, entitled “Working together to close the GAP on Child Wasting”, brought together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and mobilise investments to ensure that progress on the Roadmap continues. It had previously been determined that an additional $17.2 million USD was needed if national goals were to be met. A recent donation of over $3.4 million US dollars from the United Kingdom Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), through UNICEF, has helped close that gap, but more must be done.
His Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly, Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), chaired the workshop, saying; “We recognize that food security and nutrition has an important role in supporting human capital development, effective work, economic growth and social well-being.” In his remarks he called on all partners to work together. “On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia I call on relevant Government Ministries, local authorities, development partners, civil society organisations and the private sector to collaborate with CARD so we can improve our efforts and mobilise resources to fully implement our plan to close the GAP on child wasting.”
“The right to health and development is one of children’s most fundamental rights,” said Dr. Anirban Chatterjee, UNICEF Cambodia’s Acting Representative. “The challenges of recent years, from the pandemic to global food system disruptions, threaten this right. This in turn threatens children’s health, ability to learn, and future prospects. That is why today we all redoubled our efforts to prevent wasting by increasing investment, scaling up multi-sector programmes targeting children and women, and strengthening social protection measures to promote and protect child nutrition.”
The workshop aims to accelerate Cambodia’s progress on its roadmap through additional investments from Government and partners, and stronger commitments and collaboration between stakeholders in the shared mission to end child wasting.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.