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Nairobi, 22 August 2016: African countries gather to outline path for nutrition investment in the continent

NAIROBI, 22 AUGUST 2016 – The fight against malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa requires more investment and collaboration across multiple sectors, UNICEF and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) said today at the opening of the Public Financing and Managing Results for Better Nutrition in SUN African Countries, which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 22 to 25 August. Despite some progress, nearly 55 million children under five years of age are stunted in the Region.

Governments, civil society and development partners from 35 countries in Africa are gathering to analyze how to expand the reach and the impact of evidence-based programs as well as the financing for nutrition. The event in Nairobi aims to set a course for mobilizing domestic and donor financial resources to tackle malnutrition and pave the way for more integrated, multi-sectorial investments. Scientific and economic evidence indicates that good nutrition represents a critical foundation for equitable development and growth in Africa.

“Malnutrition remains a serious threat for children in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first 1,000 days of their lives,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala. “This is a period that determines their physical, emotional and cognitive development. Ending malnutrition and giving children the best start in life requires more integration and sustainable investment from different sectors of our society.”

The workshop is a groundbreaking opportunity for Governments in Africa to identify the means to make budgets in agriculture, education, food systems, health systems social protection and water and sanitation have a greater impact on malnutrition in all its forms. The event will examine the latest financial analysis on the cost of meeting the World Health Assembly’s Global Nutrition Targets for 2025, and will feature a panel discussion between policy makers particularly representing the ministries of finance and health, media commentators, parliamentarians, donors and economists – assessing the politics of investing in nutrition.

Nutrition is central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as a catalyst for improvements in health, education, employment, female empowerment and inequality reduction. Moreover, linking investments in nutrition and other early childhood development services is critical to ensure countries have the intellectual capacity to be ready for a more digitalized and service-based global economy.

“The economic consequences of malnutrition represent yearly losses of around 10% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Without adequate and sustained investments in nutrition, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be realised. The 57 countries that lead the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement are sharing their progress and challenges - guiding the way toward the end of malnutrition and a more sustainable world,” said Gerda Verburg, the Global SUN Coordinator.

Evidence suggests that an additional dollar invested in quality nutrition programmes will yield an average return of US$16. It is therefore crucial that nutrition targets are brought into development and social sectors to ensure that the current investments deliver better nutrition outcomes.

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About UNICEF
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 visit: www.unicef.org

About the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement:
Scaling Up Nutrition, or SUN, is a unique Movement founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. It unites people—from governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers—in a collective effort to improve nutrition.

For more information about SUN and its work visit: http://scalingupnutrition.org/about

For further information, please contact:

Ricardo Pires, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Mobile: +254 701 635 021, E-mail: rpires@unicef.org

Edita Nsubuga, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Kenya, Mobile: +254 708 989 221, Email: ensubuga@unicef.org

Edwyn Shiell, Policy and Strategy Advisor, Advocacy and Communication, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat, Mobile: +41 78 772 5476, Email: edwyn.shiell@undp.org

 

 
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