The below is attributable to Acting Spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala:
Yesterday, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa attended the Nutrition for Growth Launchpad Event hosted by Global Affairs Canada, the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Acting Deputy Administrator Barsa made remarks at the close of today’s event, and underscored the ways USAID-funded programs deliver good nutrition for women and children, and the U.S. Government’s commitment to nutrition through the Feed the Future initiative. The Acting Deputy Administrator urged other governments and donors to prioritize action and investments in nutrition over the coming year. He reiterated the strong history of bipartisan Congressional support for nutrition and USAID’s efforts to maximize the use of resources to achieve measurable nutrition outcomes.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in food systems and health networks and highlighted the urgent need to increase and maximize investments in nutrition to avoid a global crisis of hunger and malnutrition. New projections estimate the pandemic could push an additional 9.3 million children into acute malnutrition and stunt the development of 2.6 million more children by 2022, which would lead to an additional 168,000 deaths of children under five. An estimated $1.2 billion per year from all sources is needed to mitigate these potential effects.
To respond to this urgent need and sustain momentum over the next year, the Nutrition for Growth Launchpad event kick-started commitments ahead of the Nutrition for Growth Summit, which will take place in December 2021 with the pledges for additional action from the Governments of Canada; Bangladesh; the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and the Republics of Guatemala and Sénégal. Overall, stakeholders committed $3 billion to end malnutrition in all its forms.
Today’s event included representatives from the United Nations (UN) and the Governments of Japan and the United Kingdom; several international non-governmental organizations; the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund; the Special Envoy for the UN Food Systems Summit; and the Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. The Governments of the United Kingdom and the Federative Republic of Brazil organized the first Nutrition for Growth Summit in London in 2013 to create a global platform for increasing investments in nutrition.