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An opportunity to end malnutrition?

 Concern Worldwide was involved in a number of recent events which focused on food and malnutrition. 

Ahead of the G8 summit, Concern Worldwide co-hosted an event called “Scaling up Nutrition: Calling all Champions.” We were also a partner of the Chicago Council Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security. These events were attended by prominent members of the US congress, African Heads of State and representatives from research institutions and charities. 

Child malnutrition

There was a definite sense of appreciation for the scale of the problem and of the urgency to act. More than 170 million children under five are chronically malnourished or stunted. Each year, malnutrition contributes to a third of all deaths of children under the age of five. This equates to 2.7 million preventable deaths. 

Ireland’s role

Michael Collins, Ireland’s ambassador to the US, spoke at the Calling All Champions event. His message was clear and, as an Irish person, I was filled with a sense of pride. Michael said: 

While Ireland may not be a member of the G8, it does wish to have its voice heard loud and clear... Ireland will lead from the front on food and nutrition security. 

New partnership

The following day, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Third Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security took place. During this event, President Barack Obama spoke about a new initiative called the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This partnership between G8 nations, African countries and private sector leaders promises to raise some 50 million people out of poverty over the next ten years.

The challenge

Such demonstrations of commitment at the highest political level can have a significant knock-on effect. The real challenge, however, will be to translate these expressions of intent into actual results. For this to be realised, a sustained effort is required. 

We all share the obligation to make malnutrition history. The good news is that there has never been a better time to make this a reality.