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1,000 days: what's next?

More than one third of deaths of children under the age of five are attributed to undernutrition. Last night, Concern and The Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) co-hosted a forum on hunger and child undernutrition to follow up on the outcome of the 1,000 days event which took place in September.

Window of opportunity

We now know that the most important growth and development in humans happens in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday. Strong evidence also shows that if adequate nutrition is not ensured during this crucial period, the consequences on physical and cognitive development become largely irreversible. 

The 1,000 days between pregnancy and age two is a critical window of opportunity. Return on investments made during this stage includes reduced child and maternal mortality, reduced disease burden and even increased GDP as children grow up to live more productive lives.

1,000 days 

In an effort to urge greater attention and leadership on undernutrition, Ireland and the US co-hosted an event at the Millennium Development Goals meeting in September, focused on actions to tackle child undernutrition during the critical 1,000 day period from pregnancy to two years of age. 

Next steps

To ensure sustained momentum, Concern and AWEPA last night co-hosted a discussion on hunger and child undernutrition in Dublin. The aim was to bring together members of the Oireachtas, non-governmental organsiations, civil servants and people who take an active interest in development to share information and exchange views on the next steps. I’ll write more about the outcomes of this soon.

Political agenda

While the economic turmoil and uncertainty is particularly acute in these weeks, it is vital that the scourge of undernutrition and hunger is not allowed to slip from the political agenda. We must all remain committed to tackling undernutrition for good.