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Friday, 15 March 2013

New EU policy to improve nutrition

A new policy, which aims to improve the nutrition of mothers and children in order to reduce mortality and diseases, was launched Wednesday March 13.
The new policy is set out in the Communication “Enhancing Maternal and Child Nutrition in external assistance: an EU policy framework”, and aims to reduce the number of children under five years of age who are stunted (with a low height for their age and impaired mental development) by at least 10% (7 million) by 2025.
This is to be made possible by allocating more funds for nutrition and food aid from the EU humanitarian and development budgets, as well as by targeting this aid more accountably.
Both the consequences and the root causes of under-nutrition are to be addressed.
For example, the EU intends to promote breastfeeding and other behaviour changes, provide essential micronutrients such as iron, and support activities such as deworming and supplementary and therapeutic feeding (like treatment of severely malnourished children). Under-nutrition will also be contained through investment in rural development, sustainable agriculture, public health, water and sanitation, social protection and education.
The new policy also provides for more vigorous collaboration with the private sector which can contribute to activities such as product safety control, the fortification of food with minerals and
The Communication on nutrition will complement the EU’s existing food security policy, in particular the 2010 policy on food security, the 2011 policy on food assistance and last year’s Communication on the EU Approach to Resilience. Nutrition and resilience are highly interlinked in areas such as the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions where resilience is the guiding principle of the AGIR (Alliance Globale pour l’Initiative Resilience) and SHARE (Supporting the Horn of Africa’s Resilience) multi-partner initiatives to address food and nutrition crises.
Undernutrition is the biggest threat to people’s health in the developing world, causing at least one third of all child deaths, and a fifth of mothers. According to the World Health Organisation roughly 165 million children aged under 5 years old are suffering from stunting.
The new policy was presented on 14 and 15 of March at the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement meeting in Brussels- a global platform to address the challenge of under- and malnutrition. It was created in 2010 with the active participation of the European Commission.


Source: European Commission