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$4 billion pledged to fight child malnutrition at London world summit

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Nutrition for Growth summit in London this past weekend aims to end global malnutrition among the world's poorest children. Comprised of governments, businesses and civil societies, $4 billion was pledged to improve nutrition among children in developing nations.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In an agreement signed at the summit, the program seeks to insure at least 500 million pregnant women and children benefit from effective nutrition programs. Other goals include preventing stunted growth in at least 20 million children as well as increase breastfeeding and treating severe acute malnutrition.

"We will never beat hunger just by spending more money or getting developed nations and philanthropists to somehow 'do development' to the developing world," British Prime Minister David Cameron said, as he called for fresh approaches to help eliminate malnutrition and hunger among developing nations.

The London summit was hosted by both the British and Brazilian governments and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation.

"It has to be about doing things differently," Cameron added. "Different in terms of business. Different in terms of science. And different in terms of government."

Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children a year, accounting for 45 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five and stunting growth among a further 165 million, according to research. The economic costs associated with malnutrition are vast, estimated to total five percent of global output, or $3.5 trillion.

Up to 45,000 people rallied in London, demanding global leaders take specific steps to tackle hunger when they meet in Northern Ireland for the G8 summit of rich industrialized countries later this month.

The United Nation's children's fund or UNICEF welcomed the commitment to make nutrition a top political and socio-economic priority. "For children who face the unnecessary threat of stunting - something that not only deprives them of physical good health but dramatically weakens their potential to learn, to earn a decent income and to contribute to the prosperity and growth of their communities - today's gathering in London underlined a global determination to meet that threat," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement. 

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, a coalition of British aid agencies, said the agreement had put the "scandal of under-nutrition" firmly on the map.

"We now need to ensure that donors stump up the cash as quickly as possible, hungry children can't wait," spokesman David Bull said.

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