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USAID Administrator Shah Outlines Global Nutrition Commitments, Partnerships and Progress

Washington, D.C.—Today, during a global nutrition-focused event co-hosted by Bread for the World Institute and Concern Worldwide, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah underscored the U.S. Government’s long-term leadership in the effort to reduce undernutrition around the world. Administrator Shah made remarks along with The Minister of Trade and Development of Ireland, Joe Costello.

The event, entitled “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition,” follows Administrator Shah’s June 8 participation in the United Kingdom’s high-level meeting in London, “Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science.” In London, on behalf of the U.S. Government, Administrator Shah signed on to the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact endorsing several goals, including:

  • Reaching 500 million pregnant women and children under two by2020.
  • Averting 20 million additional cases of stunting by 2020 (a World Health Assembly milestone).
  • Preventing 1.7 million deaths by 2020 through efforts to reduce stunting, increase breastfeeding, improve zinc supplementation, and boost coverage of treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

“Ensuring that a child receives adequate nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday can yield dividends for a lifetime,” said Dr. Shah today. “We will continue to work with our partners to promote targeted action in early nutrition that delivers results for some of the most vulnerable people around the world.”

Global nutrition has long been a top priority of the U.S. Government and is the defining link between the Global Health and Feed the Future Presidential Initiatives. Launched by then Secretary Clinton and former Foreign Minister of Ireland Micheal Martin, the U.S. Government has been strong supporters of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement through the 1,000 Days partnership, and will continue to work with our partners to promote targeting action. The United States is committed to defining “nutrition-sensitive” and “nutrition-specific” investments to more accurately track nutrition investments annually. In alignment with the international SUN movement, the United States encouraged others to adopt these defined terms to support consistency in financial reporting through donor accountability mechanisms.

In his remarks today, Administrator Shah announced that the U.S. Government has nearly doubled nutrition-specific funding through our global health programs and has tripled agriculture funding since 2008, targeting investments to deliver the greatest results while remaining committed to transparency, accountability, and sustainability. Administrator Shah also announced that the U.S. Government is providing more than $1 billion for nutrition-specific interventions and nearly $9 billion on nutrition-sensitive activities over fiscal years 2012-2014. These investments support and accelerate trends in stunting reduction, aiming to reduce stunting by 20 percent over five years in the areas where Feed the Future works, translating into 2 million fewer stunted children, and in support of World Health Assembly goal to reduce childhood stunting by 40% by 2025.

Administrator Shah also announced that USAID will take the lead in developing a comprehensive nutrition strategy informed by broad U.S. Government agency input and learning, that will serve as the basis for a more robust U.S. Government global nutrition strategy. Supporting this process, USAID has established a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder task force to address anemia across its development programs. Supported by USAID’s Bureaus for Global Health and Food Security, Administrator Shah also announced that he will serve as the U.S. Government Coordinator for Nutrition.

Also in London, Administrator Shah and the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening jointly announced the launch of a Global Open Data Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition, which will support international partners in their efforts to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available for public global use. The initiative aims to increase the quality, quantity, and timeliness of data that is available, to drive better investments and policies through the creation of new services, products, and knowledge, particularly in nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

“By embracing high-impact partnerships, science, and technology, we can achieve progress simply unimaginable in the past, including the end of extreme poverty, widespread hunger, and chronic malnutrition.” said Administrator Shah.

This release originally appeared on the USAID website. Visit our page on nutrition for more updates this week.

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