BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (June 3, 2015, 12:30pm CET) – Melinda Gates today urged European leaders to make the health and nutrition of women and children a top priority, and announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will more than double its investments in nutrition to $776 million over the next six years as part of a new commitment to nutrition. The co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the announcement at the European Development Days (EDD), Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation organized by the European Commission.
“Malnutrition is the underlying cause of nearly half of all under-5 child deaths,” said Gates. “Yet for too long the world has underinvested in nutrition. Today we see an opportunity to change that. Along with the Gates Foundation, many European donors are now prioritizing nutrition, which we believe will be one of the fundamental solutions to help cut child mortality in half by 2030.”
The announcement unlocks $180 million in additional matched funding from the UK’s Department for International Development who had committed to match 1:2 any pledge additional to those made at the Nutrition for Growth summit in 2013.
Every year, millions of children die because they don’t get the optimal nutrition during the critical 1,000 day period from their mother’s pregnancy until their second birthday.
Children who miss out on good nutrition during this time never fully grow physically or mentally, limiting their ability to learn in school and reducing their productivity as adults.
The Gates Foundation’s new approach to nutrition will:
- Reach women and children with solutions proven to improve nutrition, such as breastfeeding and food fortification, and expand research into innovative new approaches.
- Help women and adolescent girls before they become pregnant, improving the likelihood they’ll have a safe pregnancy and a healthy, well-nourished child.
- Improve food systems (in conjunction with the agriculture sector) to help ensure people have better access to safe, nutritious and affordable food year-round.
- Catalyze a data revolution in nutrition to strengthen the evidence-base for action, inform decisions and track progress toward goals and commitments.
- Focus work in India, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, where there is both a high burden of malnutrition and a significant opportunity to affect positive change.
“Nutrition is an investment in our collective future, in the potential of individuals, communities and nations,” said Gates. “One of the most profound things I’ve learned in the foundation’s first 15 years is the critical role that women and girls play in reducing poverty and improving health. This is especially the case when it comes to nutrition. From their leadership as farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers to their role as mothers; investment in women and girls will be key to improving nutrition globally.”
As Gates noted in her remarks, 2015 is the most important year for international development in a generation – and that European leadership over the next few months will be a critical. Coming just days before the G7 potentially announces in Germany an initiative to boost food security and improve nutrition, EDD marks the first in a series of global moments for European governments to demonstrate their commitment to improving nutrition through investments across sectors.
Read on the article on GatesFoundation.org
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