Posted by: APO | 6 May 2008

Food prices / GAIN launches a new public-private partnership fund of US$ 800 million to fight increasing malnutrition due to escalating food prices

GAIN launches a new public-private partnership fund of US$ 800 million to fight increasing malnutrition due to escalating food prices

 

Fund to establish a nutrition safety net for children and women who are most vulnerable to malnutrition, when rising food prices will lead to more death and disability

 

Brussels, 5th of May 2008. The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) – an alliance of international organizations, governments, the private sector and civil society – calls for contributions to a new public-private fund to fight increasing malnutrition as a result of rising staple food prices.

 

This new fund of US$ 800 million over 4 years aims to establish a nutrition safety net of better nutrition for 400 million of the most vulnerable children and adults. Governments and the private sector are urged to contribute development assistance and in-kind resources to tackle this escalating crisis.

 

Rising food prices will create winners, but many more losers: millions more women and children in developing countries will become malnourished because they can no longer afford nutritious foods. The international community can demonstrate vision and leadership by setting up a nutrition safety net that prevents a new generation that is damaged and disabled,” says Jay Naidoo, Chair of the GAIN Board.

 

According to the World Bank food prices have risen 83 per cent in the last three years, including a 120 per cent spike in wheat prices in the last year alone. The World Bank estimates that 100 million people will be pushed into poverty, whereas hundreds of millions more will be at risk of malnutrition – given that the poor already spend as much as 70% of their household income on food. There is a global consensus that the price of staple foods will continue to rise over the next decade.

 

Rising food prices will therefore further reduce the intake of foods and essential nutrients of the most vulnerable: the poor, young children and mothers in developing countries who are already suffering from rampant malnutrition. Malnutrition is the major cause in 3.5 million, or more than one-third, of infants and young children deaths, and leaves 178 million children permanently damaged.

 

The international community has so far focused its efforts on providing additional financial assistance for food aid and other programs supporting food production. These are critical but equal attention must be paid to the dramatic increase in malnutrition that will accompany these price increases. Clearly both public and private sectors can play a role in helping those who will be most seriously affected”, says Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN.

 

The impacts of malnutrition are felt throughout life: health, ability to learn and productivity are reduced. Already countries with the highest incidence of malnutrition lose 8% of their GDP to related deaths, illnesses and disabilities. The rising food prices are therefore likely to turn into a long-term global health crisis.

 

Governments and international agencies must look beyond immediate emergency relief and look at long-term investments in nutrition. Currently, investments are in no proportion to the ongoing drama. For instance, whereas malnutrition accounts for 11 per cent of the global burden of disease, direct investments of the EU and its member countries in nutrition are on average less than 0.5% of development aid.

 

The new GAIN fund aims to support ongoing programs and implement urgent nutritional interventions to deal with the emerging crisis, focused on 400 million people who are most vulnerable to malnutrition. The fund will:

  • protect existing programs from cuts due to increasing prices of basic food inputs;
  • increase the use of fortified foods in existing public distribution programs and school feeding programs;
  • lower the cost of fortified and complementary foods;
  • create a global purchase and production facility for micronutrient premix for fortification of food aid;
  • mobilize funds and support from the global business community.

 

GAIN will work in close collaboration with many of its international partners such as the World Food Programme, and its networks in governments, development agencies and the private sector to seek support for the fund. The private sector is invited to contribute financial resources, direct investment and in-kind support, such as products, know-how, networking, and staff time. The money raised will be employed directly into GAIN programs and that of its partners.

 

The fund will concentrate on the countries that already suffer most from undernutrition and that will face the largest increase of prevalence of malnutrition from increased food prices.

 

About GAIN

  • GAIN – the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition – is an organization that fights malnutrition by mobilizing public-private partnerships. GAIN was created at a special UN session for children in 2002, and is now formally a Foundation under Swiss law. GAIN currently receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency. GAIN has extensive and active partnerships with international organizations, governments, businesses and civil society.
  • GAIN is currently funding programmes in over twenty countries around the world addressing malnutrition which at scale will reach over 600 million people. GAIN programmes provide women and children with access to fortified staple foods and condiments.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: