Question for oral answer to the Commission Rule 128 Linda McAvan, on behalf of the Committee on Development
Subject: Child malnutrition in developing countries
Worldwide, more than 165 million children under the age of five are undernourished or suffer from stunted growth, and some 52 million children are severely malnourished. The physical and cognitive impairments caused by undernourishment during the first 1 000 days of a child’s life are irreversible and cannot be treated. Undernourishment is an economic problem that undermines society’s overall potential by reducing economic productivity, individuals’ potential earnings and countries’ human capital. Yet the problem of malnutrition can very often be traced back to a failure to take timely and effective action. Programmes aimed at combating malnutrition are not only humanitarian projects; they also offer donors a real return on their investment, since malnutrition leads to conflicts, poverty and social insecurity all over the world.
Huge progress has been made in recent years. In September 2010, the heads of government of around 20 countries, with the support of over a hundred partners, launched the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) movement.
In May 2012, the Copenhagen Consensus singled out preventing malnutrition as the number one priority and the most profitable investment strategy.
The recent Commission communication entitled ‘Enhancing Maternal and Child Nutrition in External Assistance: an EU Policy Framework’ highlights the need for better coordination of humanitarian and development aid. In accordance with the targets set by the World Health Assembly, the communication outlines measures intended to reduce by 40 % (7 million) the number of children under the age of five whose growth is stunted by 2025 and to reduce, and keep under 5 %, the number of children under five who are emaciated. The communication recommends a multisectoral approach involving the coordination of policies on rural development, sustainable agriculture, public health, water and sanitation, social security and education.
1. As part of its strategy, does the Commission intend to carry out a mid-term review of measures taken? If so, and if necessary, has it considered the possibility of reallocating funds already pledged (EUR 3.1 billion for nutrition-sensitive interventions and EUR 400 million for nutrition-specific programmes) in an effort to achieve its objectives by 2025?
2. The Commission is planning to raise awareness of this issue in the relevant international fora. Does it intend to advocate greater efficiency, i.e. better coordination, of aid?