CAIRO –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Egyptian government will hold an international forum in February to expand the global momentum in the fight against child malnutrition.
The announcement followed a meeting between Egypt’s First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, and WFP’s Deputy Executive Director, Sheila Sisulu, in Cairo.
"Egypt looks forward to hosting this historic gathering - the first that focuses on the child's full life cycle of nutritional needs," said Mubarak. “It will bring together experts on childhood nutrition and innovative nutritional solutions, together with high-level dignitaries to galvanize the global community to end child undernutrition.”
“Feeding Minds: 1,000 Days Plus” will take place in Alexandria from 21 to 22 February 2011 at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, hosted by Mubarak and co-led by WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.
The forum takes its name from the critical 1,000 day window in the life of a child during which undernutrition can create lasting damage, as well as the awareness that to prevent the malady persisting from one generation to another, good nutrition must continue throughout a child’s life: through pre-school and school years, with special attention given to the nutritional needs of adolescent girls.
Hunger tops the world’s health risks, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. A third of all deaths in children under the age of 5 in developing countries are linked to undernutrition.
“Egypt has shown great leadership in bringing nutrition solutions to its needy populations and is now offering a way to share knowledge on this issue,” said Sheila Sisulu. “There couldn’t be a more fitting venue than the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to put the best minds to work on solving this problem.”
The two-day event will begin with a session chaired by Mubarak and Sheeran and will feature keynote addresses from a number of high-level speakers and other First Ladies, including Jeannette Kagame from Rwanda.
World experts in nutrition will lead interactive plenary debates before a concluding session that will outline the next steps and consensus areas on child nutrition from conception through school years.
The Alexandria forum is part of a comprehensive plan to end child malnutrition, which the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) outlined last September in New York and follows the “1,000 Days: Change A Life, Change The Future” conference that was held on the sidelines of the summit.