UNITED NATIONS – Highlighting the growing challenge of hunger and malnutrition and the urgent need for solutions and partnerships, the World Food Programme and the Millennium Villages project today announced plans to expand joint action to cut hunger and malnutrition across Africa.
At a time when one in six people worldwide do not have enough to eat, the partners will work to establish “undernourishment-free zones” in Millennium Villages and ensure the poorest have access to sufficient, nutritious food. Currently, there are 80 Millennium Villages in 10 countries.
"Hunger stands at the core of extreme poverty," said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General. "Without enough food, people suffer, die of disease, and too often descend into violence and conflict. Without enough food, a farmer cannot feed her family, much less earn an income and look after the children in the household.”
"Hunger can be cut"
“We're proud to partner with the World Food Programme, the pre-eminent global institution on the ground fighting hunger in the world's poorest and disaster-hit countries,” Sachs said. “The Millennium Villages will carry out the exciting interventions pioneered by WFP, and demonstrate that hunger and under-nutrition can be cut decisively through proven measures in agriculture, school meals, nutritional supplementation, food-for-work programs to build infrastructure, and other powerful WFP tools."
Global recession and continued high commodity prices across much of the developing world increasingly have put food beyond the reach of the poorest and most vulnerable. Climate change and weather-related disasters threaten to further spread misery and deprivation.
“The G8’s historic $20 billion commitment to hunger and food security must be followed by concrete actions necessary to ensure the world produces enough food and all people have enough to eat,” said WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
"Hungry cannot wait"
“The hungry and malnourished cannot wait,” Sheeran added. “We must act now to build the partnerships and take the comprehensive steps necessary to win this fight. No one organization can do it alone, and we will leverage a growing collaboration with the Millennium Villages project to deliver powerful solutions to malnutrition.”
Hunger is the underlying cause of death for 3.5 million children worldwide every year. Africa remains the only region where undernourishment and child mortality rates have increased. Working closely governments, civil society, the UN and the private sector, the partnership will apply coordinated, science-based, emerging best-practices in nutrition and food security.
Partnership objectives include ensuring universal school meal coverage for children in primary schools within Millennium Village clusters, finding the best way of meeting the nutritional needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other pandemics, and working with smallholder farmers to boost productivity and incomes.