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Canada extends REACH to fight global child hunger and under-nutrition

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The Scaling-Up Nutrition – REACH Expansion project will accelerate progress on maternal, newborn and child health in more developing countries

May 13, 2014 - Toronto, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular Services), announced an additional $5 million for the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Under-nutrition (REACH) project which will enable REACH to work in more developing countries that have high rates of under-nutrition.

Minister Yelich highlighted Canada's leadership role in promoting the health of women, newborns and children in developing countries. The Scaling-Up Nutrition – REACH Expansion project will support country-led efforts to carry out nutrition activities to improve health and reduce the deaths of the most vulnerable mothers and children in countries that have joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

Improving the health of mothers, newborns and children and reducing the number of preventable deaths are Canada's top development priority. That is why, following the significant progress made through 2010's Muskoka Initiative, the Prime Minister is once again taking action to mobilize the world. In Toronto, May 28-30, 2014, Canada will host Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm's Reach, an international summit that will build on Canada's leadership and shape the future of global action on maternal and child health issues.

"Together, in collaboration with our valuable partners like REACH, the global drive to improve maternal and child health will accelerate even further at the Summit," said Minister Yelich. "Canada will continue to save lives and improve the health of mothers and children in the developing world by helping countries fight under-nutrition more effectively."

REACH is a coordinating mechanism of four United Nations organizations: the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). REACH delivers a coordinated approach to good governance and institutional capacity building that ensures more effective and coherent food and nutrition action.

"Canada's generous contribution shows leadership and determination to address the burden of child and maternal under-nutrition," said Nancy Walters, REACH Global Coordinator. "These additional funds will help improve the nutritional status of millions of women and their children, and brighten their prospects for good health and well-being in the future."

"The Canadian government's new investment in the REACH nutrition program will help support countries implement proven, low-cost and highly effective interventions that save the lives of mothers, newborns and children," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada's President and CEO. "These interventions include ensuring good nutrition during pregnancy, promoting breastfeeding and good complementary feeding, preventing and treating micronutrient deficiencies and promoting good sanitation and access to safe drinking water."

Maternal, newborn and child health is Canada's top development priority. Thanks to the Muskoka Initiative and subsequent global action, maternal mortality rates are declining and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday.

"When children are well fed, they can grow up to lead healthy and productive lives; in turn, their families, their communities and ultimately, their country, can grow stronger as well," said Minister Paradis. "Canada's support of the REACH Expansion project shows our continued commitment to the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, supporting developing countries to ensure increased access to food and nutrition."

Reducing under-nutrition across the developing world is critical to ensuring the health of mothers, newborns and children, and is an important component of the Muskoka Initiative. Further discussions on this important topic will figure prominently at the Summit later this month.