This statement is issued on behalf of the Nutrition CEO Council by 1,000 Days, Action Against Hunger, Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, CARE, Food for the Hungry, Global Communities, HarvestPlus, Helen Keller Intl, Micronutrient Forum, Nutrition International, and RESULTS.
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 4693) following House passage in April. The Nutrition CEO Council celebrates this action by the Senate to ensure this critical legislation to address rising rates of global malnutrition will become law. Congressional action to combat global malnutrition could not be more timely, as the world gathers this week at the United Nations General Assembly to address the global food and nutrition security crisis and recommit to working together to achieve the SDGs, including ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Malnutrition is entirely preventable, but it is a major underlying cause of child deaths worldwide, causing more deaths than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Malnutrition claims roughly 3.1 million children’s lives each year – meaning a child dies of malnutrition every 11 seconds – and is a key factor in about 45% of deaths in children under age five. Global hunger and malnutrition, which had already increased dramatically due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts have worsened significantly in the last six months as rising inflation, unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa, and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine drive up the cost of food. Behind these numbers and statistics are real human beings being devastated by violence, hunger, and malnutrition.
Nutrition is a building block of strong health, development, and resiliency. The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act ensures that as we address the current and growing need now, we are also strengthening our long term investments to support the health and nutrition of children and families to prevent malnutrition from increasing in severity and having lasting effects down the road. This legislation will give USAID the tools it needs to deploy targeted, evidence-based solutions to prevent and treat malnutrition around the world and will deepen U.S. global leadership on nutrition and strengthen strategic focus.
We thank the Senate for their swift work to pass the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, especially the lead Senate sponsors Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and John Boozman (R-AR). We applaud Congress for their work to pass this bill and look forward to President Biden signing it into law. By coming together and reinforcing a strong U.S. commitment through this legislation, we will save lives and help millions of children and families to survive and thrive.
The Nutrition CEO Council is a body of leaders from international non-governmental organizations (INGO) that aims to inspire increased support for nutrition from U.S. political leadership through high-level engagement and advance civil society advocacy, commitment, and support for nutrition as a foundational part of all development success. More information about the Council is available at NutritionCEOCouncil.com.