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New EU policy to improve nutrition and save millions of lives

The European Union steps up its efforts against hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. This is the goal of a new policy, just adopted by the European Commission, which aims to improve the nutrition of mothers and children in order to reduce mortality and diseases, as well as the impediments to growth and development caused by under-nutrition.

"Extreme poverty, the devastating impact of climate change and the growing frequency and intensity of disasters are pushing up the number of hungry people. Malnutrition's toll on children is especially large – and especially tragic. As the world's largest humanitarian donor, Europe is already saving millions of lives. Yet, sustainable solutions require the commitment and cooperation of humanitarian and development actors. And we intend to work together to make sure that in this century of plenty and advancement, the future of millions is no longer blighted by malnutrition," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

The new policy aims to reduce the number of children under five years of age who are stunted (with a low height for their age and impaired mental development). The EU has pledged to help reduce stunting in this age group by at least 7 million kids until 2025. Wasting of children (meaning that they are too thin for their height due to malnutrition) will also be addressed.

This will be achieved by allocating more funds for nutrition and food aid from the EU humanitarian and development budgets, as well as targeting this aid more effectively and accountably. Both the consequences and the root causes of under-nutrition will be addressed.

The new nutrition policy, set out in the Communication “Enhancing Maternal and Child Nutrition in external assistance: an EU policy framework” will be presented on 14 and 15 of March at the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement meeting in Brussels.

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