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Launch of the Nutrition Year of Action

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In December 2020, the Governments of Canada and Bangladesh, in partnership with the Government of Japan, hosted a virtual launch of the Nutrition Year of Action. This began a year-long initiative to address the global hunger and nutrition crisis which will culminate in the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit in Tokyo, Japan, during December 2021. The Year of Action falls midway through the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action on Nutrition, with only five years left to achieve the World Health Assembly (WHA) targets on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, and 10 years to reach the SDGs. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already perilous nutrition situation for the most vulnerable, the need for commitment to, and investment in, achieving a world in which all people have access to safe, affordable and nutritious food by 2030 is all the more critical.

At the time of the launch, new data released by the Standing Together for Nutrition consortium highlighted the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on maternal and child nutrition, with an additional 168,000 child deaths predicted over the next two years. Additionally, in the absence of immediate and significant global action, a further 9.3 million children are estimated to be at risk of wasting.  Thus, an emphasis on the need for new and revived commitments to achieving the nutrition agenda was made.

To this end, more than US$3 billion in financing was pledged by various stakeholders with the Government of Canada committing US$407 million and the Government of Pakistan committing US$2.18 billion to nutrition programming through to 2025. This was bolstered by various multilateral organisations and non-government organisations with World Vision International pledging an extended US$500 million to be spent on nutrition by 2025. An annual investment of at least $700 million per year towards nutrition programming for children, adolescents and women was committed by UNICEF over the next five years and the World Bank committed $500 million in Early Response Financing from the IDA-19 Crisis Response Window to target countries facing food insecurity crises.

While serving as a basis for renewed action towards eradicating malnutrition, these pledges will meet only a fraction of the global need. As such, the Year of Action provides a platform for further investment via a roadmap of key pledging, momentum building and global moments. With the key pledging moments outlined, namely the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit, the UN Food Systems Summit and the Tokyo N4G Summit 2021, to begin in July, the need to further mobilise resources for nutrition through the coming months is critical to ensuring that the vision for the Year of Action is met.

More information on the launch and a full list of the commitments made can be found here: https://nutritionforgrowth.org/nutrition-year-of-action-launch-event-recap/

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Launch of the Nutrition Year of Action. Field Exchange 65, May 2021. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/65/nutritionforaction

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