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Month: November 2021

1,000 Days Statement on House Passage of the Build Back Better Act

On behalf of 1,000 Days, I would like to applaud today’s House passage of the Build Back Better Act, which brings us one step closer to a healthier future for families in the 1,000-day window everywhere. This historic bill is a once in a generation investment in children and families, including transformational initiatives to advance health equity, climate justice, food security, and economic prosperity for working families.

From permanent CHIP authorization to closing the Medicaid coverage gap, the Build Back Better Act will dramatically expand access to affordable health care for American families. The bill also makes significant investments in programs to address the vast racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes in the United States, including several provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus and an extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage. Investments in doulas, initiatives to expand the diversity of the perinatal workforce, and programs to address social determinants of health are critically important steps in improving health outcomes for birthing people of color and their families.

The Build Back Better Act also establishes a long-overdue national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program to support workers and their families. Whether for a personal health emergency, a public health emergency, to care for an ailing loved one, or to welcome a new child– when families need paid leave, they need paid leave. No one should have to choose between their well-being and their paycheck. At 1,000 Days, we know that paid leave is a public health imperative and a critical tool to support the well-being of moms and babies, address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health, encourage equitable caregiving practices, and build a healthier future for us all. We strongly urge the Senate to take up and pass the Build Back Better Act as written, as soon as possible. Moms, babies, and their families can’t wait.

Blythe Thomas
Initiative Director
1,000 Days, an initiative of FHI Solutions

Letter to the U.S. Senate to Pass the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act

The Honorable Bob Menendez
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jim Risch
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Risch, Majority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McConnell:

All eyes will be on Tokyo in early December as world leaders demonstrate how they will be part of the child survival revolution, and you both are in the unique position to elevate the United States’ leadership. As leaders of nonprofit organizations, many of whom are partners of U.S. government efforts to end preventable childhood deaths, we urge you to quickly mark up and pass S. 2956, the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Act of 2021. With malnutrition rates rising dangerously around the world, this legislation provides the executive branch with the framework, direction and tools that are required to meet this global challenge head on, just as Congress has done in the past on other critical global health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

This legislation gives USAID the tools it needs to deploy targeted, evidence-based solutions to prevent and treat malnutrition around the world and to improve the futures of at-risk children and their families. It optimizes U.S. global nutrition assistance programming through improved  coordination with public and private partners; increased coverage of high-impact, proven  interventions in priority countries; and updated  planning and reporting requirements. The bill also calls for participation in innovative finance mechanisms that amplify U.S. government nutrition investments, improved UN system coordination on nutrition programming, and an expanded nutrition research agenda to identify and develop best practices. This legislation could impact the lives of tens of millions of women and children. It will deepen U.S. global leadership and strengthen strategic focus.

The time to act is now. Malnutrition is entirely preventable, but it is a major underlying cause of child deaths worldwide. 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 5. COVID has intensified  this crisis, with experts predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause up to a 50 percent rise in severe malnutrition. Since malnutrition weakens immune systems and leaves young children up to 15 times more likely to die from common infectious diseases, this increase in malnutrition rates threatens to amplify the spread of COVID-19.

On December 7-8, the Government of Japan will host the next Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit and leaders from around the world will gather to demonstrate their commitments to ending malnutrition. To reaffirm the U.S. commitment to elevate nutrition, we ask that you prioritize the mark up and passage of the Global Malnutrition Treatment and Prevention Act of 2021 so the President can sign the bill into law in advance of the Summit.

We represent multi-mandate organizations working across a range of issue areas, united in prioritizing nutrition in this crucial time. By coming together and demonstrating a strong U.S. commitment through this legislation, we will save lives and help millions of children and families to survive and thrive.

Sincerely,

Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Foundation
Arun Baral, Chief Executive Officer, HarvestPlus
Atul Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity International
Bettina Hausmann, President & Chief Executive Officer, UN Association of San Diego
Blythe Thomas, Initiative Director, 1,000 Days
Carrie Hessler Radelet, President, Global Communities
Dr. Charles Owubah, Chief Executive Officer, Action Against Hunger
Edgar Sandoval Sr., President & Chief Executive Officer, World Vision US
Eric P. Mitchell, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger
Rev. Eugene Cho, President & Chief Executive Officer, Bread for the World
Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS
Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Helen Keller International
Lisa Hilmi,  Executive Director, CORE Group
Maria Kasparian, Executive Director, Edesia
Mark Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Mana Nutrition
Mark Viso, President & Chief Executive Officer, Food for the Hungry
Michael J. Nyenhuis, President & Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF USA
Michelle Nunn, President & Chief Executive Officer, CARE USA
Rick Santos, President and Chief Executive Officer, Church World Service
Tom Hart, Acting Chief Executive Officer, ONE Campaign
Tricia Beal, Chief Executive Officer, Farm Journal Foundation

CC:

The Honorable Chris Coons
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tim Kaine
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable John Boozman
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Roger Wicker
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515

Letter to the House of Representatives to Pass the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable James Clyburn
Majority Whip
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steve Scalise
Minority Whip
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Whip Clyburn, and Minority Whip Scalise:

All eyes will be on Tokyo in early December as world leaders demonstrate how they will be part of the child survival revolution, and you are uniquely positioned to elevate the United States’ leadership. As CEOs and partners of U.S. government efforts to end preventable childhood deaths, we write to request that the U.S. House of Representatives immediately move to take up and pass H.R.4693, the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, on the suspension calendar.

H.R. 4693 passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 29, 2021 with unanimous support. With malnutrition rates rising dangerously around the world, this legislation provides the executive branch with the framework, direction and tools that are required to meet this global challenge head on, just as Congress has done in the past on other critical global health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

This legislation gives USAID the tools it needs to deploy targeted, evidence-based solutions to prevent and treat malnutrition around the world and to improve the futures of at-risk children and their families. It optimizes U.S. global nutrition assistance programming through improved  coordination with public and private partners; increased coverage of high-impact, proven interventions in priority countries; and updated  planning and reporting requirements. The bill also calls for participation in innovative finance mechanisms that amplify U.S.S government nutrition investments, improved UN system coordination on nutrition programming, and an expanded nutrition research agenda to identify and develop best practices. This legislation could impact the lives of tens of millions of women and children. It will deepen U.S. global leadership and strengthen strategic focus.

The time to act is now. Malnutrition is entirely preventable, but it is a major underlying cause of child deaths worldwide. 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 5. COVID has intensified  this crisis, with experts predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic could cause up to a 50 percent rise in severe malnutrition. Since malnutrition weakens immune systems and leaves young children up to 15 times more likely to die from common infectious diseases, this increase in malnutrition rates threatens to amplify the spread of COVID-19.

On December 7-8, the Government of Japan will host the next Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit and leaders from around the world will gather to demonstrate their commitments to ending malnutrition. To reaffirm the U.S. commitment to elevate nutrition, we ask that you prioritize the passage of the Global Malnutrition Treatment and Prevention Act of 2021 so the President can sign it into law in advance of the Summit.

We represent multi-mandate organizations working across a range of issue areas, united in prioritizing nutrition in this crucial time. By coming together and demonstrating a strong U.S. commitment through this legislation, we will save lives and help millions of children and families to survive and thrive.

Sincerely,

Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Foundation
Arun Baral, Chief Executive Officer, HarvestPlus
Atul Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity International
Bettina Hausmann, President & Chief Executive Officer, UN Association of San Diego
Blythe Thomas, Initiative Director, 1,000 Days
Carrie Hessler Radelet, President, Global Communities
Dr. Charles Owubah, Chief Executive Officer, Action Against Hunger
Edgar Sandoval Sr., President & Chief Executive Officer, World Vision US
Eric P. Mitchell, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger
Rev. Eugene Cho, President & Chief Executive Officer, Bread for the World
Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS
Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Helen Keller International
Lisa Hilmi,  Executive Director, CORE Group
Maria Kasparian, Executive Director, Edesia
Mark Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Mana Nutrition
Mark Viso, President & Chief Executive Officer, Food for the Hungry
Michael J. Nyenhuis, President & Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF USA
Michelle Nunn, President & Chief Executive Officer, CARE USA
Rick Santos, President and Chief Executive Officer, Church World Service
Tom Hart, Acting Chief Executive Officer, ONE Campaign
Tricia Beal, Chief Executive Officer, Farm Journal Foundation

CC:

The Honorable Gregory Meeks
Chairman
House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chrissy Houlahan
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Michael McCaul
Ranking Member
House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Young Kim
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Guest Post: As global climate summit gets underway, the nutrition-climate nexus must remain front and center

By: Lesley Oot, Hwida Sevigny and Karin Lapping

As leaders of more than 120 countries gather in Glasgow today to open the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), all eyes turn to the global climate crisis and the urgency of this moment for the future of our world. However, COP26 will likely attract less attention from the nutrition community.

2021 is the Nutrition Year of Action. With global events like the Nutrition for Growth (December 2021) and the UN Food System Summit (September 2021), there has been increased focus on the need to address malnutrition in all its forms and create a global food system that is resilient, sustainable, and nutritious for all.

Despite some efforts to unite the nutrition and climate agendas, there has been limited traction in bringing the two communities together to understand each other’s perspectives and develop practical solutions that address both agendas.

Nutrition, climate change, and the food system are highly interconnected, and climate change and global malnutrition cannot be tackled through siloed interventions and policies. Joint action from stakeholders across both communities is required for significant and lasting change.

How does climate change affect nutrition?

Climate change is threatening the world’s ability to achieve food and nutrition security. It negatively affects household food access, maternal and child health, and access to clean water and proper sanitation –– triggered by rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events (e.g., droughts, flood, cyclones, fires, etc). The most vulnerable communities- the poor, women, children, and indigenous communities- suffer the most. These groups experience high exposure to natural hazards, yet have the least capacity to adapt to climate impacts. This will likely exacerbate the burden women already face in providing proper care of infants and young children, who are at the greatest risk of malnutrition. Recent estimates suggest an additional 500,000 deaths per year due to the climates’ impact on human diets by the year 2050 (Springermann et al. 2016).

Climate change is negatively impacting global diets and nutrition around the world by limiting food access, reducing food quality, and increasing the likelihood of unsafe food consumption.

  • Drought, floods, and other impacts of climate change are limiting food production in many parts of world by reducing available arable land and crop yields, limiting crop diversity, killing livestock, and destroying crops. A report from UNICEF estimates that many countries may see a reduction in agricultural productivity between 9 and 21 percent by 2080, impacting not only the quantity of food available but the diversity and quality of that food.
  • Climate change is affecting the quality of food produced as rising soil temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere are reducing the nutrient content of foods. For example, the zinc, protein, and iron content of staple crops (e.g., wheat, rice, and corn) could be reduced by 5-10% by 2050. Rising levels of CO2 could result in 175 million people becoming zinc deficient, 122 people becoming protein deficient, and 1 billion women and children at increased risk of anemia and other illness due to reduced iron intake by 2050 (Harvard 2021).
  • Climate change is also affecting global food safety, with rising water temperatures increasing the risk of human exposure to harmful algae and bacteria while rising temperatures and increased humidity are exposing new regions to the world (and exacerbating existing) to mold growth (e.g., mycotoxins and aflatoxins) that can contaminate crops and pose a serious health threat to humans and livestock if consumed (FAO, 2020; WHO, 2018). Climate change also hinders the infrastructure to deliver foods (e.g., requiring additional cold storage to keep foods safe) (Fanzo, 2018).

How do global diets and nutrition interventions impact the environment? 

Nutrition simultaneously affects our climate through the way we interact with the environment and the foods we produce and consume.

  • The current food system and dietary habits are a major contributor to GHG emissions, biodiversity loss, and pollution, as food production is estimated to account for 30 percent of global GHG emissions and 70 percent of freshwater use (EAT-Lancet Commission, 2021).
  • Widespread pesticide and fertilizer use contaminate water systems, and fishing and livestock rearing practices further harm the environment – negatively impacting biodiversity by damaging natural habitats, changing ecosystems, degrading the soil, and contributing to massive deforestation (Fanzo 2018).
  • Finally, the current food system wastes close to a third of all food produced, squandering not only the food itself but all the resources used to produce that food (e.g., water, land, energy, and labor) (United Nations Environment Programme, 2021).

Win/win actions that benefit nutrition and the environment

There are a range of actions that stakeholders in both the nutrition and climate communities can take to help reduce global malnutrition and benefit the environment.

  1. Encourage shifts to diets that are pro-planet: Work with your communities to promote a planetary health diet, which is based on healthy and sustainable ingredients and focused on the availability of indigenous (where possible) fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables alongside small portions of meat and dairy (EAT-Lancet 2019). This dietary shift helps to reduce the negative impacts of food production on land use, GHG emissions, and water consumption/pollution. The diet also stresses reducing the over consumption of foods and subsequent food waste produced, helping to mitigate the negative nutritional and environmental impacts associated with overconsumption of unhealthy foods. The EAT-Lancet provides guidance on what a planetary health diet could entail and how to support that transition through education, social and behavior change interventions, and policy change (Vermeulen et al. 2019).
  2. Conduct interventions with an awareness of climate impacts – including food safety, biodiversity, and emissions: Actors working within both the nutrition and climate spheres need to keep each other in mind when designing and implementing programs. For example, promoting climate smart agriculture interventions such as using improved seed varieties that are more nutritious but also more resilient to changing weather conditions, pests, and diseases. Another example is promoting improved post-harvest food storage and processing strategies can help to reduce waste, protect the nutrient density of foods, and improve food safety.
  3. Accelerate research on innovations, technologies, and interventions to promote sustainable healthy diets: We should continue to conduct research on climate-friendly solutions to help make foods more nutritious, yet resistant to the effects of climate change. One such example is the creation of biofortified foods (e.g., iron beans) that are not only more nutrient rich (higher iron content), but more resistant to the negative impacts of climate change – high yielding, virus resistant, and drought/heat tolerant (Bakker et al. 2021).
  4. Deploy evidence-based nutrition and climate friendly advocacy: Encourage governments and actors across sectors to come together to address common and systematic drivers to both climate change and global malnutrition, utilizing comprehensive policies and strategies to address current failures. Nutrition and food security should be integrated into both national climate change plans and sustainable development plans to create stronger policy convergence. Globally, nutrition and food systems should be a key pillar of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which signatories to the Paris Agreement are required to submit every five years to the UNFCCC. This could help to ratchet up the ambitions of country NDCs and demonstrate good practices that can be shared amongst countries at key multilateral fora such as COPs and the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development. Equity, gender, and youth inclusion should be key components to any successful policy efforts (Bakker et al. 2021). Stakeholders should also encourage countries to invest in data systems to monitor and track key climate and nutrition indicators to assess progress and inform future policy actions

Next Steps

Given the negative impact of climate change on global malnutrition and in turn the significant contributions of the current food system to climate change, it is vital that stakeholders from both sectors come together to discuss their needs and implement mutually beneficial solutions.

With COP 26 now underway, the time to act and come together is now. To learn more about the work of FHI 360 and its family of organizations, including FHI Solutions at COP26 please visit FHI 360 at the COP26 Global Climate Conference | FHI 360. Details are included on the FHI350 side event on climate finance.

 

References

Bakker, L. Macheka, L. Eunice, D. Koopmanschap, D. Bosch, I. Hennemann, L. Roosendaal, 2021. Food-system interventions with climate change and nutrition co-benefits; A literature review. Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University & Research. Report WCDI21-153. Wageningen.

EAT-Lancet Commission. 2019. Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission. Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems. Available at: EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf (eatforum.org)

EAT-Lancet Commission. 2019. EAT-Lancet Commission Brief for Policymakers. Available at: https://eatforum.org/lancet-commission/policymakers/

Fanzo J, Davis C, McLaren R, & Choufani J. 2018. The effect of climate change across food systems: Implications for nutrition outcomes. Global Food Security, 18, 12-19.

FAO. 2020. Climate change: Unpacking the burden on food safety. Food safety and quality series No. 8. Rome. https://doi.org/10.4060/ca8185en.

Harvard. “As carbon dioxide levels climb, millions at risk of nutritional deficiencies”. Retrieved on October 3, 2021. Available at: As carbon dioxide levels climb, millions at risk of nutritional deficiencies | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Oot, L., Mason, F., Lapping, K. 2021. The First-Food System: The Importance of Breastfeeding in Global Food

Systems Discussions. Available at: https://www.aliveandthrive.org/en/resources/the-first-food-system-the-importance-of-breastfeeding-in-global-food-systems-discussions.

Smith, J.P. 2019. “A commentary on the carbon footprint of milk formula: harms to planetary health and policy implications.” Intl Breastfeed J. Vol 14, no. 49. Vermeulen S, Park T, Khoury CK, Mockshell J, Béné C, Thi HT, Heard B, Wilson B. 2019.

Springermann et al., 2016. Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: A modelling study. http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140- 6736(15)01156-3.pdf

UNICEF UK. Climate change, food systems and children: a case for greater action. Available at: unicef203.pdf (uncclearn.org)

United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Food Waste Index Report 2021. Nairobi. Available at: UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021 | UNEP – UN Environment Programme  Vermeulen S, Park T, Khoury CK, Mockshell J, Béné C, Thi HT, Heard B, Wilson B. 2019. Changing diets and transforming food systems. CCAFS Working Paper No. 282. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Available at: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/resources/publications/changing-diets-and-transforming-food-systems

World Health Organization. 2018. Food Safety Climate Change and the Role of the WHO. Available at: https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/all/Climate_Change_Document.pdf

World Health Organization. 2020. Guidance on mainstreaming biodiversity for nutrition and health. Geneva: WHO. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. Available at: mainstreaming-biodiversity-for-nutrition-and-health12d76606-f87e-4857-9264-dd2b2924186a.pdf (who.int)