Low and middle-income countries are still grappling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and weather shocks which continue to impact global food and nutrition security. The World Food Programme estimates that 50 million people in 45 countries are on the edge of famine. On World Food Day 2022, we take stock of the hard-fought progress that has been made to strengthen nutrition during the first 1,000 days, and we renew our commitment to continue the fight. Though work still needs to be done to truly leave no one behind, we applaud the following actions that have been taken by the US government to address food and nutrition insecurity in low and middle-income countries.
United Nations General Assembly Food Security Announcements
US Government Global Food Security Commitments
Multiple events were held at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York related to food and nutrition security efforts. President Biden announced $2.9 billion in additional funding to strengthen food security, which included funding for humanitarian assistance and global development assistance. As part of UNGA, the Global Food Security Summit, which was held one year after the UN Food Systems Summit, took place on September 20th and included remarks from Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Secretary Blinken highlighted current actions to address food insecurity, including progress made on the Roadmap for Global Food Security, and called for more countries to respond to the food insecurity crisis. He mentioned commitments made by the US government, which include $6.1 billion in humanitarian assistance and $2.3 billion in development assistance, and the expansion of Feed the Future. Much of the funding provided by the US government addresses the negative impact on food insecurity throughout the world due to the war in Ukraine.
Commitments to Prevent and Treat Severe Malnutrition
On September 21st, USAID, UNICEF, the Government of Senegal, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation co-hosted “The Child Malnutrition Crisis: Pledging to Save Lives.” The event followed the call to action and announcement from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power in July when the US committed $200 million to scale up access to wasting treatment, including Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF). During the September event at UNGA, $280 million was announced which included new funding from donors around the world to address severe malnutrition and wasting. Between these events, over $530 million has been committed through public and private sector funds which has the potential to reach the majority of children suffering from wasting with treatment.
Passing the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act
In September, the Senate passed the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act and it is awaiting President Biden’s signature. The legislation was led by USAID and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like 1,000 Days of FHI Solutions dedicated to preventing and treating malnutrition. It makes nutrition an even higher priority within the US government by establishing a five-year strategy to institute precise and targeted reforms in U.S. global nutrition programs. It prioritizes investments in high-impact nutrition programs and allows USAID administrators to scale up the prevention and treatment of global malnutrition and coordinate with relevant public and private partners on these efforts. A Nutrition Leadership Council will be established with representatives from relevant inter- and intra-agency offices to coordinate USAID’s efforts and ensure effective use of taxpayer dollars. 1,000 days is proud to have supported this lifesaving bill!
Advancing the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022
The House of Representatives passed the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022 on September 29, 2022. This legislation reauthorizes the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) through 2028 and continues to build upon and strengthen the Feed the Future initiative. It supports agriculture-led economic growth, bolsters small-holder and women-owned farms, and improves maternal and child nutrition, including during the 1,000-day window. GFSA will strengthen local and regional economies and promote resiliency in some of the world’s lowest income countries. This legislation aims to not only improve food and nutrition security, but also national security, and meets the moment to address rates of increased hunger and malnutrition globally.
Moving Progress Forward
Further progress on a global scale is still needed to address the food and nutrition insecurity crises. While we recognize and celebrate the commitments made by donors, the US government, other country governments, and the NGO community, we will continue to advocate for efforts to improve nutrition, particularly during the 1,000-day window. We know the critical role that nutrition plays in a child’s development, and the investments during this time allow communities to prosper. 1,000 Days looks forward to continuing to be a part of efforts to advocate for strong food and nutrition security programs and investments, including evidence-based nutrition interventions.