9 November 2012

Ethiopia: UN Agencies, Experts Join Forces in Addis Ababa to Work Toward Nutrition Solutions

Addis Ababa — A groundbreaking meeting in the Ethiopian capital this week has strengthened efforts to scale up nutrition initiatives under the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Undernutrition initiative, known as REACH.

It has been the largest-scale gathering of the REACH partnership since the initiative was established in 2008. It brought together technical experts and officials from four UN agencies in all 12 countries where the REACH approach is being followed, as well as from the host country, Ethiopia.

The REACH partnership is about joint, coordinated UN support of national governments to expand and link several interventions into one global approach in the fight against malnutrition. The Addis Ababa meeting provided an unprecedented opportunity for partners who are battling undernutrition to learn from each other and build on the work they are doing in different parts of the globe.

"This is the first time we've gotten together on this scale to learn the lessons from 13 countries in Africa and Asia about how to scale up nutrition in practice," said Nancy Walters, the REACH Global Coordinator. "Addressing undernutrition is a first and basic precondition for development and growth to take root. UN agencies, governments, NGOs and the private sector are joining efforts to reduce mother and child undernutrition."

The meeting heard how Ethiopia has successfully cut stunting rates from 57 percent to 44 percent in 10 years. Delegates from the UN in Sierra Leone outlined how they built a national multi-sector nutrition strategy. UN delegates from Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda explained how public awareness helped improve nutrition, and how district-level actions helped to translate policies into action on the ground. Participants also shared case studies from other countries, such as Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Ghana, Rwanda, Niger, Chad and Bangladesh.

The meeting included representatives from WHO, FAO, UNICEF and WFP as well as technical experts in nutrition, health, agriculture and food security - all of which are critical to tackling nutrition problems in the critical first thousand days of a child's life.

Undernourished children suffer irreversible damage to their physical and cognitive development, which affects their health and ability to learn and ultimately the growth of a nation.

REACH was initially established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) as a way to support achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the initiative now includes many other UN agencies and partners on the ground.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 United Nations World Food Programme. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.