Executive Director’s blog


Nutrition is in the spotlight this month, as we approach the G8 Summit in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and embark on the next phase toward a post-2015 development framework to replace the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

At a high-level summit in London on 8 June, hosted by the governments of the United Kingdom and Brazil with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, representatives from developing and developed nations, businesses, and scientific and civil society groups agreed to a historic reduction in undernutrition. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health welcomes their signing a Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, backed up by commitments of up to $4.15 billion. Many PMNCH partners contributed to this excellent result, including pledges from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save the Children, the World Bank Group, World Vision, and the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom promising millions in new funding.

Tackling malnutrition is crucial to accelerating progress in women’s and children’s health. Undernutrition can lead to health problems across generations, particularly among the most vulnerable populations. Meanwhile the number of overweight and obese women and children is increasing among low and middle-income countries, contributing to a higher prevalence of chronic noncommunicable diseases and associated healthcare costs.

PMNCH has been underlining the link between nutrition and sustainable development with a two-page evidence summary on investing in nutrition, developed for the Open Working Group of the UN General Assembly, which is tasked with preparing a proposal on sustainable development goals as part of the UN post-2015 development agenda process.

Knowledge Summary #18: Nutrition, produced by PMNCH and partners in 2012, has also been a valuable tool for raising awareness about the so-called double burden of malnutrition. And now new light has been shed on this issue with the latest nutrition series published in The Lancet, which also assesses national progress in nutrition programmes and international efforts toward previous recommendations.

Transparency and accountability being the stated focus of this year’s G8 Summit, leaders should be especially motivated to see pledges result in measurable action. Bringing commitments to invest in nutrition under the umbrella of the Every Woman Every Child movement led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would provide a useful framework for tracking their progress. We look forward to supporting efforts in this direction.