Canada continues leadership in nutrition and food security efforts

June 8, 2013

Improving nutrition and ensuring access to nutritious food are key to Canada's strategy to help lift millions of people out of poverty around the world. Today, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, reaffirmed Canada's global leadership in nutrition and food security by announcing nine new initiatives that will strengthen the capacity of countries to address undernutrition, particularly among mothers and children.

Nutrition for Growth event in London. © ACDI-CIDA
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, delivers remarks at the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting in London, England.

"Our Government considers nutrition to be a critical building block for any development progress we hope to achieve," said Minister Fantino. "Investments in nutrition and food security are the gateway to healthier families, more stable communities, and economies that can flourish."

Minister Fantino made the announcement during a meeting of business, science, government, and civil society organizations to tackle the challenge of hunger and undernutrition. The meeting was held in London as part of the lead-up to this month's G-8 Leaders Summit. The investments announced today will not only help to improve nutrition, they will promote innovation in agriculture, food security, and nutrition. For example, Canada is supporting the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in their work directly with smallholder farmers and the private sector to improve the production of nutritious food and promote agricultural innovations.

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, in welcoming Canada's initiatives stated that the country, a key IFAD partner, is a leader on nutrition improvement. The $5 million Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Rural Development will help smallholder farmers to improve the production of nutritious food and promote innovations in nutrition-sensitive agriculture, particularly in Africa. "Nutrition is a smart development investment, and integral to eradicating poverty and hunger," said Nwanze. "IFAD invests in agricultural development with the aim to improve the nutritional level of the poorest populations. We work to enable poor people out of poverty through sustainable agriculture, focusing on smallholders. Women are key to improving the living conditions of their families, nutrition, maternal health, and combating disease—goals that are moral imperatives.

Canada also announced its support for efforts to improve the well-being and survival of children under the age of five in more than 20 African nations. The Scaling Up Nutrition initiatives will deliver cost-effective, lifesaving nutrition and health services to young children to ensure they have the best possible start to life.

"A recent report by Development Initiatives, an independent organization, recognized Canada as the world leader in the effort to improve nutrition," said Minister Fantino. "Canadians can be proud of our ongoing leadership in nutrition and food security. Improving nutrition is a key element of the Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal, newborn, and child health."

Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to nutrition and increasing food security. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will continue to implement the mandate of poverty alleviation by helping to ensure families have access to the nutrition they need to live healthy lives, contribute to their communities, and grow their economies.

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For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA

Backgrounder

The investments announced today demonstrate Canada's commitment to nutrition andfood security as a critical building block to achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation.

The nutrition and food security initiatives are:

  • The Scaling Up Nutrition Through Integrated Lifesaving Interventions will improve the well-being and survival of children under the age of five in more than twenty African nations. The program will deliver cost-effective, lifesaving nutrition and health services. ($29 million to UNICEF; $29 million to Helen Keller International); and
  • Country Case Studies will examine progress in maternal, newborn, and child healthand in nutrition in AfghanistanBangladeshEtiopiaMalawi, and Tanzanie. This will identify the factors that contributed to successes and challenges in maternal, newborn, and child health and in nutrition, which will be shared widely to improve the delivery of nutrition and health services in these countries. ($900,000 to theWorld Health Organization).

Canada is contributing to the following initiatives as part of its commitment to provide $1.1 billion in new funding between 2011 and 2015 to the Muskoka Initiative, a global effort to mobilize action to reduce maternal and infant mortality and to improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries:

  • Accelerating Nutrition Improvements in sub-Saharan Africa will also support the scaling up of nutrition interventions, and will increase surveillance and data collection of nutrition-related action in Africa ($18 million to the World Health Organization).
  • The Improving Nutrition Through Homestead Food Production will help improve the nutritional status of women and children in Africa through home-based agricultural production and nutrition education ($15 million to Helen Keller International).
  • National Nutrition Surveillance System in Afghanistan will establish a national nutrition surveillance system ($6.4 million to the World Health Organization and UNICEF).
  • Maternal and Under-5 Nutrition and Child Health Project in Afghanistan will help to ensure that women and children in the targeted provinces of Badghis, Herat, and Ghor, where nutrition needs are severe, benefit from a sustainable approach to strengthening the ability of the Afghan health system and local communities to respond to undernutrition ($9 million to World Vision Canada); and
  • Support for Nutrition Activities and Policies (SNAP) will contribute to a larger World Bank project supporting Malawi's rollout of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement to break the vicious cycle of malnutrition, anemia, and stunting that impairs the physical and cognitive development of women and children. The project will reach as many as 3.3 million women of reproductive age and as many as 3.5 million children under the age of five ($13.5 million to the World Bank); and

As part of Canada's commitment under the G-8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Canada will support the following initiatives:

  • Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health will develop agricultural technologies and research innovations, as well as best practices, to ensure that nutrition is fully integrated into the design of agriculture and to build public and private partnerships to disseminate and scale up the results of its research for maximum impact ($20 million to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research); and
  • Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Rural Development will work directly will smallholder farmers and the private sector to improve the production of nutritious food and promote innovations in nutrition-sensitive agriculture, particularly in Africa. The initiative will support linkages between smallholder farmers and the private sector, reaching up to 1.5 million farmers and bringing innovations to bear on agricultural production ($5 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development).