Address by Minister Fantino: Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting

June 8, 2013

Check against delivery

As Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, I am pleased to join you today.

Canada considers nutrition to be one of the most pressing development challenges of our time.

Improving nutrition has the potential to be transformative in its effect on the lives of millions of women, children and their families.

This is an issue to which Canada is deeply committed and an area where we have demonstrated long-term leadership.

Three years ago, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health as part of Canada's G8 presidency.

We've since made nutrition a key part of our efforts under this initiative.

To further demonstrate our leadership on this critical issue, I am pleased to announce over $145 million in investments that will contribute to improved nutrition.

However, I am somewhat concerned about what often appears to be a race to the top, with the focus on amounts of pledges rather than the achievements – of which there are many, of tangible results.

The primary focus should be on the results.

Pledging money is the Easy part of the exercise, and that is what usually gets most of the attention.

However, Canada is pleased that others are also beginning to do more, and we expect these commitments to translate into concrete results.

All stakeholders represented here today – governments, the private sector, science, and civil society – have a critical role to play.

We must all demonstrate both increased commitment to nutrition, and more importantly, tangible results to ensure this opportunity is not lost.

Of course, accountability must underpin all that we do.

This is a priority for Canada, as witnessed by our Prime Minister's co-chairing of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health.

Part of this involves better understanding how much we are collectively investing in nutrition.

This is why Canada has taken the lead on developing a common methodology to better track donor spending on nutrition.

Let me say that Canada would be pleased to host a meeting to help drive the scale-up of nutrition results in countries around the world.

After all, we all know that nutrition is one of the best investments we can make.

The results achieved today will echo through generations to come.

By delivering on our commitments, made here today, in the days, weeks and months ahead, we can help stop the devastating and irreversible consequences of undernutrition on the world's children.

Thank you.