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Opinion Pieces Address Issue Of Malnutrition At G8 Summit

The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing the issue of malnutrition at the G8 summit that took place in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Jamie Cooper-Hohn and Jim O’Neill, Globe and Mail: “One item hidden away on paragraph 55 of the joint communique is undernutrition, traditionally seen as a development challenge, and one in which Canada has shown great leadership,” Cooper-Hohn, chief executive officer of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and O’Neill, former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, write, noting, “A historic shift has taken place in recent weeks: large-scale undernutrition is now rightly seen as dampening growth in developing countries, with profound consequences for the global economy.” They state, “British Prime Minister David Cameron, chair of the G8, was therefore right to hold a high-level meeting on nutrition last weekend, alongside the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the government of Brazil,” and they continue, “Breaking the cycle of deprivation would add $125 billion a year to the global economy by 2030. With a $10 billion price tag, it could be among the best money we have ever spent” (6/18).
  • Stuart Gillespie and Marie Ruel, The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog: “The G8 countries are being asked to make firm financial and strategic commitments to fight malnutrition on a scale never before imagined. Can they do it?” Gillespie, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CEO of the Transform Nutrition research program consortium, and Ruel, division director of the IFPRI’s poverty, health, and nutrition division, write. “If not, we can point to a lack of political will, but not lack of information and viable solutions,” they state. “Nutrition researchers, economists, and other champions in the fight against undernutrition have worked hard over the past five years to come up with tools and strategies that, when used together, can improve the lives of millions around the world,” they continue, adding, “For real impact, policymakers must tackle malnutrition on all fronts and at all levels. This means making broader programs — such as agriculture, social protection, early child development, education, water and sanitation, and other development programs — nutrition sensitive” (6/18).
  • Marwin Meier, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog: “At the 2009 G8 Summit held in the ruins of the heavily earthquake-affected Italian town of l’Aquila, the G8 and partners promised to spend $22 billion on food security by the end of 2012,” Meier, health and advocacy manager for World Vision in Germany, writes, adding, “Yet they have disbursed less than three quarters of that amount.” He continues, “We have had much G8 rhetoric around nutrition and food security over the last several years and the renewed interest in this quintessential intervention for human development is good, but needs to be backed up by a transparent accountability framework that can trace every promised dollar.” He adds, “Whether to report on progress made cannot be left to the gusto of a given G8 host, it must become part and parcel of every G8 accountability report” (6/16).