Eileen Burke 203.216.0718 (M)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 10, 2014) — Save the Children today praised the passage in the House of Representatives of the bipartisan Feed the Future Global Food Security Act of 2014 (H.R 5656). The bill, introduced by food security and nutrition champions Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), is a strong showing of bipartisan cooperation and action to maintain the U.S. commitment and progress in combating global hunger and malnutrition for the more than 800 million children and families suffering worldwide.
"Feed the Future has become a breakthrough development model that has a potential to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come," said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. "It has raised the bar on tackling hunger and malnutrition, focusing particularly on the critical 1,000 day period from pregnancy through a child's second birthday. Through this initiative, nutrition becomes the essential bridge between agriculture and health that enables millions of children to reach their full potential."
The vote comes on the heels of the release of the Global Nutrition Report, which provides the first-ever comprehensive narrative and analysis on the state of the world's nutrition. The report highlights the need to confront this urgent crisis that underpins a nation's overall development. The report shows that for every $1 invested in improving nutrition $16 is returned to the economy; a ratio highly competitive with investments in roads, irrigation, and health.
Passage of the Feed the Future bill is a major congressional achievement toward ensuring the U.S. meets its commitment to end preventable child deaths, nearly half of which are caused by malnutrition, and its goal to prevent stunting, an indicator of chronic malnutrition which can be a debilitating life-long sentence, in at least 2 million children by 2017.
Hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are intrinsically linked. More than three-quarters of the world's hungry depend on agriculture and food production for their livelihoods. Ensuring smart, sustained U.S. investments in small-scale livelihoods, agricultural development and improved nutrition, particularly for women, will reduce hunger and poverty. These investments also will help children survive, thrive and live up to their full potential.
The bill, if passed into law, would essentially solidify the current U.S. initiative known as "Feed the Future," and ensure the program lives on beyond the Obama administration. It also, importantly, supports the vision of the USAID Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy 2014-2025 to achieve long-term success in tackling malnutrition by supporting the development plans of low-resource countries and deepening engagement with all stakeholders, including local communities, governments and private sector leaders. Feed the Future has proven results, including increased crop production for more than 7 million small scale farmers and reaching 12.5 million children with key nutrition programs in 2013 alone.
The bill requires the U.S. government to:
- Develop a food security strategy with specific and measurable goals and targets
- Coordinate expertise from across all relevant federal departments and agencies for a "whole-of-government" approach
- Support country-led agriculture and nutrition investment plans to ensure investments are sustainable
- Focus on nutritional outcomes for women and children, particularly in the first 1,000 day window of opportunity between a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday; and
- Put in place strong reporting, oversight and accountability measures.
"Save the Children welcomes the leadership of Reps. Chris Smith and Betty McCollum and the House passage of the Feed the Future Global Food Security Act, and looks forward to continuing our work with Congress and the administration on this important effort for the world's children," said Miles.
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.