6 June 2013, EurActiv.com -- French MEP Marielle de Sarnez is a member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and vice chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Cypriot MEP Eleni Theocharous, a paediatric surgeon, is vice president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and a member of the European People’s Party.
For less than the cost of a typical family’s weekly grocery bill in Europe, we can prevent a child from dying before his or her 5th birthday, Marielle de Sarnez and Eleni Theocharous argue ahead of the G8 Nutrition for Growth Summit on 8 June.
So how is it possible that we allow almost 3 million children to die from a lack of nourishment, or from diseases that could have been prevented with proper nutrition?
It’s a question we should all be asking our heads of states, ministers, politicians, and other key decisionmakers as they prepare to spend an entire day on Saturday (8 June) discussing childhood undernutrition and what to do about it. Ahead of this important meeting, we members of the European Parliament together with colleagues at the national level have signed a call for action. Today, more than 50 parliamentarians are calling for increased efforts to end the silent crisis of undernutrition.
On Saturday, the UK and Brazilian governments will host a Nutrition for Growth summit in London before the G8 meetings begin. Decisionmakers from developed and less developed regions of the world will join private foundations and the private sector to decide how we can ensure children around the world get enough nutritious food to eat during the first years of their lives.
It should focus their minds to know that during the time the summit will meet, another 6,000 children will have died due to a lack of adequate nutrition – a situation that is completely preventable with proven, basic solutions. We know that specific interventions – such as ensuring women and children can access essential vitamins and nutrients – during the 1,000 days from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s 2nd birthday gives children the right start to grow up healthy.