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Make nutrition a political and financial priority in Mali

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

The second National Forum for Nutrition opened in Bamako, under the highest authorities of the Republic and in the presence of Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

The Forum, to be held from 23 to 25 July, will bring together policy makers, technical and financial partners, researchers, technical executives, regional and local actors, agribusiness processors, consumer associations, and international organizations. of civil society. The theme of the Forum, “Making nutrition a political and financial priority”, reinforces the need to invest in food and people’s health, by making nutrition a national priority for Mali’s socio-economic development.

Indeed, despite Mali’s commitment to national and international commitments to nutrition, the country’s nutritional situation remains precarious, due to lack of public funding and multi-sectoral coordination in need of strengthening. One in four Malian children suffers from chronic malnutrition, while one in ten children suffers from acute malnutrition.

Beyond the health problems caused to each child suffering from malnutrition, this situation weighs heavily on the country’s economy: the annual costs associated with chronic malnutrition are estimated at 265.5 billion FCFA, or 4.06 per cent of the total GDP.

“Making nutrition improvement and food security a political and financial priority is one of the best investments a country can make,” said Ms Verburg. “Increasing public investment in nutrition means increasing the learning capacity of children and adolescents and increasing their labour productivity and potential income once they are adults. It also opens the door to escaping poverty.”

The 1st National Nutrition Forum, held in 2010, led to the development of the National Nutrition Plan, the national nutrition policy document, and the establishment of multisectoral coordination bodies. More recently, nutrition has been given a key position in the next Strategic Framework for Economic Recovery (CREDD) and ready-to-use therapeutic foods have been included in the list of essential medicines, confirming the growing importance of the health sector. nutrition for the Government of Mali.

In 2019, significant political and financial efforts need to be made to reverse the trends, and the second National Forum will be an opportunity to make strong commitments. Significant public investments are expected to fund effective nutrition interventions, as is state coordination at the highest level to foster synergies across all sectors. It will create opportunities for the Government to request stakeholders to align behind their initiatives.

UN agencies and the SUN Movement have reaffirmed their commitment to engage with the State, other technical and financial partners, women, men and children to accelerate actions for nutrition and nutrition. achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger.

 

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