According to Save the Children’s Short Changed report released in 2017, Papua New Guinea has the fourth highest rate of child stunting in the world, with one in two children suffering from the condition.
Malnutrition has a detrimental impact on children’s growth and development, particularly in the first 1000 days of life. It also brings significant economic costs long-term as it reduces people’s ability to work and contribute to nation building as adult citizens.
The SUN network, made up of 13 civil society alliances across Asia, met in Cambodia in September and has finalized a resolution outlining 10 clear actions that global, regional and national leaders should take to address malnutrition.
The actions include expressing and demonstrating political commitment to improve nutrition at all levels, enacting and enforcing legislation around breast milk substitutes, strengthening health systems and allocating adequate funding for nutrition specific interventions.
Save the Children’s Pacific Regional Director based in Papua New Guinea, Jen El-Sibai said:
“We are facing a malnutrition crisis here in PNG which is affecting the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of children. Poor nutrition can have disastrous consequences on children’s development and future life outcomes. It urgently needs to be addressed.
“It was great to see the launch of PNG’s first National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Plan last month and we believe together with this resolution there is a clear path to address the crisis in PNG, and it is achievable. However, it will require greater effort, political will and investment from leaders in PNG.
“Given the scale of the crisis in PNG, we cannot wait any longer. Tackling the malnutrition emergency here must be a national priority.”
SUN is also urging governments including PNG, as well as donors, UN agencies, non-government organisations and businesses to participate in the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) scheduled in December 2020 at Tokyo (Japan), and to make specific and measurable commitments to help reach global nutrition goals and targets.
Scaling Up Nutrition is a global movement founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition. It aims to unite society in a collective effort to improve nutrition.
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