UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and Lebanon’s Nutrition Sector organized a national technical roundtable to address and scale up response on child malnutrition in both development and humanitarian agendas for all children and women in Lebanon.
The roundtable was attended by relevant ministries and stakeholders and focused on the importance of nutritional wellbeing of children and women especially in times of crisis and provided recommendation to support the operationalization of Lebanon’s National Nutrition Strategy, and to ensure collective accountability from the five key delivery systems in health, food, education and social protection.
“In Lebanon we have a nutrition strategy on how to address the multiple burden of malnutrition for the next five years, it’s time to roll it out. Malnutrition needs to be addressed because its consequences is burdening the communities and the national economy. While ownership is the key, we welcome international partners, donors, academia, nutrition sector, NGOs all relevant partners to support us rolling out the strategy to prevent all forms of malnutrition”, said Dr. Firas El- Abiad, the Minister of Public Health,
“Early nutrition, starting from pre-conception, is critical for children’s growth, development, education and a productive future generation,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UN Resident Coordinator a.i in Lebanon. “Ensuring healthy diets and ending malnutrition has become a greater challenge for the most vulnerable groups during these challenging times in Lebanon and therefore must be a critical part of our humanitarian response and our development work under the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework”.
On the occasion of World Food Day on October 16th, UNICEF Headquarters is publishing Child Food Poverty: A Nutrition Crisis in Early Childhood. “Globally 1 in 3 children under five live in severe food poverty, meaning they are fed extremely poor diets that include at most two food groups, often a cereal and perhaps some milk. Millions of families are struggling to provide their children with the nutritious food children need to grow, develop, and learn. UNICEF is calling upon all countries including Lebanon to elevate the elimination of child food poverty – particularly severe food poverty – to a national and global development priority.” Victor Aguayo, UNICEF global Director of Nutrition and Child Development said.
Prioritizing and financing nutrition for child health and development in Lebanon can pave the way to prevent longer terms impact of the current crisis, by securing significant economic returns to be gained from nutrition investments and protecting the cognitive capital.
With only eight years remaining in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and its targets for malnutrition, it is time for renewed actions towards ending child malnutrition in all its forms in Lebanon; to innovate and bridge the gap between emergency and development interventions, working with communities to create conditions that protect families and children.