US – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to commit US$922 million over the next five years to address global nutrition.
The pledge, delivered at the first-ever United Nations Food Systems Summit, is the foundation’s largest nutrition commitment to date, a statement from the foundation said.
Through the new commitment, the foundation aims to advance its mission of ensuring women and children have the nutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation noted that investment in nutrition is critical to reducing preventable deaths, improving maternal and child health and building resilience for the future.
Despite its importance, particularly in reducing child deaths, nutrition has received less attention from governments and other stakeholders.
Currently, only 1 percent of foreign aid goes to nutrition despite rising food insecurity across the globe.
Recent data estimates that around one-tenth of the global population, or 811 million people, were undernourished last year, and 3 billion people lacked access to healthy diets, largely due to lack of affordability.
Undernutrition also continues to be a problem and remains the underlying cause of nearly half of all child deaths and it’s unfortunate that the world is currently not on track to achieve targets for any nutrition indicators by 2030.
The US$922 million commitment over the next five years is however a step in the right direction as it will advance the foundation’s systems approach, prioritizing efforts across food, health, and social protection systems to reach the most vulnerable.
The funds will be invested in the foundation’s four key portfolios: fortifying commonly consumed foods with vitamins and minerals, Nutritious food systems, Maternal, infant, and young child nutrition, and Research and innovation to identify new approaches and interventions.
Together, these strategies aim to address the unique role that health, food, and social protection systems can play in delivering both the food and the care that people need to live healthy and productive lives.
“This funding will help more people around the world get the nutrition they need to live a healthy life, and we hope it serves as an invitation for more donors, foundations, governments, and private-sector leaders to build on today’s investment with more bold commitments,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
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