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The agreement relates to the development of a five-year joint programme to support national investment programmes which fully integrate nutrition security into the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and which help to harmonise CAADP and nutrition interventions.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which contributes to the reduction of malnutrition in Africa. The agreement was co-signed in Addis Ababa during NEPAD's steering committee between Jay Naidoo, chair of GAIN Board and Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency.
With this agreement, GAIN and NEPAD will assess existing policies, practices and capacities in agriculture, nutrition and food security. GAIN and NEPAD will take the lead in engaging private sector, donors and national decision makers and coordinate action in expanding access to more nutritious food.
In Africa, one in four people suffer from malnutrition, twenty-five percent of children are undernourished and forty percent are stunted. Fifty-three percent of pregnant women in Africa are anemic. "Malnutrition is costing millions of lives, in particular women and children. It also prevents millions of people from contributing to the Continent's growth and development," said Jay Naidoo, chair of GAIN Board. "It is directly linked to achieving the MDGs, including poverty reduction, child mortality, maternal health, AIDS and many other infectious diseases." It is estimated that countries lose up to 3% of GDP due to malnutrition.
"We know solutions exist to reduce malnutrition through a number of simple, targeted and cost-effective interventions," said Jay Naidoo. "The critical window of opportunity is the 1 000 days of life, from conception to two-years-old. Fortified staples, the promotion of breastfeeding, and complementary foods after six months of age, are some of those interventions available to help break this cycle of malnutrition."
"Since malnutrition has multiple causes, improvement requires multi-sectoral action across the food security, agriculture, social protection, health and educational sectors," said Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD. "This poses a significant delivery challenge for national governments. Although tested, affordable and effective interventions are available; implementation has not yet reached scale."
NEPAD and GAIN have collaborated since 2003 on the development of CAADP and the NEPAD Nutrition Lens. In September at the MDG Review Summit in New York, a new international framework for tackling malnutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Roadmap, was widely endorsed by implementing agencies and donors. The SUN approach reflects a shift in global awareness, which acknowledges that a major inhibitor to reaching the MDGs is poor nutrition, which is particularly important to the Millennium Development Goals 1, 4, 5 and 6. A major focal point for action is the 1 000 day window from conception to two years of age.