With millions of young children around the world underfed, underweight and more vulnerable to fatal diseases, the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) has opened a review of ways to strengthen nutrition as a key element of national development plans and UN programmes.
Meeting from 14 to 18 March in Brasilia, Brazil, the SCN will also assess the likelihood that the food and nutrition targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015 – eradicating extreme hunger – will be met.
Progress towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition "is not sufficient to permit the complete achievement of this goal," it said in a release on its 32nd session.
"Globally, 126.5 million children under 5 years of age are underweight, with 89.2 million in Asia, 34.5 million in Africa and 2.8 million in Latin America and the Caribbean," it said.
One SCN member, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), added that despite progress in fighting against hunger, 852 million people worldwide were undernourished in 2000-2022 – 815 million in developing countries, 28 million in countries in transition and 9 million in industrialized countries.
The meeting will also study "A Synthesis of the Country Case Studies," conducted in Angola, Bolivia, Brazil and Mozambique, and the recently adopted Voluntary Guidelines to support the achievement of the Human Right to Adequate Food, a requirement under a number of international legal instruments.
The Synthesis makes a series of recommendations to the UN and to the four national governments on how to understand and remove the roadblocks to improving food supplies and nutrition.