EU's next step to fight global child hunger

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs with Save the Children International CEO Jasmine Whitman. Photo by: European Commission

The European Commission aims to release in the first half of 2013 a new policy paper containing its comprehensive approach to address child hunger globally.

The paper — or “communication,” as the commission calls it — will outline political priorities and direction of European Union aid and explain “a bit how we will do it,” Wojtek Talko, press officer at the office of European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, told Devex. It will focus on maternal and child nutrition.

Piebalgs first mentioned the plan in a statement following a meeting Thursday (Jan. 17) in Brussels with Save the Children International CEO Jasmine Whitman. He said the commission fully supports the nonprofit’s Every One Campaign, which seeks to stop millions of children and mothers from dying each year due to preventable diseases.

The policy paper and new partnership with Save the Children present the next steps to Piebalgs’ pledge at the Global Hunger Event in August to help save 7 million children from stunting, or 10 percent of the 2025 global target.

“Children have a special place in EU development policy,” Piebalgs said. “Fighting undernutrition is vital to equip the world’s poorest children with the chances to pull themselves out of poverty when they grow up.”

There’s a further reason for European Commission’s heightened focus on fighting undernutrition: It would demonstrate its food security policy’s value for money.

Speaking to Devex on the sidelines of the 2012 European Development Days, Jean-Pierre Halkin, who heads the rural development, food security and nutrition unit at EuropeAid, said: “It is exactly because we’ve been looking at the impact or the outcome of the issue of undernutrition [that it became] apparent that once you are not looking at the quantity of food produced, but looking at the way the quantity of food is made available to the consumer and is afterward used by the consumer, you realized you don’t have the full impact.”

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.