Responding to the launch of UNICEF’s global Child Nutrition Report, Ivan Lewis MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, has said:
UNICEF’s report demonstrates the vital link between the first 1000 days of a child’s life and breaking the cycle of poverty. It is deplorable that in this day and age 2.3 million children under the age of five globally still die every year from malnutrition and 165 million children are stunted as a result of not receiving enough nutritious food within the first 1000 days of life.
This global injustice needs to be tackled. The evidence is clear both in the UK and internationally that investment in the earliest years makes the biggest difference to a child’s development – physically, intellectually and emotionally – giving them a head start to living a fulfilling and productive life. Early years development is essential and this evidence should surely be applied to the poorest, most disadvantaged children in every society. This is also why I have asked Tessa Jowell supported by Sarah Brown to lead a global campaign to ensure early years development is part of any new post-2015 framework.
The UK has a unique opportunity at the G8 this summer to show global leadership on this issue and to pledge the additional funding required to tackle chronic malnutrition.
Giving every child, regardless of where they live, the best start in life is the surest way to achieving poverty reduction, more vibrant societies and greater equality. UNICEF’s report will do a great deal to draw the world’s attention to the importance of investing in children, and I hope the Hunger Summit and G8 special event on tax, trade and transparency will take big steps towards ending extreme poverty, starting with our children.