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U.N. and Civil Society Focus: Saving the Lives of Women and Children
Tomorrow, September 20, the United Nations will hold a High-level Plenary and Dialogue for the Every Woman, Every Child initiative. It’s the first anniversary of this initiative designed to save 16 million women and children from premature deaths.
Heads of state, civil society representatives, private sector organizations, and celebrities will be among those participating. Watch the plenary session streamed live tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., follow events on Twitter, or read the latest updates, such as the World Health Organization’s report on a significant reduction in newborn mortality since 1990.
Bread President David Beckmann and other civil society leaders are in New York for meetings surrounding the High-Level Plenary and Dialogue. Beckmann will attend a special event to mark the first anniversary of 1,000 Days: Change a Life, Change the Future, the early childhood nutrition effort launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin at last September’s U.N. Summit on the Millennium Development Goals.
Bread and others who support the effort emphasize the critical importance of nutrition from pregnancy through a child's second birthday. Malnutrition during these first 1,000 days of life causes irreversible damage. On June 13, 2011, Bread for the World Institute and Concern Worldwide hosted "1,000 Days to Scale Up Nutrition: Building Political Commitment," a meeting held in Washington, DC, to strengthen support for the 1,000 Days effort. The meeting drew nutritionists and other advocates from developing countries—many of them part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) network—who are working to expand the use of best practices to improve early childhood nutrition.
After the meeting, participants representing civil society organizations in developing countries issued “The Moment Is Now: Civil Society Statement on Scaling Up Nutrition” (download statement). The statement emphasizes five principles for action: national governments must lead the way; scaling up nutrition efforts is imperative; international leadership is needed; human capacity must be built; and accountability is paramount.
At last count, 59 organizations have endorsed the statement, committing to “work together to support, to encourage, and to mobilize robust action and necessary resources to scale up nutrition.” Doing so will save the lives of many young children and prevent others from suffering needless damage to their health and development.
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