UN Philippines co-launches multisectoral project to address malnutrition
The Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project is a joint undertaking of the Department of Health, the UN and the World Bank
The message of UN Philippines Resident Coordinator ad interim, Khalid Hassan, also ILO country director, follows:
His Excellency, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, President of the Republic of the Philippines,
Senior representatives from the Government, development partners and colleagues from the United Nations Country Team.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of the World Health Organization, said that “we cannot achieve environmental security and human development without addressing the basic issues of health and nutrition”.
Nutrition is one of the most fundamental building blocks of human sustainable development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases and longevity.
Healthy children learn better. People with adequate nutrition are more productive and can create opportunities to gradually break the cycles of poverty and hunger.
It is for that reason that investing in food security, healthy diets and nutrition is, by definition, building the future of a nation.
On behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team, I congratulate the Government of the Philippines for the launch of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project, or PMNP, which represents one of the most concrete contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As we know, the problem of undernutrition in the Philippines has persisted for over 30 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated higher incidences of stunting and compromised some had-won development gains in the field of food security.
As of 2015, the burden on the Philippine economy resulting from childhood undernutrition was estimated at US$4.4 billion, or 1.5 percent of the country’s GDP, in 2015.
By addressing stunting, which besets the lives of one of the most vulnerable members of our society—poor children—and by reducing health and nutrition inequalities between low performing and high performing regions of the country we will bring transformative solutions to leave no one behind.
The PMNP is setting the ground for a new generation of partnerships by combining political will, national commitments, catalytic investment and technical expertise to accelerate development in the country.
I would like to convey a special recognition to the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Education for joining their efforts in their fightin against poverty and all forms of malnutrition.
Allow me to also congratulate the World Bank for setting a very promising pathway in the nutrition sector in the country. As UN, we are proud to be part of this innovative partnership where our specialized agencies, funds and programmes can bring their global knowledge, experience and standards for the success of this human development investment.
The UN in the Philippines is currently undertaking the development of our new Cooperation Framework, together with the Government, civil society, development partners and the private sector, among others.
In this Cooperation Framework, the UN Country Team commits to a comprehensive whole-of-UN approach to preventing all forms of malnutrition; strengthening government food and nutrition policies and plans for sustained access to sufficient, affordable, nutritious food through improved diets, services, and practices; promote healthy food environments; and build resilience for food and nutrition security through effective preparedness and response to emergencies and humanitarian situations.
This commitment builds on the UN Country Team’s recent joint action under the umbrella of the Food Systems Summit and the Transforming Education Summit.
We have high hopes for the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project.
Together with the Government and the World Bank, UN agencies commit to make this project a great success, setting the ground for a new generation of partnership.
There is no time to lose to restore to every Filipino child the right to attain her fullest potential given the right education and the fullest possible health, not least proper nutrition and food security.
Thank you very much.