Food prices are increasingly a matter of life and death for children from poor families. Many families couldn't afford a nutritious diet even before prices went up. But a doubling or more of the price of staple foods will be a catastrophe
Friday 18 April 2008
David Mepham, Save the Children UK's Director of Policy, said: "Food prices are increasingly a matter of life and death for children from poor families. Many families couldn't afford a nutritious diet even before prices went up. But a doubling or more of the price of staple foods will be a catastrophe, especially for children.
"The current crisis has brought into sharp focus how the international aid system has failed to solve the ongoing scandal of malnutrition for the world's poorest children. Too often aid is not reaching those most in need, or isn't as effective as it should be, and no one is held responsible for the shortcomings.
"We can throw food aid at the problem, and that's better than nothing. But it's only a short term and partial fix. On this issue the international community is dysfunctional and fragmented. Many UN agencies make food security and good nutrition their business, but none takes the leadership for solving the whole problem for the long term.
"We need to sort this out, and Save the Children UK is calling for a global top-level summit on nutrition to force accountability and change on this matter. The lives of children around the world depend on taking the right action now."
Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK, said:
"Food aid can help in the short term but families tell us they need more money, employment opportunities and investment in agriculture to cope over the longer term. The task force must address the current crisis as part of a wider international strategy for tackling the underlying causes of high food prices, food insecurity and malnutrition.
"Reducing hunger and malnutrition is the forgotten Millennium Development Goal and hunger contributes to a staggering 3.5 million child deaths each year. This taskforce should help galvanise a wider global effort to put these issues at the very top of the international agenda."