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As global nutrition problems escalate, so must our efforts to solve them

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After decades of global progress, food insecurity is on the rise again. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the economy to a halt, put millions out of work, and spurred historic inflation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted international supply chains for staple foods, further driving up the cost of grain, fertilizer and energy. These are all essential resources to reach millions of malnourished children and families with food.

The global system of food production and distribution is torn. Already he is 1 in 10 and does not know when or where he will have his next meal. We must understand that he is one crisis away from a rate of hunger unprecedented in the modern world.

In bucking the recent trend of growing partisanship within the United States, lawmakers passed the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act (GMPTA), which was just signed into law by President Biden. The bill directly targets global malnutrition by giving the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the resources it needs to scale up its efforts. By authorizing USAID to coordinate with federal agencies, international governments, and numerous vested aid organizations, the bill’s provisions strengthen existing programs that are in place at all levels.

It is heartening to see elected representatives of the United States, often fiercely opposed, unite to prioritize ending malnutrition. The benefits it brings are well documented. For example, the first 1,000 days of life in a newborn is a critical period for brain development. Before GMPTA was passed, aid groups struggled to coordinate efforts to improve nutrition and missed opportunities. For example, some USAID-funded maternal and child health clinics do not always provide maternal and child nutrition services, even though pregnancy is one of the most critical times for good nutrition. not. The lack of coordination between the various strategies of the US government often leaves large gaps unfilled. The GMPTA strengthens fundamental coordination efforts between governments and non-profit organizations to ensure that women and children receive comprehensive nutritional resources when and where they need them most.

Passing the GMPTA is a commendable achievement, but it’s also a sign that much more can be achieved in the future. Fortunately, this law provides a basis for expanding aid in the future. The legislation provides an example for other governmental and humanitarian organizations on how best to analyze the overall effectiveness of these programs. With greater transparency and accountability, these organizations will optimize and accurately report progress and results. Goal setting and data collection requirements also help program managers measure the results of their distribution.

It is more important than ever not to become complacent in the face of this progress and to build on the foundation laid by the GMPTA and increase global nutrition funding for programs guided by this new law. . We have the means to make a meaningful impact and reach more women and children with critical nutrition services.

Greater coordination and accountability can prevent the disasters of a destabilizing world. Still, you shouldn’t rely on leaders to solve this problem alone. All citizens envisioning a better, more peaceful world must take up the mantle so that years of progress are not lost any more. By targeting global malnutrition, we can make a direct and immediate difference in the lives of millions of young children and improve the futures of millions more. There is probably no sublime reason.

Eugene Cho bread of the worlda nonpartisan Christian advocacy group that urges national and global decision makers to help end hunger in the United States and around the world.