European Union (EU) Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, said the issue of nutrition is high on the EUs long-term development agenda - noting that inadequate food and nutrition security take 'an enormous toll' on economies and damage the livelihoods and economic capabilities of already vulnerable people.
"I find it incomprehensible that in an era of technological revolution, some 870 million people are still going hungry and malnutrition is responsible for over 3 million child deaths annually," said Commissioner Piebalgs.
"We have the means to stop this tragedy," he noted. "What is lacking is the political will and determination to do so."
"Our new financial pledge will demonstrate that the EU is determined to make malnutrition history for once and for all," said the Commissioner - revealing that the €3.5bn package will be spent between 2014 and 2020.
Out of the €3.5bn pot, around €400 million will be spent on boosting nutrition through specific nutrition programmes in the health sector, while the EU will invest €3.1bn in making sure programmes in other areas such as agriculture, education, water and social protection do more to reduce under-nutrition, Piebalgs revealed.
Making malnutrition history
The Development Commissioner said that the EU recognises that 'hidden hunger', or under-nutrition, has not always been adequately addressed - adding that the EU has 'stepped up to the forefront' of global efforts to eradicate hunger and under-nutrition in the world.
He revealed that the over the next ten years, the EU intends to support 50 countries, including 40 in Africa, to improve food security and reducing stunting.
Commissioner Piebalgs unvieled the plans during his participation in two high-level events hosted by the United Kingdom’s G8 Presidency in London on June 8th.
The morning event "Nutrition for Growth, Beating Hunger through Business and Science Event" saw several Heads of State from Africa, including Cote d'Ivoire, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania, come together, while the afternoon event formed part of a 'New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition', launched in July 2012.
The New Alliance aims to improve food security and nutritional status in Africa by lifting 50 million Africans out of poverty over 10 years.