BRUSSELS, June 7 The European Union will pledge
3.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion) over the next seven years to
help combat malnutrition in the developing world, the largest
such EU donation to deal with nutrition.
The EU has been increasingly combining its humanitarian and
development aid efforts to help countries become better prepared
for sudden shocks, for example through health programmes that
make people less prone to malnutrition.
The funds will be used for both health programmes and
investment in agriculture, water and education to improve access
to healthy foods.
"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," EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on
Friday. "We have the means to stop this tragedy."
A study released in British journal the Lancet on Thursday
cited new evidence that 45 percent of all deaths of children
under 5 years of age are caused by malnutrition.
"The scale of investment could be truly transformational.
The EU has been ahead of the game in recognising the strategic
importance of tackling under-nutrition," said Eloise Todd from
humanitarian aid group ONE.
"Other donors should follow the Commission's lead and
propose ambitious funding to tackle the scourge of
under-nutrition and stunting."
The EU's pledge will be made formally at an international
conference on nutrition in London on Saturday. The support will
be aimed at 50 countries, 40 of them in Africa.
($1 = 0.7579 euros)
(Reporting by Ethan Bilby, editing by Gareth Jones)