For over 60 years, USAID has been a leader in the fight to end global malnutrition. In October, President Biden signed H.R.4693, the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act of 2021, into law, which further directs USAID to undertake efforts to prevent and treat malnutrition globally, placing the Agency at the center of the U.S. government’s work on global nutrition.
Given the global food security and malnutrition crisis driven by the climate crisis, the global impacts of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the reverberating impacts of COVID-19, the passing of the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act comes at a critical time.
The Act recognizes the important role of the U.S. government Global Nutrition Coordination Plan to increase cooperation and coordination across Federal Agencies to address malnutrition globally. The Act also codifies the pre-existing Nutrition Leadership Council at USAID to coordinate Agency efforts to prevent and treat malnutrition globally, which has proven to be an effective platform for improving coordination and elevating the Agency’s global leadership on nutrition.
USAID has already taken actions consistent with and responding to the directives laid out in the Act. The Agency has leveraged billions of dollars and committed technical and financial resources to reduce global malnutrition. This includes the $11 billion announcement to invest in global nutrition over the next three years made at the 2021 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit and the USG’s $200 million contribution to UNICEF to address severe wasting in current humanitarian crises, which catalyzed an additional $330 million from other donors for accelerated action on wasting. Further, USAID recently completed a strategic review of nutrition priority countries based on the prevalence of malnutrition and the enabling environment for nutrition, which is also mandated in the Act.
The ongoing bipartisan support from Congress to address global malnutrition, represented by the signing of this Act, is paramount for USAID to continue supporting partner countries to prevent and treat malnutrition across the globe.