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Ottawa, CANADA – Nutrition International welcomes Canada’s commitment to invest more in international development and to support global COVID-19 recovery and resilience efforts, as expressed in yesterday’s Speech from the Throne.

The Speech reflects the global consensus that effective COVID-19 response measures require robust domestic and international investments to address the health and economic impacts of the virus. It underscores Canada’s commitment to strengthening its leadership in the world in areas such as international development, and global health and nutrition.

“COVID-19 makes it crystal clear that global health is a local issue affecting all of us,” said Joel Spicer, President and CEO of Nutrition International. “Canada is a longstanding leader in global health and nutrition and, as the fight against COVID-19 intensifies, the world needs countries like Canada to step up and step forward. Not only will this save lives and protect the vulnerable, but it is essential for bending the curve and putting an end to this pandemic.”

The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have created a global malnutrition crisis, the impacts of which will be greater in scale and severity than the virus itself. Even before the pandemic, more than two billion people – one out of every three people on the planet –suffered from malnutrition. Now, the pandemic is pushing 265 million people towards a malnutrition crisis, and acute malnutrition in girls and boys under five could rise by 20%, or an additional 10 million children. Pregnant women and young children are at particular risk, as they have heightened nutrition needs that cannot be addressed through food alone.

Over the last few decades, Canadian investments have led to immense victories in improving child health and survival, especially through commitments to nutrition and immunization. In the face of COVID-19, Canada should keep working to provide immediate lifesaving health and nutrition supports, while laying the foundation for future immunity and resilience through targeted, evidence-based nutrition programs.