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UN Backs Plans To Ensure Regular, Healthy School Meals For Every Child In Need By 2030

In a joint declaration, the FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO committed to assisting the School Meals Coalition in which over 60 countries envision a nutritious meal in school for every child in need by 2030

UN Backs Plans To Ensure Regular, Healthy School Meals For Every Child In Need By 2030
UN agency heads pointed out that the meals can serve as "springboards" for food system transformation
Highlights
  • School health, nutrition programmes are impactful interventions: UN leaders
  • ‘They can help combat child poverty, hunger, malnutrition in all its forms’
  • School feeding programmes can get children back in school: WFP Executive

New York: Following pandemic-driven school closures, five UN agencies threw their strong support behind an international coalition to improve the nutrition, health and education of school-age children around the world. In a joint declaration on Tuesday (November 16), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) committed to assisting the School Meals Coalition in which over 60 countries envision a nutritious meal in school for every child in need by 2030.

Also Read: 33 Lakh Children In India Malnourished, Over 50% Cases Severe: Report

Led by France and Finland, the coalition also committed to “smart” school meals programmes that combine regular meals in school with complementary health and nutrition interventions for children’s growth and learning.

“School health and nutrition programmes are impactful interventions to support schoolchildren and adolescents’ growth and development”, the UN leaders said in their declaration.

They can help to combat child poverty, hunger and malnutrition in all its forms. They attract children to school and support children’s learning, and long-term health and well-being.

Noting that school children are not the only ones who benefit, the UN agency heads pointed out that the meals can serve as “springboards” for food system transformation. And where possible, they can use locally grown food to support national and local markets and food systems, thus, improving opportunities for smallholder farmers and local catering businesses – many of which are led by women. Moreover, these programmes can contribute to achieving at least seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The School Meals Coalition has the potential to help countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

School feeding programmes can get children back in school, fix the damage done to their education, create jobs locally and enable smallholder farmers to earn a sustainable living to feed their families.

Also Read: Opinion: India’s Malnutrition Burden Still High, Is Poshan 2.0 The Answer?

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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