DATE: November 14, 2019
SUBMITTED TO: The World Health Organization
SUBJECT: Infant and Child Nutrition
Romania expresses its deepest concern for the global prevalence of malnutrition in infants and children. The issue persists worldwide, despite efforts to educate populations about the importance of early childhood nutrition. The malnutrition issue can be divided into two main components: undernutrition (failure to consume enough calories to facilitate healthy growth and development) and macronutrient deficiency (failure to consume necessary nutrients for bodily function). In both cases, impoverished and otherwise developing nations are often among the most affected as a result of their lack of infrastructure capable of adequately distributing foodstuffs to citizens. Also complicating the issue is the cyclical relationship between poverty and malnutrition. Impoverished persons find it most difficult to obtain enough healthy food to provide adequate nutrition for their children. As a result, children and infants are unable to develop properly physically and mentally, which decreases their ability to educate themselves properly and move into a higher economic station. This continues the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Further exacerbating the issue is the fact that means of economic improvement such as increasing the labor force often result in decreased parental presence at home, impairing children’s abilities to be nourished, especially in infancy where breastfeeding is a key source of nutrition.
Recent United Nations efforts to combat this crisis include the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in place from 2000-2015. This program, aimed at unifying a global commitment to reducing hunger and malnutrition, achieved its goal of halving the percentage of the world population that suffers from extreme poverty by 2015. It has been the most effective policy to date regarding the resolution of world hunger, including child and infant malnutrition. It nearly halved the proportion of underweight children during its term. The updated policy that will guide the global response to malnutrition from 2016 until 2030 aims to expand on the successes of the MDGs while aiming for even greater reductions in malnutrition and its effects worldwide. This new program, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes and aims to more effectively deal with the broader causes and effects of world hunger crisis, including several issues relevant to infant and child malnutrition specifically. These include a focus on sustainable economic growth through growing infrastructure and education, as well as the promotion of gender equality to ensure women’s rights are being preserved at the same time that malnutrition is being handled. This plan addresses many of the above key issues identified as pertinent to the reduction of child and infant malnourishment, and as a result it forms a good foundation for the creation of a unified global effort to address this issue.
This topic is of great interest to Romania as a nation with a high poverty rate and high percentage of children who are undernourished and nutrient deficient. Romania has been very concerned with this issue for some time as evidenced by its effective reduction of under-five wasting and stunting, and slight improvements in rates of low birth weight. Article 17 of Order no. 1995/1996 illustrates Romania’s commitment to the education of children regarding healthy meal choices as well as to the providing of healthy meals in school, with specified menus for school lunches. Romania hopes that the world will follow the European Union (the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity and the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health) in passing a resolution which will promote proper education of students to aid in their socioeconomic development as well as their physical development.
An effective resolution will address specific means to (a) reduce poverty rates through education (b) educate both children and adults about proper dietary habits (c) promote economic developments of nations through infrastructure improvements and gender equality in the workforce, (d) establish clear and specific metrics for measuring progress toward goals established in the resolution as above.
- Jack Rickle