Open Access Combating hidden hunger: The role of international agencies

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Abstract:

The importance of micronutrient deficiencies or "hidden hunger" was clearly emphasized by the inclusion of specific goals on iron, vitamin A, and iodine deficiency at the 1990 World Summit for Children and other major international nutrition conferences. Significant progress has since been made toward eliminating vitamin A and iodine deficiencies, with less progress made toward reducing the burden of iron-deficiency anemia. The role of international agencies, such as the World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, Food and Agricultural Organization, and World Bank in assisting countries to make progress toward the World Summit for Children goals has been very important. International agencies have played a critical role in advocating for and raising awareness of these issues at the international, regional, and national levels among policymakers and the general population. Using a rights-based approach, UNICEF and other agencies have been instrumental in elevating to the highest political level the discussion of every child's right to adequate nutrition. International agencies have also been very supportive at the national level in providing technical guidance for programs, including monitoring and evaluation. These agencies have played a critical role in engaging the cooperation of other partners, including bilateral donors, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector for micronutrient programs. Furthermore, international agencies provide financial and material support for micronutrient programs. In the future, such agencies must continue to be heavily involved in programs to achieve the newly confirmed goals for 2010.

The present paper focuses on the role of international agencies in combating micronutrient deficiencies, drawing on the lessons learned over the last decade. The first section of the paper summarizes the progress achieved since 1990, and the second section describes the specific role of international agencies in contributing to that progress.

Keywords: HIDDEN HUNGER; INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES; MICRONUTRIENTS; WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN; WORLD SUMMIT FOR CHILDREN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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