We welcome the commitment of the Guatemalan government to prioritize child nutrition and are committed to working side-by-side.
In early April, government and private sector representatives from Guatemala, the World Food Program-USA, the 1,000 Days Partnership, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development met in Washington D.C. to discuss the Government of Guatemala’s “Zero Hunger Pact” which seeks to address child undernutrition in Guatemala. The meeting brought together public and private sector nutrition experts to hear the Guatemalan strategy and suggest improvements for its implementation.
Guatemala has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly half of its children younger than five do not get enough food and essential nutrients, resulting in stunted growth and poor cognitive childhood development. Poor child nutrition leads to a life-long deterioration of health and well-being.
The greatest levels of malnutrition occur in the Western highlands of Guatemala, an area that is also the focus for U.S. investments in food security and nutrition through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
In February 2012, less than a month after he took office, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina committed to reduce chronic malnutrition in children by 10 percent before the end of his 4-year Presidential tenure, and launched the “Zero Hunger Pact.”
On July 25, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Arnold Chacon pledged to work “shoulder to shoulder” with the Government of Guatemala on this issue. We welcome the commitment of the Guatemalan government to prioritize child nutrition as part of its strategy to end hunger and are committed to working side by side to increase food security.
The Guatemalan government is working with private sector organizations, local organizations, and the international community to improve child malnutrition. An example of this collaboration is the Government of Guatemala’s 3 year partnership with World Food Program-USA.
No child should go to bed hungry, or suffer for the rest of his or her life as a consequence of poor nutrition. Avoiding these circumstances is the ultimate aim of the Guatemala Government. The United States is determined to help Guatemala achieve that goal by improving food security and nutrition.