UN Resident Coordinator
18 October 2019
State of the World's Children Report Launch
Speech by Didier Trebucq, UN Resident Coordinator in Barbados
Today I am pleased to welcome you here as we launch the State of the World’s Children Report (SOWC) 2019. This report provides invaluable information to raise awareness on key issues affecting children and to focus on solutions that can improve their lives and well being through the lens of food and nutrition.
Every human being, including children has the right to food. However, varying levels of inequality and poverty often create circumstances that hinders the supply of and access to appropriate nutrient rich foods. The State of the World’s Children report paints a picture of deep dichotomy- children who are undernourished, experience hidden hunger and are overweight, collectively described as the triple burden of malnutrition.
Within the context of Agenda 2030, it is important to address this issue as it contributes to achieving several Sustainable Development Goals; specifically Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.
At the recent High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, several partners and UN Agencies launched the “Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All” to accelerate countries’ progress on health-related SDGs. So, this is good news that alliances are building up to tackle these complex issues, with a multidimensional approach and innovative solutions.
The United Nations Multi-Country Office Barbados and the OECS has been working to address nutrition and health including among children and youth. Several Agencies: UNDP, FAO, PAHO/WHO, WFP and of course UNICEF to name a few, are cooperating in the region to improving nutrition, strengthening food production and fisheries, managing cardiovascular diseases all of which converge to help address the issue of nutrition and children.
As part of the UN Reform process, which became effective January 2019, the UN has been focused on greater coherency to better support countries and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals to purposefully Leave No One Behind.
Indeed, combatting childhood obesity requires a collective approach – involving parents, schools, civil society, the private sector, development partners and the government. Collectively we can make a difference to reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods and sweetened drinks, increase the production and consumption of locally grown foods, and increase the use of package labeling that conveys nutritional data in an easy to understand manner.
The need for legislation and financial disincentives on unhealthy foods can also help us to win the fight on children’s health. Barbados having already introduced the 10% tax on sugar sweetened beverages in 2016, is moving in the right direction.
In closing, I wish to commend the Government of Barbados, which continues to show strong leadership in combatting childhood obesity. Through multi-stakeholder partnerships, the Ministry of Health and Wellness along with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the UN and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition have drafted several strategic plans to address this issue.
Indeed, this confirms the old adage; ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ It is our hope that this report will be useful to guide you for future national decisions.
Ladies and gentlemen, by working together, we can make a difference to create a better future for our children.
UN agencies involved in this initiative
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Children's Fund