WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, which authorizes USAID to scale up its coordination and efforts to address global malnutrition. While malnutrition is almost entirely preventable, statistics show that each year, there are 2.6 million childhood deaths worldwide and approximately 150 million children with stunted development because they do not have adequate nutrition. The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act will bolster the federal government’s efforts to address this issue, particularly as the world continues to respond and recover from COVID-19.

“Malnutrition leads to lifelong developmental challenges for hundreds of millions of individuals around the world and the death of millions each year,” said Senator Coons. “COVID-19 has further underscored the need for continued U.S. leadership in addressing access to nutritious food around the world. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am pleased to introduce the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, which will improve coordination and ensure that our nation’s global nutrition programs are effective at assisting families around the world.” 

“Malnutrition is one of the world’s greatest burdens on public health. It affects millions of people per year, especially pregnant women and children under five,” Senator Wicker said. “This bill would help save lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable by instituting precise and targeted reforms at USAID in its fight against global malnutrition. I am grateful for the bipartisan support of American global leadership in this measure.  I urge the Senate to act quickly for this bill’s passage.”

“Far too many children go hungry in the U.S. and across the globe, an issue that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m proud to help introduce the bipartisan Global Nutrition Prevention and Treatment Act to better identify and help the children most in need. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, I will continue working on ways to address malnutrition and food insecurity to improve the lives of children in the U.S. and around the world.”

“A lack of adequate, nutritious food can harm the development of young children and lead to greater health issues as they grow up, but the U.S. is in a good position to help. This bill aims to prevent and treat malnutrition by focusing our global nutrition efforts on the most effective solutions and improving coordination with our global partners so we can get assistance to the children and families who need it most,” said Senator Boozman.

The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act:

  • Authorizes the USAID administrator to scale up the prevention and treatment of global malnutrition and coordinate with relevant public and private partners on these efforts;
  • Directs the USAID administrator to select priority countries that would receive prioritized nutrition assistance;
  • Establishes clear goals for increasing coverage of high-impact, evidence-based interventions in priority countries;
  • Establishes the Nutrition Leadership Council to coordinate USAID’s efforts on preventing and treating malnutrition, with representatives from relevant inter- and intra-agency offices;
  • Directs USAID to develop and submit an implementation plan to prevent and treat global malnutrition; and
  • Requires USAID to submit an annual report to Congress on the progress made towards preventing and treating global malnutrition.

The bill is endorsed by 1,000 Days, Action Against Hunger, Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, CARE, Farm Journal Foundation, Food for the Hungry, Global Health Council, HarvestPlus, Hellen Keller International, InterAction, ONE Campaign, RESULTS, Save the Children, UNICEF USA, and World Vision US.

The full text of the bill is available here.