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UN seeks urgent action on children starvation

UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is calling for an urgent action from the Federal Government to implement necessary policies that will reduce starvation among children in the north east region of the country.

UNDP Country Representative, Edward Kallon made the call Tuesday at the unveiling of 2016 Global Human Development Report, held in Abuja.

The report shows that between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s Human Development Index (HDI) increased from 0.466 to 0.527 – a 13.1 percent increase.

Kallon said though the current administration has made significant contributions but emphasized need to intensify efforts as 8.5 million people are in urgent humanitarian need while another 50, 000 children are severely short of food.

He said: “We are all aware of the humanitarian crisis in the North-East of the country and the looming famine in that region. Although efforts by humanitarian development actors, under the leadership of the Government have yielded significant results, many challenges remain as an estimated 8.5 million people in that region are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance; over 5 million remain food insecure; and some 50,000 children are at IPC level 5 of food insecurity. The need for action, especially for the children, couldn’t be more urgent.”

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a set of standardized tools that aims at providing a common currency for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The evidence-based approach uses an international standard which allow comparability of situations across countries and over time.

“As the UN’s lead agency with a mandate to eradicate poverty, and promote sustainable human development everywhere, here in Nigeria, UNDP has produced several NHDR focusing on various issues defining development in Africa’s largest economy. These reports continue to shape policy interventions and public debate around many development issues affecting millions of people in the country,” he added.

According to Kallon, the report launch was timely considering major challenges such as economic recession and humanitarian crisis confronting the country.

He noted that even though the global under-five mortality rate had reduced between 1990 and 2015, with the sharpest decline being registered in sub-Sahara Africa and extended life expectancy by six years, the fall in the global prices of major export commodities such as iron ore, copper, crude oil, gold, cotton and cocoa since late 2014 has affected human development.

However, the UN representative called for the development of ‘tough policies’ to address economic recession and humanitarian crisis in the country.

“Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient condition for human development; it is possible to achieve high levels of human development even with modest levels of growth. What matters is the source and spread of growth; and how growth is managed and distributed for the benefit of everyone.

“Addressing the twin problems of economic recession and humanitarian crisis facing the country calls for tough policy choices. We should utilize the opportunity provided by the national launch of this report to promote policy dialogue, at both national and sub-national levels, to enrich on-going programmes aimed at implementing the economic recovery and growth plan, the SDGs and Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 to ensure that human development is realized for everyone and that no one is left behind,” he said.

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