US State DepartmentWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — On April 3, Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security Jonathan Shrier and Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Food Security at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Paul Weisenfeld hosted Guatemalan Minister of Health Jorge Villavicencio, other Government of Guatemala officials, private sector representatives and a panel of nutrition experts at the Department of State for a joint discussion on Guatemala’s “Zero Hunger Pact” (“Pacto Cero Hambre”) to reduce chronic malnutrition. Zero Hunger was launched by the President of Guatemala in 2012 and aims to reduce chronic malnutrition among children in Guatemala by ten percentage points by the end of 2015.

Participants from the Department of State, USAID, the World Bank, World Food Program-USA, the 1,000 Days partnership and the Inter-American Development Bank discussed Guatemala’s progress and next steps in implementing Zero Hunger. Half of Guatemalan children under the age of five suffer chronic malnutrition, the highest rate in the Western Hemisphere and one of the highest rates in the world. The greatest levels of malnutrition and stunting 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.

The meeting highlighted the efforts of the Guatemalan Government to achieve sustainable results. Assistant to the Administrator Weisenfeld referred to Feed the Future’s efforts to support countries advance their food security priorities well as the importance of partner country ownership for the sustainability of such efforts and welcomed Guatemala’s prioritization of nutrition as part of its strategy to address hunger.

Acting Special Representative Shrier welcomed the Government of Guatemala’s commitment to support the Scaling Up Nutrition principles and commended the government for its leadership in working with the international community, Guatemalan civil society and private sector partners to address child under-nutrition in Guatemala, particularly in the 1,000 days from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday.

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