Ecuador took another step forward in the battle against chronic child malnutrition with the creation of the Consultative Council for the prevention and reduction of this problem, through Ministerial Agreement No. STECSDI-STECSDI-2022-0003-A. Its objective is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the state policy focused on the prevention and reduction of chronic child malnutrition, a problem that affects 1 in 4 children in Ecuador; and to promote actions and dialogue sessions at the territorial level, aligning itself with the actions of the national government within the framework of the national strategy.
This space for consultation and dialogue will facilitate the articulation of actions between the Ecuadorian State and civil society organizations, academia, international cooperation, and the private sector, to achieve goals, proposing a medium- and long-term agenda to ensure the sustainability of the actions undertaken by the various sectors and the national government.
On April 12th, the first session of this Council was held in which the status, expectations, objectives, and commitments of the group in the first phase of implementation were discussed as well as the assignation of leadership for this stage.
The first session of this Council was attended by Fundación Esquel, REDNI Ecuador, the Association of Ecuadorian Municipalities (AME), the Polytechnic School of Chimborazo, the Interagency Nutrition Group of the United Nations System, the University of San Francisco de Quito, the Ecuadorian Business Committee and Fundación Ecuador.
Subsequently, other institutions and social actors will join the working tables of this Council to add voices and initiatives for reducing chronic child malnutrition. This is an initiative led by the ‘Ecuador Grows Without Child Malnutrition’ Technical Secretariat of the National Government, with the technical support of the UN Joint Program 'Financing the SDGs and targeting Chronic Child Malnutrition'.
Erwin Ronquillo, technical secretary of 'Ecuador Grows Without Child Malnutrition', mentioned the expectations regarding this dialogue space: "There is no time to lose and civil society, academia, the private sector, are especially eager to participate. The advisory council can fulfill this role of guiding and channeling the different initiatives".
By his side, Juan Enrique Quiñónez, as representative of the United Nations Interagency Nutrition Group in Ecuador, referred to the need to articulate initiatives at different levels to obtain better results: "The Council must find a way to articulate itself in the territory and how to take advantage on intersectoral alliances, because this is the only way to constitute a space for national participation”. He also referred to the need for actions and strategies to be sustainable over time. "The central issue is how we can build a strategy that makes the fight against chronic child malnutrition sustainable, and we see the key importance of having a budget for results, so that the quality of spending can be assured," he added.
Financing the SDGs and targeting chronic child malnutrition
This UN Joint Program involves the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Funded by the Joint United Nations Fund (SDG Fund), the program aims to generate an environment to improve the management of sustainable development financing in Ecuador and leverage both public and private resources for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The strengthened financial structure will be applied to one of the country's main health problems, chronic child malnutrition, to help improve its indicators with multiplier effects on the SDGs.