Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

CIDA Partners: A conversation with Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, World Food Programme United Nations

  • FLV Format, 29.3 MB - 3 m 08 s


Well, at the World Food Programme we're very pleased that Prime Minister Harper has decided to focus this G-8 on mother-child health. We know that when women and children get an intervention, be it food or learning how to take care of themselves, it will improve the whole village. We view this as one of the most cost effective strategies. Also, it fits very well with the last year's G-8 focus on food security.

The intervention that goes through all mother-child health issues is nutrition. Adequate nutrition can help before pregnancy; it can help during pregnancy and post-partum to build healthy minds and bodies. And we now know that without adequate nutrition, children can suffer the damage to their minds and bodies throughout their life. So this is an urgent issue. It's one that fits well. And one that we have found a lot of support from Canada before it was even put on the global agenda. I'll give you an example. This is a cup from our school-feeding program, this one from Rwanda. Canada is helping us ask not only is this cup full for schoolchildren with a porridge, but what is in the cup? What micronutrients are in there? When we ask that question, we help build a healthy brain and body for children to have a shot at life. This, we know, can double their earning power in the future, studies have shown, and can help nations with their own GDP. Nations loose an average of 6 percent of their GDP from malnourishment. So this is a wise investment and one frankly that Canada and CIDA really have been in the global leadership of.

Canada has the leadership of this G-8 and what they're really urging the world to do is to look at the connections between the macro-issues such as food security and connect it specifically to improving the lives of women and children. What is excellent about the approach, is that Development Minister Oda has said that we want to focus on the outcomes. What works? What is proven to be cost-effective? What brings lasting success? This type of focus to say not only and how much are we putting in the system, but what is the most effective strategy? And asking those of us in the development community and others to not double up. To de-conflict our efforts so that UNICEF and the World Food Programme and others are working together toward the same goal. So we very much appreciate that leadership and the practical support that Canada and the G-8 will give to making more effective, transparent, cost-effective delivery to improve the lives of women and children.