The U.S. will provide $11 billion over three years to fight malnutrition worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, global warming and conflict, the White House said Tuesday.

The announcement came during the virtual Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit, an annual event that began in 2010 involving more than 80 countries, sponsored by the Japanese government.

Declaring malnutrition the “underlying cause of almost half of childhood deaths globally,” Samantha Power, U.S. Agency for International Development administrator, said in a statement that the investment will help combat malnutrition among the most vulnerable.

“Ensuring the survival and wellbeing of newborns, children, and women remains an urgent global challenge that good nutrition can help solve. This investment will enable the U.S. government to equip partner countries’ governments and communities with the skills and resources for improved health, diets, and nutrition by supporting communities in crisis with critical emergency food and nutrition assistance,” Power said.

“The investments will also help build resilient health systems and sustainable food systems to overcome setbacks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, global climate crisis, and recurring conflict — to ultimately prevent more children from falling into malnutrition,” Powers added.

The U.S. launched a five-year global nutrition coordination plan on November 30 involving seven U.S. government agencies. Power told summit participants that the initiative will address global malnutrition through policy, expanded use of nutrition data and better nutrition for pregnant women and older children.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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