New steps forward to eradicate malnutrition

Olio Officina

SOURCE: FAO – “The time is now for bold action to shoulder the challenge of Zero Hunger and ensure adequate nutrition for all”, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said yesterday in closing remarks to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome. “Malnutrition is the number one cause of disease in the world”.

The conference brought together representatives from over 170 governments who affirmed their commitment to establish national policies aimed at eradicating malnutrition in all its forms and transforming food systems to make nutritious diets available to all. Pope Francis, Queen Letizia of Spain, Nadine Heredia, First Lady of Peru, King Letsie III of Lesotho and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of the United Arab Emirates addressed the conference as special guests.

We have before us a decade of nutrition,” Graziano da Silva added, referring to the upcoming Expo Milan 2015 with its theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life.” He noted that food and nutrition security will also figure prominently in the United Nation’s post-2015 development agenda.

Throughout the three-day conference organized by FAO and WHO, Graziano da Silva and WHO Director General-Margaret Chan stressed the importance of collaboration across sectors to respond to the nutrition challenges of the 21st century, but made it clear that the fight against malnutrition ought to be led by national governments through concrete commitments and benchmarks. At ICN2 governments adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, along with a Framework for Action that provides far-reaching recommendations for national policy-makers to combat malnutrition and put healthy diets and environmental sustainability at the centre of food production and distribution, from farm to fork.

“We need adequate finance to be able to put into practice the ICN2 Framework for Action ,” the Director General reminded delegates. To support governments in transforming commitments into concrete actions, FAO established the Action for Nutrition Trust Fund. The fund will mobilize resources for programmes and projects that foster enabling environments for nutrition, promote sustainable food systems and nutrition-enhancing trade, increase nutrition information, improve food safety and make nutrition part of stronger social safety nets.

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