Nutrition for Growth Summit: Governments in developing countries charged to improve nutrition policies

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Governments in developing countries are being charged to review and improve their nutrition policies in the bid to address malnutrition.

This is because the global community through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), compelled each country to take various actions to end malnutrition in the world by 2030.

But the Global Nutrition Target shows that it is far from achieving for example, 40 percent reduction in the number of under five children who are stunted.

It is also looking difficult to achieve the SDG 2 which aims to eradicate hunger and ensure access by all people to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round by 2030.

About one billion people in Africa are unable to afford house food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

At the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021, Director General of the FAO, Dr Qu Dongyu, therefore said political parties in developing countries must improve malnutrition policies to address issues like this.

“we need enabling policies to focusing on the specific issues and specific areas like how this time we are focusing of Africa.”

The impact must come by leading examples from concrete, tangible, and deliverable results. 

“There should be opportunities for local farmers and local communities who are driving force for local developments.”

For Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), selected actions by these political heads towards a better nutrition must be synchronised.

“…because actions need to be planned. The level of usefulness of conducive political environment in Africa needs to be marked by accountability.

When the conducive political environment exists, and multi-sectoriality is looked at in implementable way and partnerships are pleasant, then we have a coherent strategy in other to tackle the challenges of malnutrition.”

The World Bank Group has said that there are 150 million stunted children across the world, and 70 percent of people suffering from obesity lived in developing countries.

Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank Group, Mamta Murthi, said this is a crisis we can tackle.

“…this is a crisis we can tackle because potential solutions exist. We believe that government leadership and right support, change can happen and happen faster.”

She observes nutrition is fundamental to building capital and achieving human security.

Nutrition improvement is a challenge that requires collaborative activities in a wide range of sectors such as health, agriculture and food security, water and sanitation, and education.

Therefore in order to realize collective impact towards the achievement of global goals going forward, it is required to strengthen cooperation with global development partners, including governments, bilateral donors, international organizations, the private sector, civil society with strong commitments for addressing malnutrition, which generates a better outcome that cannot be achieved by only a single stakeholder. 

UNICEF for instance said at the summit that it will work with governments and partners to improve the quality of children food and diets.

This is important because its new 10-year nutrition strategy aims to consolidate the gains and ensure progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG) nutrition targets.

Executive Director of UN Children Fund, Henrietta Fore, said the organisation will strive and improve the quality of food environment which include where children eat, meet and play thereby putting an end to marketing of unhealthy food.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) high-level side event on Nutrition for Growth Summit was under theme, “Human Security and Nutrition -addressing the double burden of malnutrition through the realisation of collective impact. 

President for JICA, Shinichi Kitaoka, said partner organisations must leverage on each other’s strength in order to achieve the global nutrition agenda.

“…not all partner organization conduct the same activities but rather they focus their activities where they have comparative advantage, recognizing each other’s strength will help bring about the best outcomes”.

For example, in Ghana, JICA used it expertise in maternal and child health to partner UNICEF employed digital technologies to work together to achieve its goals. 

To establish these types of partnerships, Mr Kitaoka said that organisations must share information and knowledge with each other,” he said.

The Government of Japan hosted the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit in Tokyo in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. 

This Summit is the successor to the Nutrition Summit in London in 2013 and the Rio Nutrition Summit in 2016, and is an invaluable event for all stakeholders to make commitments for nutrition. 

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Posted on

December 27, 2021