By Akanimo Sampson
Some nine months after a global food event in Thailand, the world does not seem to be yet on track to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Those who know better say improving food security and nutrition is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Apparently worried by the question: How can we accelerate progress in transforming our agri-food systems to meet the needs of the hungry and malnourished?, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) organised a global event to accelerate progress to end hunger and malnutrition.
The global event was held November 28–30, 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand and brought together decision makers, practictioners, researchers, and other stakeholders from around the world.
This event was aligned with the imperatives of the Compact2025 initiative and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to make accelerated progress on hunger and under-nutrition by 2025 to pave the way for achieving all the SDGs.
Compact2025 was however, launched to support the achievement of SDG2 and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.
On April 1, the General Assembly proclaimed the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, 2016-2025.
The United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), together with its members, welcomed this important step towards mobilising action to eradicate malnutrition in all its forms in all countries.
UNSCN is a dedicated platform where UN agencies can have an open, substantive and constructive dialogue on nutrition strategies and initiatives. It is also a place where UN agencies can design joint global approaches, and align their positions and actions when addressing the multi-faceted and evolving nutrition challenges as they arise.
As an established and respected forum for facilitating dialogue, UNSCN is well placed to act as a catalyst for sharing their knowledge, best practice and cutting edge information, among its members and with other stakeholders.
In the mean time, the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition is a commitment of member states to undertake 10 years of sustained and coherent implementation of policies and programmes, following the recommendations and commitments of the ICN2 Framework for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The decade will increase visibility of nutrition action at the highest level and ensure coordination, strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration, create synergies and measure progress towards sustainable food systems and food and nutrition security for all.
However, it appears progress to reduce undernourishment and micronutrient deficiencies has been far too slow and uneven across regions, countries and populations groups. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in nearly all countries.
On the other end, 821 million people remain chronically undernourished, 149 million children under five years of age are stunted, over 49.5 million children under five years are wasted, over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and two billion people are affected by overweight (almost a third of adults worldwide) of whom around 678 million are obese.
The resolution recognises the need to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide.
The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition will therefore, provide an umbrella for a wide group of actors to work together to address these and other pressing nutrition issues in order to achieve the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.
The General Assembly call upon the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the FAO to lead the implementation of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, in collaboration with the World Food Programme, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the United Nations Childrens Fund, and to identify and develop a work programme, using coordination mechanisms such as UNSCN.