Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), 19-21 November 2014

Multiple sectors, stakeholders join forces to combat malnutrition at ICN2

The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) took place at FAO Headquarters in Rome from 19-21 November, bringing together more than 2 200 participants from across the world to address today’s major nutrition challenges. During the conference, representatives from over 170 governments committed to tackling malnutrition by adopting the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, a political document, and the Framework for Action, a policy and strategy guide for its implementation.

One of FAO’s key objectives for the conference was to promote a multisectoral and multistakeholder approach to nutrition, bringing together leaders from health, agriculture, education, social protection and other related sectors, as well delegates from international organizations, civil society and the private sector. To this end, FAO facilitated several dialogues on nutrition involving all stakeholders, as well as pre-conference events for parliamentarians, civil society and the private sector. FAO also established the Action for Nutrition Trust Fund, managed by representatives from all relevant sectors, to help governments mobilize resources for nutrition programmes and projects.

In his address to the plenary, special guest Pope Francis said that he was pleased with the decision to bring together representatives from states, international institutions, civil society, the world of agriculture and the private sector, to work together to take action for nutrition. “Total unity of proposals and work, and above all, the spirit of brotherhood, are essential for opportune and appropriate solutions,” he said.

Government representation

Governments play a key role in shaping nutrition policies to promote healthy diets for their citizens, so the participation of government representatives, including over 100 ministers and vice ministers from all relevant sectors, was crucial to ensuring the commitments made in the Rome Declaration are transformed into action. High-level participants included Queen Letizia of Spain, Nadine Heredia, First Lady of Peru, King Letsie III of Lesotho, and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan.

Non-state actors

Non-state actors were involved in ICN2 from the beginning, providing valuable perspective and input in the discussions and negotiations in the formulation of the ICN2 outcome documents. One hundred fifty representatives from civil society and 100 from the private sector participated in the Conference and took part in pre-conference events, round tables and side events.

Collectively, civil society organizations and social movements drafted a declaration to the Conference, which supports the commitments made at ICN2 and emphasizes key issues from the perspective of civil society, including accountability, human rights and rights-based approaches, equitable food systems and agroecological principles.

For its part, the private sector emphasized the roles economic and human development play in improving food security and food safety,  underlining the need for public-private partnerships in creating sustainable food systems, improving information systems, improving dietary diversity and access to healthy foods, supporting nutrition education and advocating for women.

This diverse representation at ICN2 allowed for more inclusive policy discussions and unified the knowledge and capacities of multiple stakeholders to cement nutrition as a priority in the global development agenda. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed this point in his statement during the plenary session, noting that business and civil society are key allies in the fight against malnutrition, as they ensure that the best technologies are available, that safe, healthy food is delivered to consumers, and that the voices of the hungry are always heard.

Watch full videos from ICN2 here.

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