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

Social protection policies for nutrition: ‘No one size fits all’

The Russian Federation and the World Bank jointly organized the side event on social protection and nutrition during the Second International Conference on Nutrition, which was held at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The event – titled: ‘Transition from safety net programs to comprehensive social protection systems: food security and nutrition perspective’ – highlighted the role social protection policies and programmes in general, and nutrition-sensitive social protection in particular, can play in improving nutrition.

Participants and discussions

Lawrence Haddad, Senior Research Fellow from the Institute of Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI, moderated the panel comprising of renowned researchers and policy makers in the fields of social protection and nutrition. While highlighting the promise nutrition-sensitive approaches hold in addressing the underlying causes of malnutrition, the panelists brought attention to evidence gaps and operational challenges that must be considered when transitioning from safety net programmes to social protection systems. 

Country perspectives from the Russian Federation and Tajikistan enriched the discussion by sharing lessons learned. Lastly, senior representatives from the FAO and the WFP were also present to brief participants on activities that the two organizations are undertaking in exploring synergies between social protection and nutrition.

Outcomes and future actions

The side event concluded with the identification of numerous policy instruments which can be adopted by policy makers to effectively integrate nutrition objectives into social protection policies and programmes. Major knowledge gaps were noted and the need to further research across a wide set of vulnerable groups, especially pre-school children and adolescent girls, was highlighted.

The organizers also informed participants of the International Forum on Social Protection and Nutrition which will be held in mid-2015 in Russia. Moreover, the work undertaken by the Secure Nutrition platform in this area was highlighted and development partners in the audience were encouraged to collaborate in the initiative.

Conclusions

The moderator closed the side event by summarizing key points from the discussion and highlighted that there is “no one size fits all” as various social protection policy frameworks, depending on the scope and policy setting, may assist in improving nutrition


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