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FAO welcomes greater commitments on nutrition, food security

FAO stepping up its own nutrition efforts
Photo: ©FAO/Christena Dowsett
8 June 2013, London/Rome -  FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva welcomed the new funding pledges, commitments and targets for action on nutrition announced by governments, the private sector and civil society at the high-level Nutrition for Growth meeting held in London today.

"I welcome the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact agreed at the meeting. FAO will work with all committed governments to realize their food security and nutrition goals," Graziano da Silva said.

"The cost of inaction is too high," the Director-General stressed. "Malnutrition kills millions every year, and damages billions of lives. It costs up to 5 percent of global GDP in foregone output and health costs."

Graziano da Silva also outlined how FAO was stepping up its efforts to improve nutrition over the last 18 months. This includes the additional deployment of experts in the field to better respond to country needs and the implementation of a new nutrition strategy.

"With our new Nutrition Strategy, we are working to enhance nutrition through all the Organization's work. And for the first time, nutrition outcomes will be prominent at the highest level in our results framework. From 2014 onwards we will be monitoring and reporting a far greater proportion of FAO's work against nutrition-related outcomes," he said.

The meeting, Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science, was organized by the British and Brazilian Governments together with The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a British philanthropic organization. It was attended by high-level delegates from civil society, the private sector and Government from some 30 countries, most of them part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

The meeting was held ahead of the G8 Summit taking place at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland on 17-18 June 2013 as part of the UK's G8 Presidency.

Food systems

"We cannot expect better nutrition without food security -- which requires better food systems," Graziano da Silva said.  This is the key message of FAO's flagship publication, The State of Food and Agriculture, launched earlier this week in Rome.

Overcoming malnutrition in all its forms -- undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity -- requires appropriate interventions in food systems, public health, education, social protection and other areas.

Graziano da Silva also stressed the importance of improving measurement of hunger and malnutrition. In this regard, FAO is developing the Voices of the Hungry  project- a new, faster and more precise way of measuring hunger and food insecurity across the world.

Partnerships

Graziano da Silva stressed the importance of strengthening partnerships to improve food security and nutrition, including civil society, the private sector, governments, the scientific community, and multilateral organizations. 

As Vice-Chair of the UN Secretary General's High Level Task Force on World Food Security, Graziano da Silva also said that the UN system is rising to the Zero Hunger Challenge announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year at Rio+20.

He also noted that the second International Conference on Nutrition in Rome in November next year is being co-organized by FAO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others. "ICN2 will establish a strong basis for more effective policy coordination and international cooperation" amongst governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and other partners, he added.
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