13 November 2013
Joint FAO/WHO Second International
Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)
Preparatory Technical Meeting
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome you to this Preparatory Technical Meeting for the Second International Conference on Nutrition that will take place next November.
Let me acknowledge and thank FAO and WHO Members, and all other stakeholders, for their active involvement in the preparatory process.
This is essential because political commitment is the necessary foundation of any successful effort to promote food security and good nutrition.
Our decisions gain strength and legitimacy when different voices participate in the debate and when we work together to overcome differences and coordinate our work.
This meeting reflects both of these points.
It brings together high-level technical experts and researchers representing MemberStates, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations; the private sector and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and consumer associations, and movements such as Scaling Up Nutrition.
And it is organized in a joint effort led by FAO and WHO, but with the involvement of the other UN System bodies and international partners.
It is one more example of working together towards a common goal.
Your contributions at this preparatory meeting will help shape I-C-N 2.
And I am sure that they will contribute to the post-2015 development agenda, to meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge, and to the Expo 2015, in Milan, whose theme will be “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.
Be assured that your inputs will also help inform FAO’s work on nutrition, an issue which is central to our mandate of contributing to a food secure and sustainable world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Guaranteeing adequate food security and nutrition is one of the major challenges we face.
It is clear that the ways in which food is managed today is failing to result in sufficient improvements in nutrition.
The most shocking fact is that over 840 million people still suffer from hunger today, despite the fact that the world already produces enough food for all.
But that is only part of the story: today, over half of the world’s population is affected by some form of malnutrition, be it hunger, micronutrient deficiencies or excessive consumption.
At the same time, more than one third of available food goes to waste. The total amount of food produced but not consumed would be enough to feed two billion people.
The truth of the matter is that, today, consumers are not receiving the right signals from current policies about how to eat healthily. That is what we need to address.
For some, over-consumption and waste are too easy because their food prices are low relative to their incomes.
Others are hungry simply because they cannot afford to buy enough food to share with all their family members.
ICN2 will provide us the opportunity to chart a better future in which all people are well nourished from food that is produced and consumed through sustainable systems.
We can and need to do better.
It is up to all of you to pool your skills in order to help define the actions that have to be taken now by individuals, countries and the international community to move quickly towards this goal.
That is why I invite you to think outside the box over the next days.
To take a critical look at current food management policies and processes and propose ways forward.
To ask yourselves which of them foster bad nutrition and should be changed; and which of them contribute to good nutrition and need to be supported, strengthened and expanded.
Please be bold in exploring better options. Be creative yet practical in coming up with your recommendations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
International attention on nutrition has its roots in Rome, with the first International Conference on Nutrition being held here in 1992. Nutrition has received continued attention over the years, in Rome and elsewhere..
For example, last June, at the Nutrition for Growth meeting in London, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition was launched.
I also want to recall the proposal for a stand-alone goal for food security and nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda, as recommended by the High Level Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition that took place last April in Madrid, and supported by the three Rome-based UN agencies.
And in 2014, 22 years after the original International Conference on Nutrition, I-C-N 2 will provide the opportunity to nurture our renewed global effort to ensure that the right to adequate, healthy and nutritious food is a reality for every human being.
Thank you very much for your attention.