SE018 Maximising the impact of the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Japan in 2020: What more can be done to transform our failing food system?


  • Department for International Development (DFID), UK
  • FAO
  • Global Panel
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
  • UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)

The Nutrition for Growth Summit will be hosted by the Japanese Government in 2020. This is an important event as we are hoping to see renewed commitments from different governments, donors, private sector, NGOs and CSOs over the next decade. The outcomes of this Summit will help accelerate the objectives of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and the SDGs. The aim of this side event is to provide an update on food systems for nutrition, where we currently are and what more needs to be done.

One in three people globally is malnourished, and trends predict that this number will grow to one in two people soon if we continue with business as usual. At the same time climate change is happening, with global warming likely to increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 (IPCC, 2018). Food systems are not keeping pace: they are not nourishing people and, at the same time, they are major contributors to climate change. What can global nutrition actors do to support governments and contribute to food systems transformation into healthy and sustainable food systems? How to develop actionable, coherent and consistent recommendations to address food insecurity and malnutrition in a sustainable way?

The side event will then raise awareness and provide an overview of the upcoming N4G Summit and present potential commitments / actions that can be made. The session will close with a panel.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Terri Sarch – UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome (Moderator)
  • Renata Micha – Co-Chair, Global Nutrition Report
  • Anna Lartey – Director of Nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Darren Welch – Director of Policy, UK-DFID
  • Sandy Thomas – Director, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition
  • Liliane Ortega – Chair, CFS Open-Ended Working Group on Nutrition
  • Stineke Oenema – Coordinator, UN Standing Committee on Nutrition
  • Pamela Mbabazi – Chair, National Planning Authority, Uganda
  • Namukolo Covic – Senior Research Coordinator, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, Ethiopia
  • Keiichi Katakami – Japanese Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

Main themes/issues discussed

A summary of the state of diets and nutrition was provided with linkages to health and the environment. An overview of the Food Systems Working Group was outlined – which was set up as part of preparations for the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Japan in 2020 – and 9 priority commitments were highlighted: Develop Whole of Government Food Systems Action Plans, private sector to Establish an Investor Coalition, big food and beverage companies to sign up to a Responsible Food Business Pledge, all big business should sign up to a Workforce Nutrition Pledge, SMEs to sign up to the SUN Business Network or other similar networks, public sector donors and foundations to establish an Alliance on Sustainable and Healthy Diet Food Demand Creators, as well as invest and leverage Nutrition Food Finance Facilities, UN to commit to integrating Guiding Principles for Sustainable Healthy Diets and also to commit to facilitate, support and advocate for the collection, sharing and dissemination of data to inform food systems analysis and policy development. A Panel then shed light on the global challenges facing food systems, encouraging linking up with global initiatives such as the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition and the UN Decade on Action; a donor perspective was given on why transformation of the food system is important and how we need to make a stronger case on why nutrition is important to other sectors. The panel also included developing country perspectives, their experience and advice on how using in-country expertise is essential for sustainability. The session was closed by the Japanese Ambassador calling on actors to make new and transformational commitments in Tokyo in 2020.

Summary of key points

  • The global food system is one of the main contributors to climate change and environmental degradation and leaves 1 out of 3 people suffering from one or more forms of malnutrition.
  • The most pressing food system challenge around the world is the accelerating rate of diet-related diseases.
  • Need to ensure sustainable healthy diets are affordable.
  • People across all income groups are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains and milk, and eating too much of SSBs. Higher income countries are further burdened by decreased consumption of legumes, and increased consumption of red and processed meats.
  • The CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, a key contribution to meet the SDGs
  • The number of extreme events, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s - need to deliver healthy diets whilst mitigating climate change.
  • Need to find win-wins and help deliver triple gains for people, planet and prosperity.
  • Need to help people working in different parts of government to better understand why preventing malnutrition is important.
  • Nutrition is essential for human security and needs to be integrated into universal health coverage.

Key take away messages

  • Food systems are currently failing us
  • There is unprecedented opportunity ahead for food systems and nutrition and together we can use the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Japan 2020 to drive forward transformation.
  • Nutrition is an essential driver of sustainable development.
  • More commitments are needed at the N4G Summit in 2020: financial and political.
  • There is a global agenda (2030 Agenda, supported by concrete ICN2 recommendations), there is momentum (Nutrition Decade): now is the time for implementation.
  • Need to use local academic institutions for sustainability.
  • Need to support existing initiatives in line with national priorities.
  • Need to implement social transformation alongside other interventions to help shift behaviors and habits towards healthy and sustainable diets.
CFS 46 Side Event: SE018 Maximising the impact of the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Japan in 2020


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