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المنتدى العالمي المعني بالأمن الغذائي والتغذية

Re: Invitation to an open discussion on the political outcome document of the ICN2

Save the Children
Save the Children

SCs comments on the Rome Accord – ICN2 zero draft political outcome document for 19 November 2014


Save the Children would like to thank the organisers of ICN2 for the effort they have put into organising the event so far, and the opportunity to comment on the zero draft.

22 years after the first ICN, enormous progress has been made to tackle malnutrition but much work is still to be done. Save the Children calls upon the organisers of ICN2 to make the most of this opportunity and to garner strong commitments from states towards nutrition. The proposed zero draft is a good first step in ensuring that ICN2 is a success. But for political commitments to translate into action they must be specific.

We find the document a bit too weighted towards food security and systems. Whilst this is obviously important it doesn’t really include any emphasis on direct nutrition interventions. We make some suggestions on this but we think this should come out more strongly overall, for example the package of 10/13 DNIs should be mentioned. This may also be reflected more in the commitments, eg. under commitment 5 “establishing governments’ leadership for shaping food systems” we should have an addition of “promoting good nutrition”.

This said, Save the Children would like to make the following comments on the ICN2 zero draft:

  1. Do you have any general comments on the draft political declaration and its vision (paragraphs 1-3 of the zero draft)?

Paragraphs 1-3 do a good job of setting the scene for the document, and for ICN2. Paragraph  3 could mention that a growing global population is also causing challenges in achieving food security for all. In general, it would be good to bring out the following more strongly: The challenge of inequity, especially within countries and the need for specific action to  address this. Linkages to newborn mortality - perhaps in bullet 2 add to the point on anaemia something like “Poor maternal nutrition is a contributing factor to maternal, infant and child mortality. Stunted mothers are more likely to give birth prematurely and have an underweight baby. Fetal growth restriction is a cause of 800 000 deaths in the first month of life each year, more than a quarter of all neonatal deaths (Lancet)” or add a bit more under paragraph 5.

It would also be good to mention SUN as another initiative to support. In addition it would be suggestable to add a paragraph on the need  to tackle underlying causes of malnutrition e.g —inequity, women's nutrition and empowerment, food distribution, conflict and emergencies, and climate change.

  1. Do you have any comments on the background and analysis provided in the political declaration (paragraphs 4-20 of the zero draft)?

Paragraph 4: It is important to recognise here that the right to food is a basic human right that has been internationally recognised since 1948. A human-rights based approach can effectively and sustainably tackle inequalities in food and nutrition security, targeting the most vulnerable people and improving accountability and participation in decision making.

Paragraph 5: The consequences of malnutrition during the critical first 1,000 days of life between the start of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday are irreversible, and can cause long-lasting damage. The nutrition of pregnant women is therefore crucial. If a child’s nutritional status is to be given every possible chance, it is also imperative that the nutrition of adolescent girls is also targeted in order to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. As such, we recommend adding the following text to the end of the paragraph 5:  “such as the first 1,000 days of life or when girls are adolescents”.

Paragraph 7: This paragraph should state specifically that states will support and work towards the 2012 WHA nutrition targets.

Between Paragraph 9 and 10: The text should recognise that people are at the heart of food systems and that the majority of the world’s poor are also smallholder farmers. There is a need to focus on smallholder farmers, women, indigenous and other vulnerable people and the role that they play in producing food for all.

Paragraph 14: Rules and regulation to ensure good nutrition should apply to all companies, in all countries. The text is this paragraph should be strengthened in this way. Breastfeeding and the marketing of breast-milk substitutes deserve special attention here because of the potential for breastfeeding to save the lives of millions of children.

Paragraph 15: When enhancing the nutrition of people through programmes, special attention should also be paid to adolescent girls.

  1. Do you have any comments on the commitments proposed in the political declaration? In this connection, do you have any suggestions to contribute to a more technical elaboration to guide action and implementation on these commitments (paragraphs 21-23 of the zero draft)?

The commitments to action listed in the ICN2 zero draft cover many of the areas that Save the Children would like to see in this document, but they are high-level commitments that will not mobilise the kind of action that is required to address malnutrition. In order to ensure that commitments are realised they should be specific. Save the Children would like to see the following commitments made in the ICN2 zero draft:

A global target to reduce stunting is in place, and commitments and targets to prevent stunting equitably are secured at the national level

Governments and donors commit to, and ensure implementation of an adequately resourced, equitably delivered national minimum package of direct nutrition interventions

  • All countries adopt a human rights-based  approach to food and nutrition security
  • All countries incorporate nutrition outcome targets into national food production goals.
  • All countries take steps towards the sustainable production and consumption of food. This includes altering food systems to minimise environmental impact and food waste. 
  • All countries establish  a multi-sectoral coordination mechanism for nutrition to ensure that policy decisions are owned by all relevant ministries
  • All countries expand their target nutrition group to include adolescent girls.
  • ICN2 develops formal guidance for states on incorporating nutrition objectives and appropriate metrics into agricultural plans
  • All Governments commit to incorporate the International Code on the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in full into national laws, while companies commit to comply fully with the Code, regardless of the national law.
  • All Governments commit to develop and launch a new robust and well-resourced mechanism to monitor and enforce the implementation of the International Code on the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
  • In commitment n 5: “establishing governments’ leadership for shaping food systems” we would like to see added “and promoting good nutrition”.

Depending on the country context:

  • Countries take steps to increase the level of agricultural biodiversity present, providing the basis of a more diverse diet, resulting from a more diverse enterprise and cropping base. 
  • Countries design and put in place, or strengthen, comprehensive, nationally-owned, context-sensitive social protection systems for food and nutrition security;
    1. Focus on both achieving food and nutrition security now and building resilience building for the future
    2. Improve the design and use of social protection interventions to address vulnerability to chronic and acute food and nutrition insecurity.
  • Include school nutrition programmes as part of every child’s education
    1. Promote the entry of girls into education systems, beyond primary education - critical to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and malnutrition.

We would like to stress the need for the commitments and an comprehensive accountability framework to be aligned with existing mechanisms and commitments already made, such as the EWEC and the N4G commitments.

Save the Children looks forward to seeing the next version of this document and further contributing to ICN2.