- Do you have any general comments on the draft political declaration and its vision (paragraphs 1-3 of the zero draft)?
In my opinion the Zero Draft is rather comprehensive in including both sides of the malnutrition scale, and recognizes the co-existence of over- and undernutrition. This is especially significant seeing that the MDG’s was mostly related to undernutrition.
- Do you have any comments on the background and analysis provided in the political declaration (paragraphs 4-20 of the zero draft)?
The recognition and emphasis on the importance of food quality in addition to quantity is well accentuated.
The recommendation of cross-cutting initiatives and collaboration between different sectors to enhance quality of food (produce more and increase availability of nutritious foods) (paragraphs 11 to 20), while improving the ability of people to acquire these foods (improved food security) (somewhat hidden in paragraph 13) highlights the importance of the whole food system, from agricultural activities to dietary guidelines.
Paragraph 10 – it could be valuable to specify industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids instead
Paragraph 10 – avoiding processing that reduces or adversely affects nutrition should not be taken out of context, and should refer to only those processing that negatively affects nutrition. Processing, i.e. fortification, freezing, drying etc. might in fact directly and indirectly improve nutrition.
Paragraph 14 – consider removal of the statement which can induce addictions and heighten risk of disease, as it does not add value to the statement and is questionable.
- 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)?
Please provide your comments in the appropriate fields relating to these commitments:
Commitment I: aligning our food systems (systems for food production, storage and distribution) to people’s health needs;
This is a very powerful commitment – but it needs buy-in from various sectors who might not be sensitised to the importance and role of nutrition within their scope of work. A strong awareness component is required to inform i.e. agriculture on its role within nutrition, beyond food volumes, domestic production and GDP. Similarly health should also be aware and involved in nutrition, and not simply on the health-related consequences of malnutrition.
Commitment II: making our food systems equitable, enabling all to access nutritious foods.
Access is a difficult aspect, as it relates not only to the physical availability of the nutritious food (through production or logistics), but also to the ability of people to afford or procure these foods. The food system also has a big role to play in job creation and improving food security through income generation.
Commitment III: making our food systems provide safe and nutritious food in a sustainable and resilient way;
Sustainability is very high on the global agenda and it is important that it be included in the design.
Commitment IV: ensuring that nutritious food is accessible, affordable and acceptable through the coherent implementation of public policies throughout food value chains.
Very ambitious, but predictable commitment
Commitment V: establishing governments’ leadership for shaping food systems.
Very important – Adequate leadership is required
Commitment VI: encouraging contributions from all actors in society;
It is pivotal to get all sectors in society involved, and high on the agenda should be creating awareness of the complexity and importance of nutrition within each sector.
Commitment VII: implementing a framework through which our progress with achieving the targets and implementing these commitments can be monitored, and through which we will be held accountable.
Although this is a very valuable commitment target, it is possibly the most difficult to attain as a baseline is required to measure progress.
22. Commit to launch a Decade of Action on Nutrition guided by a Framework for Action and to report biennially on its implementation to FAO, WHO and ECOSOC.
23. Commit to integrate the objectives and directions of the Ten Year Framework for Action into the post-2015 global development efforts.
Associate of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Well-being
Professor: Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences
University of Pretoria