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

Norway Permanent Norwegian Mission in Geneva, Switzerland
24.03.2014
FSN Forum

Norwegian comments: ICN2 zero draft outcome document

General comments

  • Norway welcomes international work on the inter linkages between global food security and nutrition and their effects on human health. ICN2 should build on ongoing work and forge these important inter linkages.
  • Norway supports the need for strong political leadership and multi-sector action in nutrition, and supports joint efforts by the health and agriculture/food systems communities.
  • ICN2 should make a significant contribution to a Post 2015-agenda in this field.
  • The multiple threats of malnutrition are a major threat to sustainable development and increased welfare for the people of the world.
  •  Norway strongly supports the right to food and believes the outcome document/Framework of action needs to contain strong rights based language.

Overall Comments to the Zero Draft

  • The document should have a human right-based approach and frame the document on the international human rights obligations. The commitment to fight hunger, ensure adequate food and nutrition and fair distribution of food, needs to be at the heart of the document.  
  • To the extent possible, use internationally agreed language in order to avoid unnecessary discussion and confusion about scope and content. The document needs to be cleaned in terms of precise and correct terminology, not least in terms of the medical aspects of nutrition and its terminology and aetiology.
  • The zero draft should include a more stringent reference to achievements made in WHO and FAO within the scope of food security and nutrition, on which we want to build on, and how the nutrition agenda could be advanced through a more holistic approach.
  • The gender perspective must be included and be mainstreamed into the document. Women make essential contributions to food security and nutrition, and need to be ensured equal access to resources and access to nutritious food and health.
  • We would like to see a shorter, better structured and more precise document. The document should be forward looking, setting the agenda and the mechanisms for action.  The health perspective need to be adequately covered. The framework of action needs to be clear on what we seek to do and achieve.
  • The new plan of action should set goals with targets and indicators that can be measured – and establish a framework for financing and accountability for action. In addition, the framework of action should try to identify cross-sectorial cooperation, action and commitments. It would be helpful if an analysis be made of the different challenges faced by men, women, girls and boys in food security and nutrition to be used in the plan of action.
  • Governments with the public and private sector all have responsibility to produce food system solutions that support nutrition.  
  • A clarification of the the term “food systems” is called for. ICN2 can add value by defining and including the need to reform the food systems to progressively realize the right to food for all.
  • We favour to use the words nutrition, health, food security and food systems in the title of the document.  It reflects the multidimentional and multisectoral approach that needs to be taken to properly address nutrition.

Specific Comments to the paragraphs:

Para 1
This para must make clear that malnutrition is a major cause of death and disability and has major impact on the economy.

Para 2
 To bullet point on women and anemia: Please insert; 1/3rd of all women of “reproductive age” suffer from anaemia

To bullet point on obesity; More precise language is called for.

To bullet point on Socio economic differences; These are large and exist within countries, but also between countries (vital to establish an international responsibility for action).

Para 3
This para introduces the concept “food systems”.  This paragraph is key to the document and should serve as the anchor and focus of the outcome document. 

Para 4
This para needs to recognize that the right to adequate food and nutrition is a human right.

Para 5
This para needs more precise language on special need and target groups, such as the pregnant and lactating woman, infant and young children, and to the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and the benefits of continued breastfeeding .(i.e. first 1000 days to the age of 2 years as a window of opportunity, people suffering specific diseases, school age children, etc).

Para 6
This para is vague in reference to “renew the commitments”. This para should refer to updated commitments and policies in WHO and FAO, such as targets on nutrition made by the WHA in 2012. The para should also refer to the responsibility/obligation of the FAO Committee for food security (CFS) in nutrition. This paragraph gives an opportunity to raise the need to include nutrition into the Post 2015-agenda.

Para 7
Make a reference to the WHA 65 Global Action Plan o NCDs, adopted by all member states and by so has authority. We propose to split para 7 into two parts, where the first part deals with maternal, infant and young child nutrition and health, and the second part deals specifically with NCDs and refers to the global NCD targets. If we call for renewed commitments, we also need to be clear on reporting on those commitments. 

Para 9 – 20 are critical and need to be more precise and ordered.  These recommendations should be focused on the development of food systems (including taking into account the smallholder farmer/producer into the food systems, social protection and promotion of breastfeeding).

Para 9
A definition of “food systems” could be set out prior to para 9. ”Food systems” is a key concept for the rest of the document, and highlighting and explaining the concept will help advance the global understanding of the key role food systems have for enhancing nutrition. In order to avoid the vague concept of “good nutrition”, a rephrasing of the first sentence is suggested; “Recognize that progressively achieving the right to adequate food for all requires more sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems. Further, we believe aquaculture has a huge potential to ensure safe and healthy food to the benefit of nutrition and peoples health. Please include “aquaculture” in the last sentence of the para.

Para 10
Nutrition and health should be important considerations in decisions on primary food production and processing. The responsibility of actors/participants in food production and processing should be highlighted. Food processing that negatively effects health and nutrition should be avoided. We suggest to rephrase the last part of the paragraph (after the semi-colon) to: “food systems should enable improved nutrition by providing year-round access to safe and nutritious foods, promoting healthy diets and avoiding food processing that negatively affects nutrition and health.” Further, the inclusion of support to enhanced research into nutrient rich crops, is called for.

Para 11
Text on the reduction on food loss and food wastage and the protection of food safety must be developed. In addition, we suggest to replace the word “seeds” in para 11 with “genetic resources” as this is a more precise term that includes animals and fish. Further, replace “and storage loss” with “throughout the food chain”).

Para 12
In this paragraph distinction should be made between traditional versus modern value chains. Reference should be made to “Health in all policies” which is a well-known approach in public health policies.

Para 13
This para is unclear and mix different issues. The content of this paragraph could be included elsewhere in the document.  We miss a clear emphasis on benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding, and on the importance of breastfeeding promotion, protection and support. The paragraph should also include language on the need for competent personnel in nutrition and breastfeeding in the healthcare system. Support to small holder farmers to increase the quantity, quality and value of production as well as store, market and enhance total productivity as part of food systems, should be reflected (either here or in para 9). Language on women’s role in food production and the economy should be included.

Para 14

Food and nutrition in a cultural context should be addressed. Proper nutrition labelling is important in order to help consumers make informed decisions about healthy choices, healthy diets and healthy lifestyles. Public information must be made available to make informed decisions. Regulation of advertising, legislation on the right to food, regulations of food systems and taxations are legal means to regulate towards more healthy and nutritious food. We would like to see language on this included in the document. This is necessary in order to promote positive changes in eating behavior toward healthy foods.

We are pleased to see that reference has been made to the responsibility of governments to protect consumers, especially children, from misleading commercial messages promoting unhealthy foods. The term “energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods” is, however, better and more frequently used than “energy-dense, but nutrition-poor”. At the end of this sentence, instead of “…which can induce addictions….”, use “…which can induce unhealthy dietary habits”.

Para 15
Interventions and partnerships for improving maternal and child health and nutrition deserves a full paragraph by itself. Language on incentives for production of positive processed foods – weaning foods, bio-fortification etc could be included.

Language on social protection and safety nets to protect the nutritionally poor (access and equity) should be included in this paragraph.

Para 16 or 17
Necessary to include language on the need to develop international support and cooperation on food safety assessment and management.

Para 20
To establish better data and an accountability system to enhance and monitor action is critical.  Just recognizing this is not enough – accountability mechanisms need to be defined, and regular reporting need to take place on achievements made. Goals, targets and specific indicators need to be established, that can be measured and a followed up in reviews and action cycles. This will set the stage for the Post-2015-agenda on nutrition.

Para 21
This para should include a section on developing, introducing and expanding the use of special targeted foods for special needs groups such as supplements for pregnant/lactating women; weaning foods etc.