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

Santosh Mishra Population Education Resource Centre (PERC), India
24.02.2014
FSN Forum

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

The prevalence of malnutrition is high among mentally disabled children. In order to raise their quality of life, mentally disabled children must be provided with sufficient nutritional support.

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

Micronutrient malnutrition is refers to vitamin and mineral nutritional deficiency diseases. Diets which lack adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals lead to such diseases. Vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia and iodine deficiency disorders are among the most common forms of micronutrient malnutrition. Other micronutrients found in food, including vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, vitamins C and D, and minerals such as calcium, selenium and zinc can also significantly affect health when dietary deficiencies exist. Although the major malnutrition problems are found in developing countries, people in developed countries also suffer from various forms of micronutrient malnutrition. This manual focuses on deficiencies of vitamin A, iron and iodine, the three micronutrient deficiencies of greatest public health concern worldwide. Micronutrient malnutrition usually occurs when diets lack variety. The vitamins and minerals needed to prevent micronutrient malnutrition are present in a variety of foods.

Policies and programmes need to be developed and implemented to ensure better year-round access to and consumption of an adequate variety and quantity of good-quality, safe, micronutrient-rich foods. Four main strategies can be used to overcome micronutrient deficiencies:

  • dietary diversification,
  • food fortification,
  • supplementation with vitamin and minerals, and
  • global public health and disease control measures.

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3. 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.

To promote health, industry would need to make and market healthier foods so as to shift consumption away from highly processed, unhealthy foods.

Commitment II: making our food systems equitable, enabling all to access nutritious foods.            

Technical assistance and leadership support is needed in following matters:

  • developing metrics and evaluation tools to measure the impact of changes,
  • translating scientific research findings into practical policy recommendations,
  • evaluating food system interventions to provide evidence for policy and program decisions, and
  • convening stakeholders to advocate for reform on leading food system issues.

Commitment III: making our food systems provide safe and nutritious food in a sustainable and resilient way;        

The availability of safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy food has taken on a new and pressing dimension in the face of an ever growing global population and increasing environmental and sustainability concerns. There is need for:

  1. developing better ways of assuring microbiological and chemical food safety, and
  2. identifying alternative sources of protein or developing innovative new processes to economise on energy, water and packaging.

 

Commitment IV: ensuring that nutritious food is accessible, affordable and acceptable through the coherent implementation of public policies throughout food value chains.              

Lack of access to proper nutrition is one reason why many people, including children, are not eating the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Food insecurity and hunger among children is even more widespread. Community and faith-based organizations can help ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities. Community and faith-based organizations can play an important role in providing access to affordable and healthy food options.

Commitment V: establishing governments’ leadership for shaping food systems.       

Government actors have an important role to play in creating healthy public policies and supportive environments to facilitate access to safe, affordable, nutritious food. From a community food security perspective, efforts to strengthen the regional food system can help to improve physical access to healthy, locally-grown food by increasing retail opportunities and distribution sites close to places where residents live and work. Similarly, supportive planning considerations can:

  • reduce the barriers to local food production, processing and distribution (on and off the farm),
  • help to foster a food system that: supports and optimizes community self-reliance; provides opportunities for all food system stakeholders to be engaged (including small-scale producers); and
  • reduce the environmental impact of long distance food transport.

 

In this way, government action to address community food security through regional food system policy making can contribute to a number of social, economic and environmental goals.

Commitment VI: encouraging contributions from all actors in society; Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity and sustainable progress in poverty eradication is critical to improve access to food. Conflict, terrorism, corruption and environmental degradation also contribute significantly to food insecurity. Increased food production, including staple food, must be undertaken. This should happen within the framework of sustainable management of natural resources, elimination of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, and early stabilization of the world population. There is need for strategic intervention for ensuring fundamental contribution to food security by women, particularly in rural areas of developing countries, and the need to ensure equality between men and women. Revitalization of rural areas must also be a priority to enhance social stability and help redress the excessive rate of rural-urban migration confronting many countries.     

 

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.    

Following interventions are needed:

  1. Sustaining growth in food production by smallholder farmers through significant increases in the level and effectiveness of longer term development assistance for smallholder-based food production and food security systems;
  2. Improving international food markets by boosting trade finance and intensifying negotiations for the achievement of tangible outcomes and by working on utility, feasibility and viability of coordinated food stocks and an appropriate regional food reserve system; and
  3. Developing a common reference framework for biofuels and producing analysis on their impact on food security, poverty and the environment while deploying technologies critical for agriculture, food security, poverty eradication, ecological sustainability, and climate resilience within the context of sustainable development frameworks at national regional and international level.

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.     

The supply of safe, affordable and nutritious food should be an important public health goal. It should aim: 

  • to guarantee the safety of food and the food supply;
  • to set standards for safe food production and supply, and enforce and monitor them;
  • to inform and educate the community about food, nutrition and healthy food practices;
  • to operate a response system to contain, treat those affected by, and prevent the further spread of, outbreaks of foodborne disease; and
  • to reduce preventable nutrient-related deficiency diseases and conditions.

23. Commit to integrate the objectives and directions of the Ten Year Framework for Action into the post-2015 global development efforts. Following interventions are needed:

  • Intersectoral collaboration and interorganizational partnerships at all levels,
  • Community participation and engagement in planning and decision-making,
  • Creating healthy settings, particularly focusing on the settings of schools, workplaces and cities and communities/municipalities,
  • Political commitment, funding and infrastructure for social policies, and
  • Awareness of the socio-environmental context is essential.

 

Also, there is need to:

  • Recognize the effectiveness of traditional support systems in reducing workloads, providing economic assistance increasing knowledge and offering emotional support;
  • Design and implement national programmes for breast-feeding protection and promotion, e g baby-friendly hospital approaches and training programmes;
  • Form child care centres, work groups, cooperatives or informal networks for sharing tasks;
  • Develop appropriate technologies and improved infrastructure to reduce the demands on women's time and efforts;
  • Ensure that women have access to the resources and the education they need to care for themselves and their families;
  • Strengthen women's rights to property and income, and provide social security for women wherever possible;
  • Provide Job and skills training for the disabled to prevent dependency;
  • Promote family and community organizations that help people to cope with their disabilities; and
  • Enlist international agencies to help refugees and displaced persons meet their basic needs and become self-reliant.

 

Personal information

Name:  Dr. Santosh Kumar Mishra (Ph. D.)

Organization: Population Education Resource Centre (PERC), Department of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension Work, S. N. D. T. Women's University, Mumbai - 400020, Maharashtra, India. (http://sndt.ac.in/)  

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Email: drskmishrain@yahoo.com

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