Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the conversation. We have covered a lot of territory; however, let me try to summarize some of the issues that have been addressed.
It’s been emphasized that - for the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to achieve longstanding results - we need to be forward thinking and adaptive to the constantly evolving nutrition landscape. Emerging issues include modifications in dietary patterns, urbanisation and the effects of climate change on food availability. We have also heard that these pressures cause the greatest stress to those who are most vulnerable, and that this needs to be considered when designing and implementing policies. Attention has also been drawn to the potential to make significant gains in malnutrition by addressing food waste and post-harvest losses.
A reccurring theme has been the complexity of malnutrition, as well as the need to involve multiple stakeholders. The UNSCN will do its part to support the UN “delivering as one” by helping to strengthen policy coherence, enhancing dialogue and identifying linkages to foster joint nutrition action, partnership, mutual accountability and advocacy on nutrition.
Isaac Bayor from Ghana suggested government departments and institutions be supported in order to build capacity to jointly plan, budget, implement, and monitor nutrition related goals. This would help avoid duplications and would ensure that policies are translated into actions that are routinely monitored, evaluated, reassessed and improved.
Wilma Freire Zaldumbide from Ecuador reminded us of the need to learn from nutrition success stories, such as from Brazil, Peru and Columbia. While solutions need to be context specific, peer-to-peer exchanges are one way to assess how the right policies implemented in the right countries can successfully reduce under nutrition in less than a decade.
On a similar theme, we have heard that nutrition programs must also be designed with and able to inform a wide range of actors. By building the capacities of front-line workers, food vendors and local practitioners, we ensure that individuals are equipped to regulate against unsafe practices, uncover bottlenecks and create a demand for improved nutritional services. Building the knowledge amongst journalists is important in this respect, as the media has an important role to play in amplifying key messages and promoting healthy eating.
Contributors have also reminded us of the need for stronger collaboration between the nutrition and agriculture stakeholders to reshape the global food system for better nutritional outcomes. The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) called for “strengthening sustainable food systems”. The Decade takes that one step further by placing its support for the improvement of diet quality through sustainable food systems at the center of global action.
As our online conversation continues, it would be good to hear more about the roles and responsibilities of the various actors, as you see them. We know the longstanding issues so tell us what commitments you expect from whom to go beyond business as usual. How best, for example, can the Decade support women and girls’ nutrition?
We very much look forward to the next round of comments in the coming few days.