The ability to access and consume nutritious food is to some extent an outcome of their membership and relationships with other members of society. This is especially true in times of crises. To identify and discuss success stories, challenges and way forward to achieving food and nutritional security, this discussion focuses on social relations and networks for food security and nutrition.
Protracted crises, as described by the latest State of Food Insecurity - SOFI report, affect 22 countries worldwide and pose an ongoing and fundamental threat to both lives and livelihoods, from which recovery becomes progressively more difficult over time.
While many solutions are well known or have been at least partially adopted, there are evident barriers to effective programming that are worth investigating.
Current evidence underlines the importance of the nutritional status of women as a crucial factor in the survival, healthy growth and development of her children. Although it is the subject of less global attention, maternal nutrition is also crucial for women’s own ability to live a healthy life.
The EC demonstrated its strong commitment to 'enhance maternal and child nutrition in external assistance' by adopting a nutrition policy in March 2013. Specifically in the humanitarian context, the Commission’s support is aimed at treating, preventing and alleviating maternal and child undernutrition, to reduce or avoid excess mortality and morbidity, in emergencies. For maternal nutrition in emergencies, the DG ECHO is concerned that there are a number of gaps at policy and practice levels and limited guidance is available, in order to efficiently and effectively address the needs for maternal nutrition.
A one-day technical roundtable on “Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies” was held in Brussels in November 2013, convened by DG ECHO. The meeting brought together key DG ECHO technical staff and partners, agency nutrition focal points, donors and technical experts. The aim of the round table was to discuss the evidence, current practice and issues related to maternal nutrition in emergencies and to suggest priority actions and initiatives required to address these gaps and challenges.
We would like to share with you the report of this event, prepared and facilitated by Emily Mates and Tanya Khara (ENN), composed of 2 parts. (1) The technical background paper, identified a number of gaps in the area of maternal nutrition in emergencies and formed the basis for discussions at the technical roundtable meeting. The review summarised the available literature relating to: women’s particular nutritional vulnerabilities, what the implications of these are for women and their infants, current international guidance on maternal nutrition and what is currently being done in emergency programming. A series of key gaps were highlighted as a result. (2) The meeting report provides an overview of the discussions held at the roundtable of the main issues, gaps and recommendations.
Key recommendations have been made during the technical roundtable, which will require follow-up. We would like to raise some of the issues and recommendations in future events and meetings, and will appreciate the support of our partners in carrying this issue forward.
DG ECHO Policy Officer – Nutrition
From 22 October 2013 to 20 November 2013, the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) hosted the fourth e-discussion of the Community of Practice on Food Insecurity on Protracted Crises. This e-discussion focused on “rights-based approaches to food security in protracted crises,” soliciting the participation of the worldwide FSN Forum community of experts and practitioners. The outcomes will feed into the drafting process of an Agenda for Action for Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises.