Lawmakers from over 170 countries are urged to push on nutrition commitments

Inter-Parliamentary Union’s meeting comes ahead of Second International Conference on Nutrition in Rome

18 November 2014, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today urged lawmakers from around the world meeting in Rome to play their part in transforming into positive results the commitments to provide healthier diets for all people which governments are expected to adopt at this week's global nutrition conference.

"Improving nutrition requires a collective effort. It requires well-designed laws that improve food systems, ensure healthy diets and strengthen school meals. It also requires adequate public budgets and it calls for strong legal frameworks that consolidate advances and allow us to press ahead," Graziano da Silva said.

The FAO Director-General was speaking at a meeting organized in Rome by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which represents lawmakers from over 170 countries.

The event held under the title "Parliaments for better nutrition" served as a forum for an exchange of views on key nutrition challenges and opportunities ahead of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) which begins in Rome on Wednesday and is scheduled to end on Friday.

More than 90 ministers and hundreds of government officials will attend ICN2 which is organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO). Countries are expected to adopt the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, and a Framework for Action, which set out recommendations for policies and programmes to address nutrition across multiple sectors.

In his address at today's meeting in Rome's municipal town hall, IPU Honorary President Pier Ferdinando Casini, expressed hope that ICN2 "will stir the necessary action among all stakeholders, including parliaments, to devise and implement coherent policies and better coordinated actions to ensure a sustainable approach to nutrition."

Casini described parliaments as "one of the most important actors in driving the ICN2 agenda at the country level". He also said they can review, monitor and supervise government action, including the implementation of policy and legislation related to nutrition, and ensure it is well-delivered.

Casini noted that the outcome of the "Parliament's for better nutrition meeting" would be presented in the form of a statement to ICN2 on the final day of the conference.

During today's meeting the Latin American Parliamentarians network gave the FAO Director-General an award in recognition of his commitment and support for the regional Parliamentarian Front against Hunger. The Front was established in 2009 within the framework of the FAO-supported Hunger-Free Latin America and Caribbean Initiative. The region is the first to have met the hunger target of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) - halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015.

The meeting with the international group of parliamentarians is part of FAO's initiative to involve the participation of a broader group of stakeholders in hunger and nutrition-related issues. Ahead of ICN2, similar meetings have been organized with representatives from civil society and the private sector.

Photo: ©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
Discussions during today's parliamentarian event.