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FAO urges global commitment to tackle world’s nutrition challenges

High-level FAO/WHO Second International Conference on Nutrition to be held in November in Rome

21 May 2014, Rome/Geneva – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today called on countries to put nutrition high on their national and international agendas, and to take a lead role in the upcoming Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). The meeting will be jointly organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) in November in Rome.

“ICN2 presents us with a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on nutrition. Let’s not lose this opportunity,” said Graziano da Silva during an address to the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Despite some progress in the last 20 years, over 840 million people are still undernourished and 162 million children suffer from stunting. In addition, about two billion people – over 30 percent of the global population – experience the ‘hidden hunger’ of micronutrient deficiencies, while at the same time, obesity rates are rising rapidly.

Graziano da Silva urged governments to “ensure that different voices are heard” in the debate, underlining the benefits of multi-stakeholder participation in the debate on nutrition. He stressed that while Governments have the final say on the policy matters at stake, non-state actors had important contributions to make.

“We believe that multi-stakeholder participation contributes to the debate, strengthens our decisions, and helps generate the political consensus needed to push the nutrition agenda forward, including for the implementation of the Framework for Action we wish to see adopted in November,” explained Graziano da Silva.

ICN2 to put nutrition in the spotlight

Set to take place in Rome 19-21 November, ICN2 will be the first global intergovernmental conference to address the world’s nutrition problems in the 21st century. It is co-organized by FAO and WHO with other UN and international organizations.

The conference seeks to accelerate progress on nutrition through national policies and effective international cooperation by identifying ways and means to overcome obstacles, especially by ensuring that food systems better address nutrition needs. ICN2 should approve a political declaration on nutrition and a framework for action to ensure effective implementation of the commitments made at this high-level meeting.

Heads of state and government, other dignitaries and leaders have been invited to the high-level conference. Pope Francis has already confirmed his participation.

Photo: ©FAO/Paballo Thekiso
The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) will be the first global intergovernmental conference to address the world’s nutrition problems in the 21st century.