Almost 1 billion people are under-nourished across the world. If current trends continue, an estimated 450 million children could suffer from stunting – irreversibly affecting their physical and mental development potential – over the next 15 years. Building resilient communities requires a focus on nutrition. However, despite existing knowledge on ways to tackle malnutrition, policy-makers have yet to integrate nutrition into health, agriculture and food security initiatives
This panel, organised on World Food Day, highlighted the differences that have taken place in the international community in recent years. Nutrition was not at the forefront of concerns when the international community decided to mark the occasion. Today the Commission is taking steps to mainstream nutrition into all its development programmes and it is working on a Communication for an EU-wide policy on nutrition.
The panellists agreed on three core messages.
The European Union recognised the problem early on. The Commission has been a major player in setting up the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) programme adopted by over 30 countries.
Andris Piebalgas, European Commissioner for Development, attended the first meeting of the SUN Lead Group in New Yorkearlier in October and another Lead Group member, Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide, was on the panel.
Another European initiative is expected afterIrelandassumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013.
The panellists underlined the importance of gender, culture and context in the nutrition question. Women are not only responsible for feeding most of the world's children. They also often start families when young and wait until men have finished eating before finishing what is left. As a result, food fortification programmes can obtain results among the males of a community while leaving women undernourished.
Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide, Member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition SUN movement
Francesca Mosca, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa and Horizontal ACP Matters,
Directorate General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid, European
Radhakrishna Krishna Pradan, Program Director, Health, Nutrition and Population Section, Social Development Division, National Planning Commission, Nepal
Paulus Verschurren, Special Envoy Food and Nutrition Security for Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
Indu Capoor, Director, Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awarenesss
Dr Klaus Krämer, Director, Sight & Life, Royal DSM
Moderator: Shada Islam, Head of Policy, Friends of Europe
This High-Level Panel was organized by Concern Worldwide, Development Policy Forum, International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus – IF, Save the Children, United Nations Children's Fund – UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme – WFP