Accelerating progress against malnutrition at Rio 2016

London, 11 August 2016 - 

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro provided a platform for raising the issues of malnutrition and hunger.

Here are some of the highlights.

On the eve of the Olympic Games, Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO); José Graziano da Silva, Director General of  the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Brazilian Health Minister Ricardo Barros and renowned athletes including Kenyan track star Tegla Loroupe gathered in Rio to call for an end to malnutrition by 2030. The event was hosted by the governments of Brazil, UK, and Japan and called for world leaders to increase financial investments in nutrition and scale up successful strategies. The high-level panellists recognized Brazil’s leadership on tackling undernutrition, reducing child stunting by over 80% in a generation, and increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates from 2% to 39%.

Shawn Baker, Director of Nutrition at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) said, “Brazil’s achievement is an inspiration to low- and middle-income countries throughout the world.” In a video message shared at the event, Akinwumi Adesina, Director of the African Development Bank (AfDB) reiterated that “stunted children today lead to stunted economies tomorrow.”

A new film on the importance of the first 1,000 days debuted at the event. The film is one of the first assets of a ‘nutrition narrative’ project led by MC Saatchi and Weber Shandwick jointly funded by the BMGF and the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The next phase of the project will focus on helping local advocates adapt and integrate global communications products into national nutrition campaigns.

The website was launched – this site houses now in one place the commitments made in 2013, accountability reports like the Global Nutrition Report (GNR), the nutrition investment framework, and the new Action scorecard which assess progress by key donors on their N4G1 pledges. The website will be the site to watch for the roadmap of key nutrition events from now through the anticipated commitment moment in 2017. Events highlighted on the N4G2 road coming up soon include the September launch of the Decade of Action on Nutrition at the General Assembly of United Nations (UNGA) and a summit to be hosted by Jim Kim on Early Childhood Development and stunting at the World Bank’s Annual Meetings in October.

The governments of Brazil, Japan and the UK have agreed a trilateral cooperation on nutrition at Nutrition for Growth event hosted by Brazil’s Minister of Health, Ricardo Barros, in Rio de Janeiro last week.

A joint communique issued by the three countries said the Minister of Health of Brazil, Ricardo Barros hosted the second Nutrition for Growth event ‘Accelerating progress against malnutrition with actions to promote access to healthy food for all’ at Casa Brazil in Rio.
“This event was part of a trilateral cooperation on nutrition with George Turkington, Director, Department for International Development (DFID), and Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Office the United Kingdom and H.E. Kunio Umeda, Ambassador of Japan to Brazil participating. The event highlighted the determination of all three countries to continue to act on malnutrition at home and abroad.”

The full communique is below:

Four young girls playing ball and smiling

Sport makes everyone happy! Young girls playing ball and laughing. © GAIN

Nutrition for Growth 2013

Those present recognized the Olympic and Paralympic games as the considerable opportunities for reminding us of the importance of tackling malnutrition for human security and reaffirmed their commitments made at the first Nutrition for Growth summit. They acknowledged the progress made since the initial summit which secured £2.7 billion in new financial commitments and the compact which brought commitment to action by over 100 stakeholders from governments, business and civil society. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Nutrition for Growth Target of preventing 20 million cases of stunting by 2020 and saving the lives of 1.7 million children. They expressed concern that the progress with some commitments had not been reported on and that it was challenging to track progress against others. They reiterated that all future commitments should be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound (SMART).

Nutrition for Growth 2016

On the road to 2016, led by Brazil, all three governments recognised the importance of addressing malnutrition in all its forms and the need continue to act on undernutrition whilst also tackling obesity. Brazil’s successful experience on reducing hunger, child wasting and stunting and its current initiatives on tackling overweight and obesity through intersectoral strategies oriented the continuity of Nutrition for Growth. This experience stresses the importance of social and economic public policies, supported by international agencies and civil society and oriented by the global commitments on nutrition.

Brazil, the UK and Japan highlighted their own actions and future commitments on nutrition:

Brazilian Initiatives

The UK and Japan congratulated Brazil on the enormous progress made in reducing stunting in the country and their removal from the FAO hunger map in 2014. They acknowledged that success in Brazil was down to sustained political commitment and the role of integrated public policies to address food insecurity and malnutrition with active participation of civil society.

Brazil highlighted that, in face of inadequate diets and their impact on health and nutrition outcomes, as obesity and non-communicable diseases, Brazil has guided food and nutrition education by its innovative Food Guide, which incentives the consumption of unprocessed and minimally processed foods and encourages natural, local and culturally accepted foods. They also highlighted the achievements on the promotion of breastfeeding and the national action on the multiple burden of malnutrition through the purchase of healthy foods for schools and other public institutions, which annually corresponds to the equivalent of over US$600 million. All parties welcomed the launch of the Brazilian led Global Network of Institutions of Learning, Research and Extension on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security (NutriSSAN).

UK initiatives

Brazil and Japan welcomed the UK commitment to improve the nutrition of 50 million individuals by 2020 going beyond their original Nutrition for Growth commitments.  The UK highlighted a particular emphasis on leaving no-one behind in their international action on nutrition specifically addressing the nutritional needs of women and girls. They also highlighted their domestic action on obesity including the recently announced sugar drinks levy to tackle childhood obesity.

Japanese Initiatives

Brazil and the UK welcomed Japan’s international leadership on nutrition including at the recent G7 Ise-Shima summit which encouraged G7 to think about global malnutrition from several perspectives such as health, agriculture, and food security. This resulted in the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration, the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health, the Ise-Shima vision for action on food security and nutrition, and the G7 Niigata Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting Declaration.

All parties welcomed Japan’s progress with its own Nutrition for Growth commitment in the form of the establishment of Nutrition-Japan Public-Private Platform which intends to improve the business environment to support the efforts of Japanese companies for tackling malnutrition in developing countries.

Japan highlighted its domestic action to determine the Third Basic Program for Shokuiku Promotion. Japan also highlighted its continuous effort to address global malnutrition both at policy level and project level through the opportunities such as the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in August, the G7 International Symposium on Food Security and Nutrition in October, and Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games in 2020.

Decade of Action

All parties welcomed the announcement of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. They shared the view that it presents an opportunity to galvanise new and ambitious financial and policy commitments in line with the ICN2 Framework for Action on Nutrition, to achieve the SDGs and World Health Assembly Targets. They emphasised the need for the Decade to be open and inclusive, drawing on existing initiatives.

Future commitment making moment

Brazil, Japan and the UK stressed their collective engagement to acting on the double burden of malnutrition. Within the Decade of Action and ICN2 follow up, we would welcome an opportunity in 2017 for governments and other stakeholders to set new SMART financial and policy commitments for action to strengthen national capacity and public policies.



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