A new report calls for governments and companies to join forces to tackle global malnutrition, saying that achievement of the nutrition-related UN Sustainable Development Goals requires leveraging the resources of firms, financiers and shareholders, to work with civil society stakeholders to support the nutrition priorities of governments.
The report comes from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the USCIB Foundation – the educational arm of the United States Council for International Business. It was prepared in follow-up to roundtable of experts in global health policy held last October in New York.
"The future of food is one of the most critical economic and human development challenges of our time, and new solutions are urgently needed to tackle all forms of malnutrition," said USCIB Foundation President Peter Robinson (who is also president and CEO of USCIB). "It cannot be tackled by government or business acting alone. Business is open to doing more and better but we need stronger dialogue and partnerships with governments, NGOs and other public-sector agencies to do that."
The report was launched today in Geneva alongside key World Health Organization (WHO) meetings aimed at promoting adolescent nutrition.
"Nations cannot achieve the SDGs without engaging the private sector," said GAIN Executive Director, Lawrence Haddad. "But to ensure that engagement is positive, governments need to be proactive, businesses need to be responsible and incentivised. Dialogue, transparency and impact assessment need to pervade their alliances to ensure they have positive effects and no negative effects on the nutrition status of all, especially those most vulnerable".
Haddad and Robinson presented a draft set of Guiding Principles of Engagement developed by a group of 20 public-sector representatives at the October roundtable. These representatives challenged themselves on how best to get governments and industry to work together to build pro-nutrition food and beverage markets, in order to combat malnutrition and help achieve the SDGs.
Nations cannot achieve the SDGs without engaging the private sector. But to ensure that engagement is positive, governments need to be proactive, businesses need to be responsible and incentivised.
Global food and agriculture constitute a USD 7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40% of the working population in most countries. The report calls for much more openness and engagement in removing obstacles to foster this cooperation with greater focus on doing good together.
The report, "No More Missed Opportunities: Advancing Public-Private Partnership to Achieve the Global Nutrition Goals", was prepared with Wilton Park, a leading host of critical development dialogues.