FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has 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).
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,” said Graziano da Silva, during an address to the World Health Assembly in Geneva
“ICN2 presents us with a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on nutrition. Let’s not lose this opportunity.”
The meeting will be jointly organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) in November in Rome. Set to take place 19-21 November, ICN2 will be the first global intergovernmental conference to address the world’s nutrition problems in the 21st century.
Heads of state and government, other dignitaries and leaders have been invited to the high-level conference. Pope Francis has already confirmed his participation.
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% of the global population – experience the ‘hidden hunger’ of micronutrient deficiencies, while at the same time, obesity rates are rising rapidly, he said.
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, said the FAO chief.