Ministers and officials from more than 170 countries have endorsed a Declaration and Framework for Action to tackle hunger and obesity.
A statement by Paul Garwood, World Health Organisation (WHO) Communications Officer and copied to Ghana News Agency on Thursday said in a major step towards eradicating malnutrition worldwide, more than 170 countries had made a number of concrete commitments and adopted a series of recommendations on policies and investments aimed at ensuring that all people have access to healthier and more sustainable diets.
Ministers and senior officials responsible for health, food or agriculture and other aspects of nutrition adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a Framework for Action, which set out recommendations for policies and programmes to address nutrition across multiple sectors at the Second International Conference on Nutrition in Rome.
The conference scheduled for November 19- November 21, 2014 is being organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the WHO to develop a Framework for Action to set out the strategies, policies and programmes that need to be implemented to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition” in line with the likely post-2015 UN development agenda.
The Rome Declaration on Nutrition enshrines the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, and commits governments to preventing malnutrition in all its forms, including hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.
The Framework for Action recognises that governments have the primary role and responsibility for addressing nutrition issues and challenges, in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders-including civil society, the private sector and affected communities.
Building on the Declaration’s commitments, goals and targets, the Framework sets out 60 recommended actions that governments may incorporate into their national nutrition, health, agriculture, education, development and investment plans and consider when negotiating international agreements to achieve better nutrition for all.
FAO Director-General Jos? Graziano da Silva said: “We have the knowledge, expertise and resources needed to overcome all forms of malnutrition.”
“Governments must lead the way,” he said. ?But the push to improve global nutrition must be a joint effort, involving civil society organisations and the private sector.?
The Rome Declaration and Framework for Action, ?are the starting point of our renewed efforts to improve nutrition for all, but they are not the finishing line. Our responsibility is to transform the commitment into concrete results”, Graziano da Silva said.
“We must now redouble our efforts,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video address to participants. “I look forward to learning of the national commitment that each of you will make. In turn the UN system pledges to do all that it can to provide effective support,” he added.
WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, said: “The world’s food system-with its reliance on industrialised production and globalised markets – produces ample supplies, but creates some problems for public health. Part of the world has too little to eat, leaving millions vulnerable to death or disease caused by nutrient deficiencies.
?Another part overeats, with widespread obesity pushing life-expectancy figures backwards and pushing the costs of health care to astronomical heights.”
The Framework lays out effective accountability mechanisms, including monitoring frameworks to track progress as well as nutrition targets and milestones based on internationally agreed indicators.
Signatory countries should achieve specific results by 2025, including existing targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition, and for reducing nutrition-related risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Sustainable food systems are key to promoting healthy diets. Governments are called upon to promote nutrition-enhancing agriculture, by integrating nutrition objectives into the design and implementation of agricultural programmes, ensure food security and enable healthy diets.
The Declaration and the Framework are the fruits of almost a year of intense negotiations involving representatives of FAO and WHO member countries.
Countries recognised that, although important advances have been made in the fight against malnutrition since the first International Conference on Nutrition in 1992, progress has been insufficient and uneven.