13 November 2014 / Action Contre la Faim Canada strongly welcomes the first ever Global Nutrition Report, launched yesterday.
By providing a never seen before picture of global- and country-level progress in all forms of nutrition, the report marks a historical turning point in the fight to end child malnutrition. Malnutrition is a clear global challenge for everyone everywhere – it affects citizens of every country in the world, from the least developed to the most.
In recent years this worldwide public health crisis has been rising to the top of the international agenda. At the Nutrition for Growth High Level Event in London last year, nutrition received a much-needed exposure boost. Governments, civil society and business acknowledged the urgent need to strengthen commitments to improve nutrition and the Global Nutrition Report was agreed as one of the ways to ensure commitments grow and are monitored, and progress is properly tracked.
ACF-Canada has long championed data collection as a way to highlight the persistence of global malnutrition. For five years ACF-Canada has led the Global Nutrition Cluster’s SMART initiative, which uses nutrition survey methods to gather up-to-date and accurate statistics about hunger in disaster-affected regions. ACF’s field teams have trained over 700 people in 25 countries in SMART methodologies, and now welcomes the creation of this global nutrition platform to operationalize the information collected.
The Global Nutrition Report should now provide further impetus towards securing a dedicated nutrition goal in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
It is no secret that nutrition was largely neglected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Global Nutrition Report is right to underline this must be corrected across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to be agreed in September 2015.
Improving people’s nutrition is central to attaining sustainable development. The Global Nutrition Report shows that efforts to improve people’s nutrition will contribute to progress in poverty, health, education, gender, and employment – good nutrition is the foundation of human wellbeing.
The Report affirms the call of ACF and others that new 2030 levels of ambition on undernutrition should be agreed. We want to see a Sustainable Development Goal with an undernutrition target to reduce the number of malnourished children under five years of age affected by stunting and wasting by at least 50 per cent as the absolute minimum that states should agree.
The Global Nutrition Report offers evidence that new targets for 2030 could be significantly more ambitious. With further commitments and political leadership accelerated progress can be made. For example, globally, it is estimated that 19 million children under five suffer from severe wasting – yet we know how to treat this form of acute malnutrition. Treatment programmes need to be massively scaled and that means having the evidence of coverage – who can or cannot access treatment. The Global Nutrition Report also makes clear that the drivers to preventing undernutrition, from clean water and sanitation to adequate food, are known and the evidence—base of solutions are more certain than ever before.
The existence of this Global Nutrition Report means no one can say the world does not know the scale of the problem or how to address it. The Report is a further wake-up call that everyone should make the fullest contribution they can to ending malnutrition.
The report has been released simultaneously with infographics to illuminate the global nature of serious malnutrition. In addition, visual media has been developed to show the persistence of missing data, which continues to plague commitments to nutrition-related interventions. The Global Nutrition Report represents an inaugural effort to combine information about malnutrition on a single platform, and sound a worldwide call to action to bring about lasting change.
The next big opportunity to commit to the action needed to end the scourge of undernutrition comes within days. On 19 November representatives of more than 190 nations will gather in Rome for the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) – the first meeting of its kind for more than 20 years. They must commit to a set of urgent actions. These actions would allow future editions of the Global Nutrition Report to reveal whether leaders have understood, in deed as well as words, that deaths and suffering from undernutrition can be ended in our lifetime.
Note: Action Against Hunger | ACF International endorsed the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact at the Nutrition for Growth High Level Event in June 2013 which promised “an authoritative annual global report on nutrition” and contributed to the resulting Global Nutrition Report as a member of the Data Access Group as well as giving feedback on early drafts.