From November 19 to November 21, 2014, ministers from 193 countries met in Rome for the first time in 22 years to tackle malnutrition.
At the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), individuals ranging from Melinda Gates to Pope Francis to Canada’s Lois Brown, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, discussed the plight of malnutrition and called for global action.
ICN2 highlighted the existence of many forms of malnutrition including stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight, and obesity. Conversations revolved around vital topics such as the need to strengthen food security, improve nutrition and micronutrient diversity and focus on the quality and quantity of food.
While these conversations and commitments made at ICN2 are encouraging, they are voluntary. As part of this movement, Action Contre La Faim (ACF) urges politicians to ensure these commitments lead to concrete action and real change. This means the implementation of an effective follow-up process, a clear timeline to reach these objectives, and the creation of targets and indicators to measure and monitor this progress.
November has been an important month for nutrition. The Global Nutrition Report released in early November provided a never seen before picture of global-and country-level progress in all forms of nutrition.
The 15th Francophonie Summit will begin on November 28 where Prime Minister Stephen Harper will join discussions on the topic of “Women and Youth: Vectors of Peace and Actors in Development”. This Summit once again has the potential to underscore the importance of nutrition in development. Prime Minister Harper has noted that he is looking forward to raising maternal, newborn and child health” in these discussions. This may be the next big opportunity to commit to taking action.
ICN2 has led to the declaration of a Decade of Action on Nutrition. We must maintain the impetus and momentum following ICN2 and translate the commitments made at ICN2 and discussions in various forums to take action and create real change.