800 million people are undernourished, 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, also called hidden hunger, and 2 billion people are overweight or obese. These are just a few numbers showing the importance of the international conference “Policies against hunger” I’ve been invited to facilitate.
These different forms of malnutrition often coexist within the same country or even person – a double burden of malnutrition that non only constitutes a high risk of health for the population but also one of the biggest obstacles for development in the world.
What FOOd systems do we need?
The title of this years’ conference “Policies against hunger” has been “Sowing the seeds for nutrition” with the key question on “What food systems do we need?“. It’s been also a hunt for answers which political changes are necessary to ensure that everybody worldwide has the possibility to consume a healthy diet that meets his or her nutrition needs for an active life. #Policiesagainsthunger is the hashtag in twitter, facebook and instagram.
Opening Adresses by Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture in Germany, Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany and Patricia Flor, Commissioner and Head of the Federal Foreign Office’s Directorate-General for International Order, the United Nations and Arms Control in Germany.
Panel Discussion on stage
Hilal Elver, UN-Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, opened the following session with her Key Note, followed by a Panel Discussion on “Powering Nutrition – bridging sectors: What role for food systems?” with Hilal Elver, Stineke Oenema (Coordinator of the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), Monty Jones (Minister of Agriculture, Forests and Food Security in Sierra Leone), Ann Tutwiler (Director General Bioversity International), Johannes Flosbach (Head of Performance Management Group, Tropical General Investment (TGI) Group of Companies) and Rolf Klemm (Vice President for Nutrition, Helen Keller International).
In the afternoon the conference participants gathered in working groups debating on Diversification, Processing, Women’s Empowerment and Nutrition Education.
Each of the working groups had been facilitated by an expert. The results and debates have been presented the next day on stage by the groups’ rapporteur.
Florence Tartanac, Group Leader Market Linkages and Value Chaines/ FAO, facilitated the working group Processing. Isa Alvarez from the “International Network for Community supported Agriculture” reported.
Debates concerning Women’s Empowerment were facilitated by Marc Wegerif, a food system and women’s land rights expert and later reported on stage by Malyn Ando from the “Asian Pacific Resource and Research Center for Women”.
The working group on Nutrition Education facilitated Ana Islas Ramos from “Nutrition Education and Consumer Awareness Group / FAO” whereas Yatziri Zepeda Medina (Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria) reported the results and debates on stage.
The lively discussions and debates continued in the evening – with a little location change from the working saloons to the Roof Terrace of the International Club in the Federal Foreign Office.
These Questions Are still in my mind:
What is the role of the human right to adequate food to improve nutrition?
What kind of journey now lies ahead of us?
Why is the word “nutrition” only mentioned once in 169 SDG targets? Do we have to intensify the efforts to embed nutrition more broadyl in the SDGs?
Minister Jones mentiones “institutional feeding” as best practice example from Sierra Leone? What else can we learn?
How can the biodiversity of food production be ensured?
What is the role and responsibility of businesses in ensuring high quality food?
And what environment do enterprises need? – more consulting?
Why is it highly important focusing on the empowerment of women and working with a cross-sectoral approach?
The second day of the conference will follow in a new post tomorrow.