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In times of conflicts, climate change and COVID-19, nutrition matters more than ever before. Marjeta Jager (DDG INTPA) and Gerda Verburg (UN ASG and Scaling Up Nutrition Movement coordinator) will make the case for nutrition, look back to the UN Food Systems Summit in New York and ahead to the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo, reflect on the need for an integrated approach, key achievements made and draw lessons learned from the past programming to inform future investments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected peoples’ lives and livelihoods, leading to an increase of malnutrition at an unprecedented scale. Recent projections suggest that COVID-19-related disruptions could result in an additional 9.3 million wasted and 2.6 million stunted children by 2022. Moreover, this crisis has held up a mirror to food systems across the world and highlighted the existence of shared commonalities and converging effects across biodiversity loss, climate change and human health and nutrition. It has also underscored the key role of nutrition in strengthening people’s immune systems. The need for an integrated approach, addressing various forms of malnutrition remains critical to reverse to recent increases in acute and chronic malnutrition. At such a critical moment, the UN Food System Summit represented a milestone in the Year of Action for Nutrition, elevating nutrition as a key driver for food systems transformation and ensuring links with other global summits and processes including Tokyo’s Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit on 7-8 December. The summit will be a key opportunity to mobilise financing. The EU’s sixth progress report on the EU Action Plan on Nutrition reviews and reflects on the EU’s key achievements during the 2014- 2020 cycle. The lessons learned in the past years present evidence on what works best for improved nutrition is a locally adapted, sustained, multi-sectoral and rights-based approach. While ensuring availability and access to sufficient, safe, healthy and affordable food within our planetary boundaries remains essential for our rapidly growing population, we need to continue simultaneously addressing the broader drivers of malnutrition such as poverty, inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, forced migration or conflict, and to promote an integrated approach to address malnutrition.
Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA)
UN ASG and Coordinator of the SUN Movement
Head of Unit, INTPA F3 Unit, Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries
Antonia Potter Prentice