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King Letsie III of Lesotho hosts a breakfast meeting to call for more investment in nutrition

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On 26 June 2014, His Excellency King Letsie III of Lesotho hosted a breakfast meeting, on the margins of the 23rd Ordinary Session of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The main objective of the event was to advocate to and sensitize Africa’s policy makers, at the highest level, to commit to invest more in nutrition.

Participants included several Heads of State, Ministers, Parliamentarians and other government officials from AU Member states, civil society and many UN agencies. Opening remarks came from His Excellency Dr. MustaphaSidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission who drew their attention to the importance of improved nutrition for socio-economic development of Africa.

Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission introduced the subject for discussion and implored African Leaders, policy makers and program people to employ a multi-sectoral approach to nutrition, by addressing all the socio-economic determinants of malnutrition. Mr. Franco Wandabwa, the Africa Advocacy Director for Save the Children International stressed the commitment of Civil Society to support these efforts.

David Nabarro, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition and Coordinator of the SUN Movement provided remarks on behalf of UN Organizations. His speech centered on three main points

  • Paying attention to nutrition by addressing both under- and over-nutrition
  • Highlight the increasing number of African countries that are joining the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, by which the leaders of these countries are pledging to take greater action to improve nutrition
  • Having nutrition sensitivity into all government policies, including those on agriculture, gender, water and sanitation and social protection.

King Letsie III confirmed his acceptance of the assignment as African Nutrition Champion and assured all those present that he will do everything possible to ensure issues related to nutrition security remain firmly on Africa’s development agenda. In his concluding remarks, King Letsie III called for a paradigm shift from viewing malnutrition and hunger as solely a health problem, to envisioning these as multi-sectoral problems, the solution of which requires collaboration and linkages among the work of different sectors.

The breakfast was followed by a press conference during which the King addressed the media.

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