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Nutrition at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

  |   SUN Business Network, SUN Donor Network
Millions of children spend their earliest moments starved of the protection and play they need. We can change that. Image: UNICEF/Noorani

Millions of children spend their earliest moments starved of the protection and play they need. We can change that. Image: UNICEF/Noorani

From 17-20 January 2017, around 3,000 global leaders gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum to tackle issues threatening the world today. Davos revolves around the idea that the only way to address big challenges is to talk to all groups in society and all members of the international community. This is multi-stakeholder theory, and the Forum believes it’s as relevant today as it was in 1971 when the first Annual Meeting was held.

This year’s theme “Responsive and Responsible Leadership” calls on leaders to renew their dedication to achieve common goals and drive new initiatives. They are not only accountable to the people who have entrusted them to lead, but must also inspire and help guide the way forward, so that people can imagine—and build—a better future. Gerda Verburg, SUN Movement Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General spoke at a number of nutrition related sessions including an event dedicated to multi-stakeholder initiatives that support country-led action. The session highlighted 5 initiatives, of which the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement was one in addition to:

  • New Vision for Agriculture
  • The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020
  • 2030 Water Resources Group
  • Internet for All

Kenneth C. Frazier of MSD for Mothers (An initiative of the global heathcare company Merck) and Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank Group joined Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Børge Brende of Norway, William Francis Morneau of Canada, and the Host of Africa Leadership Dialogues, Julie Gichuru of KCB TV Kenya, to discuss high-impact health solutions in global financing. During the panel discussion MSD for Mothers announced a $10 million commitment to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child to improve maternal and child health in low- and lower-middle-income countries worldwide through its MSD for Mothers initiative. MSD is the first corporate donor to commit $10 million to the GFF where the funds will be used to scale up high-impact interventions to help women and children.

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)  put the spotlight on issues of urban nutrition at the event titled, “Eliminating malnutrition in all its forms in the face of unprecedented rapid urbanization,” highlighting that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda have both outlined the importance of creating inclusive cities and improving food and nutrition security. And, that they cannot be achieved alone. The event stressed that in order to plan cities for improved nutrition all actors will need to work together  (local and national governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations).

Speakers included:

The event, “From Fork to Farm: Transforming our Food Systems,” brought attention to broken, unsustainable food systems and how this was increasing healthcare costs in both the developed and developing world. The high-level breakfast was organised by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, Royal DSM, Unilever and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.


The world around us is changing at unprecedented speed. At this tipping point, our traditional concepts of society, meaningful employment and the nation state are challenged, and many understandably feel insecure or even threatened.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.


During the event, Jamie Oliver broadcast a session via Facebook live to draw attention to the proper care and nutrition that childrens brains and bodies desperately need during their first thousand days. He is joined by singer/songwriter & UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira, Executive Director of the World Food Programme & SUN Movement Lead Group Member Ertharin Cousin and many more!

One-third of the 3,000 participants came from outside of Europe and North America, while one-third represented stakeholder groups outside business and government, making it the most diverse Davos yet. Helle Thorning-Schmidt,Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children International and former Prime Minister of Denmark and member of the SUN Movement Lead Group is a co-chair of the 2017 Davos forum. Watch below to meet the co-chairs.

Further reading:

2017 Davos, Switzerland

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