Nutrition at the 68th World Health Assembly
From the 18th to 16th May 2015, the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The event brought together World Health Organization (WHO) Member States and saw key milestones for nutrition towards achieving the WHA 2025 Global Targets. These include the approval of two resolutions on nutrition and agreed indicators to measure nutrition among mothers, babies and young children.
“The emerging agenda has been further shaped by last year’s international conference on nutrition, which addressed the health consequences of both undernutrition and over-nutrition. That conference also underscored the impact of climate change on food security and nutrition.” – Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization at the 68th World Health Assembly
Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Action approved
Delegates approved a resolution endorsing the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a Framework for Action which recommend a series of policies and programmes across the health, food and agriculture sectors to address malnutrition. Governments had previously agreed both documents at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), organized by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in November 2014.
The Health Assembly called upon governments to implement commitments to make policy changes and investments aimed at ensuring all people have access to healthier and more sustainable diets. They requested that WHO report back on progress with implementation every 2 years. Delegates also referred to ongoing discussions in New York on a UN General Assembly resolution to welcome the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a proposal to declare ‘ten years of sustained action in multiple sectors to improve nutrition’.
Indicators agreed to measure nutrition among mothers, babies and young children
Member States agreed a set of indicators to monitor progress for global nutrition targets set in 2012 when the WHA endorsed a comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition. The decision called upon Member States to begin reporting on most indicators from 2016, and others from 2018. They recommended a review of the global nutrition monitoring framework in 2020.
Read the full report by the Secretariat – Maternal, infant and young child nutrition: development of the core set of indicators
Read the News Release about the frameworks and indicators approved at World Health Organization
About the World Health Assembly
The WHA is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHA is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by an Executive Board. The main functions of the WHA are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
Learn more about the 68th WHA at the World Health Organization
Side event with GAIN | #FutureFortified
A side event was organised by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) under the title Food Fortification: A global Health Tool to Help End Hidden Hunger. The event was held on 25 May 2015 and included welcome remarks by Marc Van Ameringen, Executive director of GAIN. Francesco Branca, Director, Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organisation gave a speech about the fortification of staples and condiments as a proven intervention to improve health. The event was complimented with a case study from Bangladesh and a panel discussion.
The event was a precursor to the #FutureFortified Summit to be held between 9th and 11th September 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania.
“Food fortification cuts across these four processes: it requires timely and effective engagement of key actors, adequate legislations, feasible standards and implementation arrangements and proper investments from multiple sources. Many countries in the SUN Movement have a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder platform in place. There is consensus among SUN Government Focal Points on the importance of engaging all actors, but, how to do that successfully remains a challenge.” – Patrizia Fracassi, Senior Nutrition Analyst and Strategy Advisor, SUN Movement Secretariat
Learn more about the WHA event at GAIN
Learn more about the #FutureFortified Global Summit on Food Fortification
About the WHA 2025 Global Targets
These global targets were endorsed for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition in the 2012 World Health Assembly Resolution 65.6. The targets are vital for identifying priority areas for action and catalysing global change. The set of six core global nutrition targets aim to, by 2025:
- achieve a 40% reduction in the number of children under-5 who are stunted (low height-for-age)
- achieve a 50% reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age;
- achieve a 30% reduction in low birth weight;
- ensure that there is no increase in childhood overweight;
- increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months up to at least 50%;
- reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5% (low weight-for-height),
Learn more about the WHA 2025 Global Targets.