African leaders reaffirm commitment to nutrition with Abidjan Declaration
Reaffirming commitments to promoting good nutrition and ending malnutrition in all its forms throughout the continent, African Union Member States adopted the Abidjan Declaration. The declaration, which was adopted during high-level talks in Côte d'Ivoire in December 2022 includes a call to action for governments throughout Africa to accelerate investment, implementation and coordination to improve nutrition and food security.
The three-day event which led to the adoption of the declaration was held with the cooperation of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative. The high-level talks on 8 December brought together the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Deputy Chairperson and Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire, the King of Lesotho and his Deputy Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson of Zambia, the Prime Minister of Congo-Brazzaville, the Vice Chairperson of the African Development Bank, and numerous ministries from African Union countries, senior United Nations and donor representatives, national delegations, civil society and the private sector. The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement supported and actively participated in the event's high-level segment as well as technical sessions, alongside other key nutrition stakeholders.
During the event African Union country representatives and technical and financial partners also discussed several important issues related to the fight against malnutrition in Africa such as multisectoral nutrition coordination; nutrition resilience and funding opportunities, governance and partnerships; nutrition data, tools and multisectoral information systems; and the implementation of Nutrition for Growth and food systems commitments.
Much progress has been made in Africa in recent years to tackle malnutrition, but the continent has a long road ahead of it. Malnutrition rates remain high throughout Africa, with low birth weight affecting nearly 14% of infants and nearly 31% of children aged 0–5 years suffering from stunting, according to the 2022 Global Nutrition Report. In addition, anaemia affects more than 40% of women of reproductive age throughout Africa.
In adopting the Abidjan Declaration, participating African Union Member States (most of which have joined the SUN Movement) have committed to building nutritional resilience and food security by strengthening agrifood, health and social protection systems to accelerate human, social and economic capital development. Specific goals include achieving the objectives of the 2014 Malabo Declaration in, by 2025, eradicating hunger, reducing the prevalence of child stunting to 10%, and reducing the prevalence of child underweight to 5%.
The Abidjan Declaration also includes commitments to many other efforts to boost nutrition in Africa, including sustainable agrifood systems, funding for Home Grown School Feeding programmes, the creation of an African Nutrition Coordination Agency to monitor commitments and trace funding, the strengthening of mutual learning and experience sharing among African Union Member States, and the promotion of intracontinental trade and free movement of Africans throughout the continent.
As stated in the declaration, the global nutrition community has pledged to increase investment in Africa to boost nutrition. Tackling malnutrition will require enormous coordination and cooperation throughout Africa and abroad. The SUN Movement also has committed to leveraging its strong multisectoral and multistakeholder networks globally and on the ground in each country in support of the efforts led by African SUN Countries to meet their nutrition goals.
The 2022 theme of nutrition was proposed in 2021 by Côte d'Ivoire President H.E. Alassane Dramane Ouattara and endorsed at the 2022 African Union Heads of State Summit in February.