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Rio Nutrition for Growth – Global Leaders, Olympians and Celebrity Chefs Vow to Fight Malnutrition

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

School children, some of them sponsored, race home after class. Various photos of children in Nyamagabe ADP in southern Rwanda, which opened in 2000. It is funded by World Vision US. Nyamagabe was hard hit during the genocide, especially the nearby Murambi Vocational School where as many as 50,000 perished in a day. World Vision began relief efforts in Nyamagabe shortly after the genocide ended which morphed into effective recovery. Today, through child sponsorship, economic development including Vision Fund, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, and health care, Nyamagabe is healing from the scars of the genocide. Every activity taken on by World Vision had an element of peace building and reconciliation as well. Pastor Jonathan Gahima (age 58), who provided space in his church for World Vision’s first work in the community in 1994 puts it this way. “World Vision has done many things in this community, but to me as a pastor, the most important thing was healing people’s hearts.” Summary: Transformation - the goal of World Vision’s work. Sometimes transformation is physical - a school with brand new classrooms, sturdy desks, and paint still wet to the touch. Sometimes transformation happens within groups - a community that learns to work together toward a common goal. But perhaps the most intoxicating transformation of all happens within individuals - when hearts change from hopeless to happy. When hardened hearts go forth free. Reporting and writing by Kari Costanza, photos by Jon Warren. Project name: Nyamagabe Sponsorship Management Project (173092) Funded by: United States

On 4 August 2016, on the eve of the 2016 Olympic opening ceremony, Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO; José Graziano da Silva, Director General of FAO; Brazilian Health Minister Ricardo Barros and renowned athletes including Kenyan track star Tegla Loroupe gathered at the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) event in Rio to call  for an end to malnutrition by 2030. The event was hosted by the governments of Brazil, United Kingdom, and Japan and called for world leaders to increase financial investments in nutrition and scale up successful strategies.

The event brought together heads of UN agencies, government officials, foundations, and civil society representatives from around the globe. It was an opportunity to review and highlight progress made since the first N4G summit in London in 2013, where governments, donors, civil society and the private sector pledged $23billion and made commitments to take urgent action on nutrition. Following this first N4G summit, governments committed to meet at the Rio Olympics, report on progress and make further commitments to help bring about an end to malnutrition.

“Stunted children today lead to stunted economies tomorrow. Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 25 billion dollars a year because of poor nutrition. At a continental level, Africa loses about 11 percent of its GDP because of poor nutrition. The evidence, therefore, is very clear – boosting nutrition will boost economies.”, Akinwumi Adesina, Director of the African Development Bank, via video message.

As they shared best practices and acknowledged recent progress, speakers emphasized the many challenges ahead to curb malnutrition, especially in the first 1000 days of life. Speakers and civil society present in the room called for a global commitment meeting in 2017 bringing together donor and high-burden countries, civil society and other stakeholders to expand resources and political will towards ending malnutrition worldwide.

Summary of panels

  • Opening/ Political panel – made the case for greater investment and commitments by global leaders citing best practices that demonstrate it is possible to reduce the burden of malnutrition and meet global targets.
  • Panel 1 – featured best practices in tackling malnutrition while calling for future actions and commitments to address this global challenge.
  • Panel 2 – focused on food systems and nutrition sensitive actions towards meeting UN’s SDGs (2016-2030) and realizing the vision of the Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025).
  • Panel 3 – emphasized the global responsibility of taking action on nutrition, galvanizing research capacity, advocacy towards evidence based interventions and strong political leadership.

Video message from Akinwumi Adesina, Director of the AfDB, shared at the event 

The Road Ahead:

  • The N4G initiative was acknowledged as a central part of a broader global platform that should drive increased political commitments towards nutrition and food security goals, hoping to achieve meaningful impact by the N4G event planned for Tokyo in 2020.
  • The next 12 months will see a number of important global gatherings that will strengthen this process, such as the official launch of the Decade of Action during UNGA in September, and several other events leading up to the G7 meeting in Italy.
  • The sequence of global gatherings, which kicked off in Rio, should be a catalyzing inclusive process bringing together countries and other stakeholders around a shared agenda and measurable global goals.
  • A joint official communiqué by the organizers of the Rio N4G event will be publicized shortly, acknowledging the global nature of the double burden of malnutrition and the need for stepping up global leadership on this issue. In the document, the governments of Brazil, UK and Japan welcome an opportunity in 2017 for countries and international leaders to make SMART commitments on nutrition.

Read Margaret Chan’s Opening Remarks

Watch out this new film on the importance of the first 1,000 days debuted at the event – ‘One girl, two lives’

Read the following blogs on the 2016 Rio N4G event:

Read the Communiqué from the Brazil, Japan and UK Governments following the event “Joint communiqué of the gvoernments of Brazil Japan and the United Kingdom” (English and Portuguese)

Learn about the 2013 N4G event

Download the 2013 Global Nutrition Compact 

Nutrition for Growth II Policy Brief 

On the occasion, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, funded by DFID UK and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched its sixth policy brief: Nutrition for Growth II from commitment to action: Recommendations to improve nutrition through agriculture and food Systems. The brief contains 10 evidence-based recommendations to show how policymakers in the N4GII process can make effective commitments to nutrition-sensitive actions which will help to achieve the Nutrition for Growth Compact. These recommendations have been drawn from a series of rigorous, scientific analyses conducted by the Panel, following its creation in 2013 as one of the commitments from the first Nutrition for Growth Summit, in London.


Download Nutrition for Growth II brief 

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