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SUN Lead Group Member and NEPAD CEO calls on African leaders to make tackling malnutrition a top priority

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Representatives from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency joined the African Union (AU) and other partners to commemorate the third Africa Day For Food and Nutrition Security on 31st October in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa.

Held annually since 2010, this year’s theme Ensuring access to safe and nutritious foods, highlighted the need to develop cross-sector platforms in which food and nutrition security stakeholders can discuss solutions and make recommendations on food security issues in Africa, as well as strengthen momentum towards achieving the MDGs, and what could follow the MDGs after 2015.

In his opening remarks, CEO of NEPAD and member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Lead Group, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, said,

“Proven solutions for food and nutrition security challenges already exist and need to be replicated, the era of ‘pilots’ is long gone. The private sector is a valuable partner in the fight against malnutrition whereas civil society remains our most important voice of conscience.”

The occasion brought about renewed efforts to tackle malnutrition as a foundation for advancing development efforts in Africa.  Experts at the event called on the need for policies which will enable the African continent to ensure food and nutrition security for all.

Mr. Mayaki recognized the importance of breaking down barriers between sectors, highlighting the SUN Movement approach as a key platform for moving coordinated action forward.

“By breaking down the barriers that separate different disciplines, SUN galvanizes experts in agriculture, health, social protection, education, and finance etc. making a case that good nutrition can be achieved when all key sectors are brought together in a cohesive plan,” he said.

Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said that the main expected outcome of the event is to get political commitment and adoption of food and nutrition security priorities based on continent, regional and national frameworks.

UNICEF statistics indicate that, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 54 million children under five years of age are suffering from chronic malnutrition and that 20 percent of those in that age group weigh too little for their age.

David Nabarro, Coordinator of UNHTFL on Global Food Crisis, and SUN Movement coordinator, highlighted the importance of agriculture in food and nutrition security and creating stability in the continent.

“[I]t is urgent that there is a focus on the link between agriculture and nutrition, and on ways to increase the impact of agricultural policies on nutritional outcomes,” he said. “This year’s African Day’s theme Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food helps all Africa’s leaders to focus on the decisions that must be made to ensure that food and nutrition security becomes the real engine of equitable and sustainable growth.”

Additional resources on Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security:

  • Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security [Programme]
  • The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (Side event) [Programme]
  • Official Launch of the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa [Programme]
  • Media Advisory
  • Press Release: “Tackling malnutrition a priority for leaders everywhere in Africa” says NEPAD CEO


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