SUN Movement Coordinator: “Improved nutrition is a maker and marker of development that needs collaboration and investment”
SUN Movement Coordinator, Gerda Verburg, participated in the National Food and Nutrition Summit in Lusaka during her visit to Zambia, which has been a member of the SUN Movement since December 2010. The conference, focused on the theme “Investing in Food and Nutrition for Accelerated National Development – Walk the Talk for Nutrition”, and brought together a number of participants from government ministries and agencies, development organisations, private sector and civil society.
The Summit objective was to translate the increase in political and multi-stakeholder will and commitment to food and nutrition security, into tangible measurable multi-sectoral actions for accelerated national development. As an outcome of the Summit, the participants agreed on presenting the consensus statement of the National Food and Nutrition Summit 2018.
Stakeholders from various sectors affirmed that a multi-sectoral approach is necessary to alleviate malnutrition in Zambia and to promote food sustainability for healthy generations to come. The multi-sectoral approach calls for the interlinking of different sectors such as health, education, social protection and agriculture to combat malnutrition successfully.
During her intervention at the Summit, the SUN Movement Coordinator stressed the need to focus of funding from the domestic budget to get the best possible impact at the grassroots level. Zambia has adopted a multi-sectoral approach to food and nutrition as supported and encouraged by the SUN Movement. “The first and foremost important thing is the political leadership. You will not solve the nutrition challenges if there is no political will. Improving nutrition is a matter of political will and in Zambia there is room for the government to step up”.
Applaud the consensus statement on #nutrition of #Zambia. Promising outcome of the National Food and Nutrition Summit in which I participated. I encourage and invites players: ‘please, get your act together and walk the talk’. pic.twitter.com/0Avg5QU1xb
— Gerda Verburg (@GerdaVerburg) May 16, 2018
In the margins of the National Food and Nutrition Summit, the SUN Movement Coordinator met with the Vice President, Inonge Mutukwa Wina, and the Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya. Both of them emphasised that nutrition is a national priority for the government across all sectors. They agreed on the proposal to have a high-level political SUN focal point with convening power, who will work shoulder to shoulder with the existing technical. During the meeting the Coordinator highlighted how important government leadership is to ensure the investment from the domestic budget is sufficient to overcome the high incidence of stunting in children. Gerda Verburg, stressed the importance of the multi-sectoral approach to better fight malnutrition: “improved nutrition is a maker and marker of development requiring a coherent and multi-sectoral approach”.
The SUN Movement Coordinator had also fruitful meetings with the established SUN Networks in Zambia: UN Network; SUN Business Network; Civil Society Network; and the Donor Network.
Whilst in Zambia, Ms. Verburg took part in the signing ceremony of The First 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme (MCDP) – Phase II, Zambia’s five-year flagship stunting reduction programme 2018-2022. The First 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme (MCDP) is a collective effort by Government and development partners to improve maternal and child nutrition outcomes with the support of the SUN Movement. She also helped to launch The Good Food Logo, a joint initiative of the government of Zambia and the SUN Business Network. The logo is guided by a set of nutrition criteria, which has undergone extensive scrutiny and developed by a set of technical experts from government (National Food and Nutrition Commission, Food and Drug authority and Zambia Bureau of standards), Nutritionists, Academia and Science with input from private sector
“I was impressed by the drive of all players to collaborate end create impact. If all actors walk their talk, we will soon see a decrease of stunted children and the anemia”
Gerda Verburg, SUN Movement Coordinator
Nutrition in Zambia
Undernutrition in Zambia is a major public health issue resulting in high maternal and child mortality as well as a critical development issue for the country. Although Zambia is one of the “early riser” countries of the SUN movement, the nutrition agenda remains largely driven and supported by the cooperating partners active in the health sector. At 40 per cent, the proportion of Zambian children who are stunted remains well above the average for African countries with a similar national income. The prevalence of anaemia is high, affecting one in two children and one in three women of reproductive age. 60 per cent of people live below the poverty line and the average household diet is over-reliant on maize, the principal staple.
• Consensus Statement of the National Food and Nutrition Summit 2018
• Zambia Country profile (2017): English | Français | Español
• Zambia country website: English | Français | Español
• Fighting malnutrition in Zambia – Zambia Daily Mail
• Zambia National Food and Nutrition Summit – Food Security Portal