HighLevel Meeting On Scalingup Nutrition Cohosted By Canada Japan

HighLevel Meeting On Scalingup Nutrition Cohosted By Canada Japan

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High-Level Meeting on Scaling-up Nutrition
Co-hosted by Canada, Japan, USAID, and the World Bank
April 24, 2010
Background:
The Governments of Canada and Japan, the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID), and the World Bank co-hosted a
high-level meeting on “Scaling-up Nutrition” during the World Bank-IMF
Spring Meetings. With malnutrition causing the deaths of as many as
three million mothers and young children every year, ministers, heads
of development agencies, and civil society organizations attending the
meeting appealed to governments worldwide to invest more in halving
the rate of malnutrition (MDG 1c).
Objectives:
The primary objective of the meeting was to mobilize buy-in from
country clients and global development partners on an inclusive
approach to country ownership and action for scaling up nutrition
investments for sustainable development. The meeting capitalized on
the current window of political opportunity by bringing together
senior representatives from global partners across many sectors to
define strategic commitments and partnerships for nutrition. The
meeting also offered an opportunity to share the new multi-partner
global Framework for Action for Scaling-up Nutrition. The framework
carries the endorsement of more than 80 multilateral, bilateral,
academic, and civil society agencies and institutions.
Participants:
Senior members of delegations (including ministers of finance) from
client countries with the highest malnutrition burden, high-level
representatives from civil society organizations, development
partners, bilateral donor governments (including G8 members), and the
media participated in the meeting.
Meeting highlights:
Opening the meeting, Robert B. Zoellick President of the World Bank
said “Malnourishment not only means children have to suffer, but it
also makes them less-productive adults. We need to break the vicious
cycle of poverty and malnutrition to give people opportunity and to
achieve sustained economic growth. The new multi-partner Framework for
Action represents a united call to action for this ‘forgotten MDG.’”
(http://streaming3.worldbank.org/asxgen/ext/media/sm10-nutrition-zoellick.wmv).
USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah called on the development
community to use nutrition outcomes and indicators such as stunting
for measuring progress in related sectors such as water and sanitation
and agriculture. In a press release, Dr. Shah said "For too long,
nutrition has been separated from agricultural practices and food
policy. We must strive to make fortified foods more available and step
up proven ways to change women's and young infants’ feeding and caring
behavior, where needed, through community-based programs. The approach
that we're working out today marks a turning point in the way we see
how agriculture and nutrition policy interact."
USAID is working with governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
to develop comprehensive, multisectoral plans to invest in food
security and nutrition. Dr. Shah discussed USAID’s Feed the Future
strategy, describing it as a comprehensive initiative that targets the
causes of hunger and aims to reduce poverty, hunger, and
undernutrition at national scale. (http://streaming3.worldbank.org/asxgen/ext/media/sm10-nutrition-shah.wmv).
Senior officials (including ministers of finance and planning from
Rwanda, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Ethiopia), spoke of the importance of
tackling malnutrition and building country programs to address the
issue. (http://streaming3.worldbank.org/asxgen/ext/media/sm10-nutrition-rwangombwa.wmv).
The Honourable Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, Minister of Public
Finances, Guatemala stressed the use of conditional cash transfers as
a mechanism to address malnutrition in Guatemala.
Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable
Beverley J. Oda stated that “As a leader in micronutrient investments,
Canada welcomes renewed international attention to nutrition as a
development priority. We have been working hard with our global
nutrition partners to build this momentum and will champion nutrition
as part of the maternal and child health initiative at the G8 Summit
in June.”
Josette Sheeran, Executive Director for the World Food Programme spoke
about the "burden of knowledge" that the global community is now faced
with re nutrition in that we know how important good nutrition is for
development and how to combat malnutrition effectively. With 2010
marking the five-year countdown to achieving the 2015 MDGs and
evidence that food prices are rising again in developing countries,
Dr. David Nabarro, Special Representative of UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-Moon for Food Security and Nutrition, said: “Food and nutrition
security is the prerequisite for a decent and productive life and the
achievement of all Millennium Development Goals. It is our collective
responsibility to ensure food and nutrition security for all through
synergy across the full range of sectors. The Scaling Up Nutrition --
or SUN -- Framework has the potential to mobilize all of us behind a
smart new approach for vastly better development outcomes.”
Nobumitsu Hayashi, Deputy Director-General, International Bureau,
Ministry of Finance, Japan, spoke about the Japan Trust Fund for
Scaling up Nutrition Investments, an initiative to build operational
capacities for nutrition interventions in high-burden countries in
order to boost investments through the International Development
Association (IDA). Mr. Hayashi noted that “By addressing the multiple
facets of undernutrition in the youngest children of today, countries
and communities will be stronger and more resilient in the face of
future shocks such as the food, fuel, and financial crises.”
According to Minouche Safik, Permanent Secretary for the U.K.
Department of International Development (DFID), "The development
community dropped the ball on nutrition, but we’ve received a wake-up
call in the last year." She said the global community could no longer
ignore the "burden of evidence that investing in good nutrition is one
of the most cost-effective development interventions we can make." She
also announced the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative
(SAFSNI), which will support work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India,
Nepal, and Pakistan. The joint DFID/World Bank initiative aims to
improve food security and nutritional outcomes across the South Asia
region, which will be accomplished through improving the evidence
base, increasing awareness, and building country-level capacities.
Country delegations from finance, health, planning, agriculture, and
social protection—as well as civil society organizations and bilateral
partners, highlighted achievement and challenges to scaling up
effective approaches to address undernutrition. "Many civil society
groups around the world are thrilled that there is now international
consensus about the most effective strategy to tackle undernutrition,”
said Bread for the World President David Beckmann. “That provides a
solid, politically attractive basis for action."
The new multi-partner global Framework for Action for Scaling-up
Nutrition was described by participants as “historic” in the way the
global nutrition community rallied for the first time around a common
agenda and solutions to the problems of malnutrition. The EU, France,
Germany, and Spain added their enthusiastic voices of support for the
agenda, aligning with the earlier comments from Canada, Japan, USAID,
the Bank and UN partners. Several participants noted that good
nutrition is a basic human right for all children. Nutrition
investments need to target the special window of minus 9 months and 2
years of age for the highest impacts on child mortality, maternal
health, optimal physical and intellectual development of children, and
future economic productivity and growth. Good nutrition is an outcome
of three pillars -- good health (health security), household level
food security, and good child caring practices. Therefore, health
systems strengthening, social safety nets, as well as programs that
empower mothers to care well for their children are critical to
improve nutrition outcomes. A focus on the wider agenda through “nutrition-sensitive
investments” in agriculture, social protection, water and sanitation
and other sectors that will further help to maximize and sustain the
impact of the “nutrition specific investments”.
Noting the level of support, consensus and enthusiasm from all
constituencies present in the room, Graeme Wheeler, Managing Director
at the World Bank closed the meeting with the comment that “this
meeting could not have happened three years ago”. He talked about the
huge progress that has been made over the last few years in terms of
defining the scale of the problem, building the consensus, and the
linkages with other development issues. He ended with the note that
"we have the solutions in our hands", and that there is now
"tremendous opportunity" in front of the development community to act
at scale to address malnutrition, and the Bank is proud to be a part
of it. The meeting ended with a viewing of the newly released video,
Investing in Nutrition: Let’s Grow Together (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yysyFtjcgzE).