Accra, Sep 30, GNA – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation will organize the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) from November 19 -21 in Rome to address hunger and malnutrition.
This important global event will gather high-level decision and policy makers as well as technical experts from several countries.
A statement issued by Mohammed Ag Bendech, UN FAO Senior Nutrition Officer and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, said the conference would demonstrate the necessity to increase political awareness and commitment at national, regional and global level for scaling up of nutrition interventions.
It said the event would create the platform for dialogue and opportunity to assemble high-level decision makers and advocates, for greater consideration of nutrition in their political agenda with increased financial resources committed to promoting sustainable nutrition actions.
According to the statement, the first ICN was held in 1992 and brought together representatives from 159 countries, the European Union, 15 UN organisations and 144 non-governmental organisations.
It observed that the first ICN served as awareness raising event to sensitise global leaders on the importance of taking concrete and durable actions to improve nutrition.
It said one of the main outcomes of the event was the elaboration of National Plans of Action for Nutrition strategic documents to guide the programming, implementation, as well as budgeting and resource mobilization of nutrition actions.
The statement said following ICN, several developing countries established national public nutrition institutions or programmes, responsible for the implementation and national coordination of nutrition activities.
"As a result of all these commitments and efforts, countries have made significant progress, such that the prevalence of under-nourishment had decreased from 33.30 per cent in 1990-92 to 23.40 per cent in 2012-14 in Sub-Saharan Africa," it said.
The statement said the levels of stunting and underweight in developing countries had also decreased respectively from 45 per cent to 26 per cent and from 26 per cent to 16 per cent in almost 25 years.
It said with the phenomenon of globalization and modernization, developing countries were experiencing changes in lifestyle and food habits, with over-consumption of energy-dense foods, high in sugar and saturated fats as well as salt and decrease of physical activities.
It said this has led to increasing trends in over-nutrition such as obesity and overweight, while the other forms of malnutrition still persisted.
According to the statement, this complex scenario needed to be seriously considered with critical actions to curb the trends.
It said the ICN2 would also deliberate on the role of agriculture, food systems and social protection, as well as right to food, as important contributors to good nutrition.
“Considering the trends of malnutrition worldwide and efforts to create awareness, various global initiatives and movements have been initiated, such as the UN Secretary General Zero Hunger Challenge, the Scaling up Nutrition Movement and the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger,” it said.
“Since ICN2 is a very important event to foster nutrition agenda, all stakeholders should put their efforts together to make it successful.”
It said FAO is actually providing assistance to countries to better prepare for the conference, adding that as part of it efforts to support African countries and stakeholders and to share information on ICN2.
The FAO Africa Regional Office will organize a workshop in October to sensitize the media personnel in Ghana on reporting globally on Nutrition and more especially on the ICN2.