Approaching the midpoint of the Nutrition Decade – a time to review and strengthen

As 2020 rapidly approaches so too does the midpoint of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. The second biennial progress report to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) provided an important stock take of progress since October 2017 and paved the way forward for the midterm review which is now underway. This review will set the priorities over the next five years of work to tackle undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight/obesity in order to end malnutrition in all its forms.

The second progress report was presented by Anna Lartey (Director of Nutrition and Food Systems, FAO) and Francesco Branca (Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO) during the CFS46. As well as providing an update on progress, the report outlined the preparatory process for the mid-term review of the Nutrition Decade.

The objective of the mid-term review is to assess and evaluate achievements between 2016 to 2020 in individual policy areas of the ICN2 Framework for Action, and the six action areas of the Work Programme of the Nutrition Decade. The review aims to: (i) highlight specific advances, initiatives and partnerships in nutrition during the first half of the Nutrition Decade, and; (ii) identify the constraints encountered and the actions needed to overcome them during the second half of the Nutrition Decade. Moreover, the mid-term review will revise the living part of the Work Programme as appropriate, including the identification of focus areas for priority action during the second phase of the Nutrition Decade.

This is a moment of looking back and looking forward. There is an urgency for strengthened action, without which we will not achieve the nutrition commitments, goals and targets. To foster an inclusive and comprehensive approach, the mid-term review will be informed by a series of consultations and dialogues that are currently taking place. These consultations and dialogues aim to capture the experiences, progress and challenges faced by Member States, civil society, private sector and UN partner agencies. There is also an opportunity for everyone to contribute through an online e-consultation, which will be convened by the joint FAO/WHO Secretariat of the Nutrition Decade in early 2020. This is a chance to express your thoughts on what actions need to be accelerated or implemented at a larger scale to achieve sustainable nutrition impact.

In the meantime, it’s never too early (or too late) to set SMART commitments for strengthened action during the Nutrition Decade. Many countries pledged their commitments during the recent SUN Global Gathering. These included Côte d'Ivoire’s commitment to support breastfeeding, Nepal to tackling malnutrition, Guatemala to reducing stunting, Kenya to addressing early pregnancies and Philippines to advancing the Nutrition Decade.

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