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Press Release: Experts Call for Global Community Involvement for Better Nutrition

22. May 2014

    Leading experts in food and nutrition called for an inclusive and comprehensive process for the planning and outcomes of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). Campaigners particularly highlighted that any effective outcome must involve the people most affected. The ICN2, to be held 19-21 November 2014 in Rome is the second meeting in a quarter of a century that aims to bridge nutrition, food systems and health in one platform.


    This call came from a side event at the 67th World Health Assembly on Maximizing the potential of the International Conference for Nutrition (ICN2) from all actors and key sectors: What needs to happen? The event, held at the Hotel Intercontinental, Geneva, featured experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the Civil Society Mechanism Working Group on Nutrition, the United Nations System High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, as well representatives from the Geneva Joint Working Group on ICN2.


    FAO’s Director on Nutrition Dr Anna Lartey, co-facilitator of the event, opened by reminding participants that “we need to look at the entire food system, not just what ends up on the plate. Without this we will forever be treating symptoms and will not address prevention.”


    The panel of experts explored ways of ensuring the meaningful participation of all relevant actors in both the preparation of the ICN2 agenda, and in the conference itself.


    “To realize the right to adequate food and sustainably improve nutrition, we need policies that are people centered,” says ICCO Cooperation’s Food and Nutrition expert and Chair of the CSM Working Group on Nutrition, Stineke Oenama. “The only way to do that is through a truly participatory and inclusive process, which prioritize those affected by all forms of malnutrition.”


    Ms Mónica Martínez, Co-Chair of the Geneva Joint Working Group presented the latest stages of preparation for ICN2, including an update on the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action that will result from these discussions. Mr Daniel Míč, Vice Co-Chair of the Geneva Joint Working Group shared how they perceive the collaboration with civil society organizations in the preparation of the ICN2 agenda and in the conference itself. Specifically, they asked participants whether they felt their views were adequately taken up in the 1st round of e-consultations on the Rome Accord and did they see their concerns taken into considerations. Míč was open and interested to hear how civil society is interacting with member states on this issue and what the challenges have been.


    “Access to health care and to adequate and healthy food," observes Msgr Robert Vitillo, Head of the Caritas International Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, "are essential rights for each and every human person and are included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Caritas member organizations are engaged in advocacy to guarantee full enjoyment of these and sees ICN2 as an important milestone to develop effective strategies in this regard within the context of the Post-2015 Agenda.”


    Dr David Nabarro, UN Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition noted that, “the conference is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that nutrition is jointly addressed by the food and agriculture sector and the health sector in ways which put the interest of women at the center.”


    With only seven months to go, the momentum for ICN2 is building with several high level figures adding their voice to the fight against hunger. On Tuesday, FAO announced that Pope Francis will address the conference.


    The event was brought together by the contributions of 10 civil society organizations, including the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and its members World Vision International, Caritas Internationalis and ICCO Coorporation.


    For more information, contact Christine Campeau, ccampeau@e-alliance.ch

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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