Noting that COVID-19 has had major impact on the economy, food systems, and health systems that children and their families rely on, Miriam Shindler, GAIN, introduced the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium, shared information about the Inter-Agency Framework (developed by GAIN, UNICEF, and a variety of other partners), and highlighted several important resources, including the following recommendations from key UN Agencies (UNICEF, WHO, WFP, and FAO) to ensure children have access to good nutrition:
- Safeguard access to nutritious, safe, and affordable diets.
- Invest in improving maternal and child nutrition
- Increase focus on child wasting, including activating and scaling up services where possible
- Expand social protection to safeguard access to nutritious diets
Yannick Foing, DSM, highlighted that governments are increasingly recognizing the critical importance of nutrition in school meal programs and that he believes now is the time to try and help governments to identify solutions for improving school nutrition. By looking to examples of fortification in countries like Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Cambodia, country governments can find successful strategies to adapt for their own contexts.
Dr. Fatima Hachem provided an overview of current global hunger statistics, highlighting that, currently, “3 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet.” Dr. Hachem outlined key opportunities for transforming food systems to better serve the cause of children and to build community participation, including:
- Inclusive procurement and value chains
- Increased food and nutrition education
- Enabling policies, legal, and institutional environments
- Community Engagement