By Mohammed Kandi
Twenty two years after the first ministerial-level International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) was introduced to address issues of malnutrition and the likes towards achieving global food security, the second edition of the conference holds tomorrow.
The conference, which is slated for 19th to 21st of November 2014, at FAO Headquarters in Rome, was organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Also, information obtained from FOA website disclosed that organisers of the ICN2, FAO and WHO have promised to tackle issues of malnutrition head on. This followed the two main outcome documents of the previous conference which are the Rome Declaration on Nutrition: a political commitment document, and the Framework for Action: a technical guide for implementation.
However, in apparent support for ICN2 and palpable quest for nutritional food in Africa, Mr. Kofi Annan, Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former UN Secretary-General said preparatory to the conference that “Governments must urgently adopt the right policies and mobilize adequate resources to scale up food and nutrition security, especially in developing countries.”
Similarly, the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, talked about the importance of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and emphasized the need to consider nutrition as a “human right” and the “duty of states and governments”, and to guarantee this right for “life, communities and humanity.”
An internationally-recognized culinary innovator and advocate for food and hunger issues, Chef José Andrés said, “we need a new policy framework—for the government, the private sector, NGOs and individuals like me—to make sure that nutrition is at the very top of the agenda.”
Sid Ahmed Ferroukhi, Algeria’s Minister of Fisheries and Fish Resources championed ICN2 for the complex nutrition issues it will address.
“This initiative is very important because I believe that everyone is now aware of the importance of qualitative aspects of consumption,” he said, noting that food security is not only a quantitative but a qualitative issue.
“Nowadays there are two extremes. On the one hand, people experience malnutrition from eating too much poor-quality food. On the other hand, there are many people who are unable to meet their basic nutritional requirements. We should strive to achieve convergent consumption models that can handle basic nutritional requirements, while simultaneously ensuring food quality.”
Meanwhile, the second ICN is well aligned with the zero hunger challenge in its vision to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by improving diets, thereby raising levels of nutrition and to create a more sustainable, equitable food system.