Highlights from the N4G Rio event

On the eve of the Olympic Games, Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO; Panel Member José Graziano da Silva, Director General of FAO; Brazilian Health Minister Ricardo Barros and renowned athletes including Kenyan track star, Tegla Loroupe, gathered in Rio to call for an end to malnutrition by 2030.

Thursday 4th August, Rio de Janeiro – The Nutrition for Growth (N4G) event, hosted by the governments of Brazil, UK, and Japan, called for world leaders to increase financial investments in nutrition and scale up successful strategies. The high-level panellists recognised Brazil’s leadership on tackling undernutrition and reducing child stunting by over 80% in a generation.

The event highlighted a strong narrative shift that the international development and nutrition community is embracing, moving from agriculture to food systems. Tremendous progress has been made in recent years in tackling undernutrition, but it is increasingly being acknowledged that overweight and obesity are also real challenges. On intersectoral needs, education was emphasised in addition to the mainstream agriculture and health arguments.

On the occasion of the event, the Global Panel, which had a strong presence at the event, launched the policy brief Nutrition for Growth II: from Commitment to Action. It identifies key evidence-based policies on nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems to inform commitments at the next N4G summit and beyond. George Turkington, Head of DFID Ethiopia, while mentioning the Global Panel brief, noted that DFID was the largest nutrition-sensitive donor, and had exceeded its 2013 N4G commitments.

video message from the Global Panel member Akinwumi Adesina was also shared at the event. “Stunted children today lead to stunted economies tomorrow” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Director of the African Development Bank, via video message. “Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 25 billion dollars a year because of poor nutrition. At a continental level, Africa loses about 11 percent of its GDP because of poor nutrition. The evidence, therefore, is very clear – boosting nutrition will boost economies.” Adesina also mentioned the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative, and referred to the extensive research produced by the Panel which supports the need to invest in nutrition.

The Panel would like to thank the Gates Foundation, DFID and the Global Health Strategies Brazil for organising this important event, and looks forward to seeing a roadmap to the forward N4G commitment.

Read more about the Nutrition for Growth 2 policy brief

Read “A match against malnutrition at the Rio Olympics” by Jeff Waage

Reposted from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition