G20: The critical role of nutrition in global development


The G20 countries are facing multiple, interrelated public health challenges that threaten to further disrupt the achievement of the Sustainable Development Agenda. A key challenge is that our present food systems fail to provide diets that are healthy, affordable, and sustainable for three billion people. Their transformation is key to resolving such challenges. Despite their universal importance and their worsening state, insufficient recognition is given to food system transformation – both internationally and within governments. Actions are integral to reverse this profound failure of policy, through priorities to enable change, and to address systemic inhibitors to progress. This crucial step would reinvigorate progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals, for example on those relating to hunger, child development, health and wellbeing, equity, poverty and economic growth, and planetary health.

The G20 meeting in New Delhi in 2023 offered an important opportunity for world leaders to demonstrate their vision and leadership by giving much greater priority to healthy diets and nutrition moving forward. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition had the opportunity to highlight the role of nutrition in global development with an essay authored by Prof Sandy Thomas and Prof Patrick Webb for the monographic book Accelerating Global Health: Pathways to Health Equity for the G20.

The book explores several public health challenges and the initiatives being undertaken to address them through sixteen essays that offer both country-specific studies and regional and global perspectives. These essays illuminate the issues pertaining to the state of public health, including emerging infectious diseases, access to vaccines and drugs, and environmental pollution.  Accelerating Global Health: Pathways to Health Equity for the G20 was launched by India’s G20 Sherpa Mr Amitabh Kant on the 13th of September and endorsed by the Indian Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya. The book is seen as not just a compendium of essays but as a collective call to action at a critical time.