Zambia. Global Panel attends the National Food & Nutrition Summit
The Summit represented an important meeting for a country still suffering from severe malnutrition, and which is off target to meet all of the WHA nutrition 2025 goals. Zambia has a 40 per cent prevalence of stunting among children under five. 54% of Zambian children also suffer from micronutrient deficiency.
The event brought together a large number of government, NGO and CSO representatives with the aim of increasing political and multi-stakeholder commitment to food and nutrition security, and promoting the development of tangible actions to accelerate development.
The event focused on five themes: 1) food and nutrition governance and coordination, 2) access to and utilisation of integrated nutrition services, 3) agriculture, food and nutrition nexus, 4) social protection, 5) water, sanitation & hygiene for improved nutrition.
It saw the active participation of international organisations such as the SUN Movement, WHO, WFP, FAO, UNICEF, IFPRI, USAID, GIZ, Water Aid, Irish Aid, Care, Concern, the UK Department for International Development (DfID), as well as a broad range of representation from across the Zambian Government, and national bodies such as the Zambia National Food and Nutrition Commission, IAPRI, and the SUN Business Network of Zambia.
DfID Zambia Head of Office, Mark Richardson, reiterated the support offered by the UK Government to tackling nutrition issues in the country (read his article on making nutrition a national priority). The UK, together with other donors, provides targeted support to benefit more than one million children under the First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme in Zambia, coordinated by the National Food and Nutrition Commission under the Ministry of Health.
Among the highlights of the Summit, was the signing of the second phase of the First 1000 Most Critical Days Programme (2018-2022) by six Zambian Government ministries. Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, commented: “Today’s signing ceremony is significant – we are making a clear statement of intent to strengthen our application in the 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme, to address the broad aspects of nutrition.”
On day one, Global Panel Director, Professor Sandy Thomas, gave a presentation to make the case for changing food systems to enable the provision of healthy diets as a critical priority to address all forms of malnutrition, and highlighted key messages from the Global Panel’s Foresight report.
The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement helped to launch The Good Food Logo, a joint initiative of the government of Zambia and the SUN Business Network: a mark or seal that will be applied on eligible products which meet predefined criteria across the various food groups to help consumers identify nutritious foods in store and support them in making better food choices. The nutrition criteria has undergone extensive scrutiny and was developed by a set of technical experts from government (National Food and Nutrition Commission, Food and Drug authority and Zambia Bureau of standards), Nutritionists, Academia and Science with input from private sector.
In order to meet its WHA targets, the country needs to reduce stunting at a rate of 6% a year. “The Government’s renewed commitment to reduce malnutrition in Zambia is very timely. Implementation of a wide range of aligned interventions across the Zambian food system are now urgently required to help achieve the country’s nutrition targets, and secure a healthier and more productive future for its people”, said Prof Sandy Thomas, Director of the Global Panel.
The National Food and Nutrition Summit was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.