Achieving high-quality diets for all is critically important to the delivery of the SDGs.
On September 25 2015, the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly formally adopted a new sustainable development agenda, defined by 17 global goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.
One important policy area that weaves in and out of the sustainable development agenda, touching a dozen or more individual SDG goals, is the provision of healthy diets.
Invisible in terms of SDG language and not mentioned among the many targets, healthy diets are a foundation underpinning successful progress toward targets in health, agriculture, inequality, poverty and sustainable consumption. Failure to recognize the central role of healthy, high-quality diets in addressing so many development challenges risks missing the opportunity for governments and other stakeholders to invest in the essential policy actions that cut across conventional silos.
The policy brief "Healthy diets for all: A key to meeting the SDGs" is a call to action for policymakers at all levels to recognise the central role of high-quality diets and nutrition in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
While specific actions will depend on local contexts, the Global Panel recommends the following priorities for policymakers to accelerate progress across the SDGs:
- Pay explicit attention to diet quality in developing plans to meet the Sustainable Development Goals
- Adopt a systems approach to improving diets and achieving the SDGs, linking for example, policies on agricultural production and social protection
- Focus on improving diets for infants, young children, adolescent girls and women
- Address barriers and shocks impeding access to healthy diets for vulnerable groups
- Widen policy approaches to SDG2, enhancing food systems to deliver healthy diets for all and to address all forms of malnutrition
- Step up efforts to collect and report data on diet quality
Why does diet quality matter to the SDGs?