The Global Nutrition Summit 2017, held in Milan, Italy, convened governments, cities, international agencies, foundations, civil society organizations and businesses to accelerate the global response to malnutrition, an underlying cause of nearly half of all global child deaths.
The Summit has galvanized US$3.4bn including US$640 million in new commitments.
“The global malnutrition crisis endangers the physical and mental wellbeing of present and future generations” said Kofi Annan, speaking at the summit in his capacity as Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. “Progress in tackling both undernutrition and obesity is possible with targeted commitments, like those made here today. We need further urgent investments so that people, communities and nations can reach their full potential.”
Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin said, “Italy is proud to host this first global gathering of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. Our country has long been a supporter of improved global nutrition and food security, including at the G7 Summit in L’Aquila in 2009. We hope this summit will spark a new wave of energy in the international community to work together to tackle malnutrition.”
The summit highlighted the potential role of cities in the creation of better food systems for their citizens. Mayor of Milan and Chair of the Milan Urban Food Policy (MUFPP) Pact Mr. Giuseppe Sala said, “Urbanisation has contributed to new forms of malnutrition around the world, presenting a real challenge as we expect 5 billion people to live in cities by 2030. We firmly believe cities can play a powerful leadership role and must join efforts to develop innovative solutions to provide their citizens with nutritious, healthy and sustainable food. This is the same commitment the city of Milan took in 2015 when it launched the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact while hosting the world Expo dedicated to ‘Feeding the planet’. Today 159 signatory cities representing 450 million people worldwide are working together towards better food systems for their citizens”.
Further challenges and potential solutions developed by cities to tackle malnutrition were discussed in the thematic sessions “Improving nutrition within planetary boundaries: cities taking the lead” organized by the city of Milan and the MUFPP.
The Global Nutrition Report 2017, launched at the summit, showed that, in spite of progress,155 million children globally are still stunted – they are too short for their age often due to lack of nutrients, impacting their physical and cognitive development – and the world is off track on meeting internationally agreed nutrition targets. Financing to tackle malnutrition has been alarmingly low. Donors spend less than 1 percent of overseas aid on nutrition, and countries allocate between one and two percent of their health budgets to the issue.
“When nutrition is at the top of the agenda, countries can tap into their full potential,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Today’s summit made it clear that the world understands this. These commitments bring us one step closer to a future in which every child not only survives, but thrives.”
New commitments announced at the Milan summit included:
US$100 million by 2030 from the Eleanor Crook Foundation, a U.S. based family philanthropy
Up to 100 million Swiss Francs (US$100m) over five years from The Family LarssonRosenquist Foundation, a Swiss foundation dedicated to promoting breastfeeding
US$100 million over five years from the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the philanthropic organisation of Aliko Dangote, founder and Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Dangote group, Africa’s largest homegrown conglomerate, to reduce the prevalence of undernutrition by 60 percent in targeted areas of Nigeria.
US$50 million over five years from Tata Trusts, a public health Indian philanthropy, reaching over 10 million under-fives and 300,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women
US$33 million in 2017 from King Philanthropies, a U.S. based family philanthropy.
US$150 million over five years from The Power of Nutrition, a fund dedicated to tackling undernutrition in children
The Nepal-based Chaudhary Foundation committed to reach 1 million vulnerable people with nutrition and health related interventions over the next 5 years
The Global Nutrition Summit was the first global forum of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2026) which is co-led by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
“It’s inspiring to see more countries commit to investing in better nutrition,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This is one of the most basic steps to improving health and promoting development. I look forward to seeing more countries committing funds as part of the Decade of Action on Nutrition.”
José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization said: “Ending all forms of malnutrition must become the basis of a new social contract in which no one is left behind. The Decade of Action on Nutrition calls us all to action to reach this goal.”
As one of the most important conferences worldwide focusing on