Ottawa Event for the Global Nutrition Report

On February 9, 2015 Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC), in partnership with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Micronutrient Initiative, hosted the launch of the first ever Global Nutrition Report. Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta from the Center for Global Child Health presented the findings of the report before opening up to a panel discussion with Dominic Schofield of GAIN and Mark Fryars of the Micronutrient Initiative, and moderated by AKFC Chief Executive Officer Khalil Shariff.

Dr. Bhutta’s presentation outlined the main findings of the Global Nutrition Report, providing context to the ensuing discussion and framing the issue of malnutrition within the broader development landscape. Dr. Bhutta noted that despite nutrition being one of the essential pillars of human development, global progress has been slow—with approximately 3.5 billion people malnourished or suffering from some form of micronutrient deficiency. Indeed, the prevalence of malnutrition in both developing and developed countries has gained widespread attention, as obesity exists side by side with undernutrition in almost every country--referred to as the double burden.

The panel discussion offered many valuable insights on both how malnutrition was captured in the Millennium Development Goals, and why it should feature more prominently in the upcoming Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. There was a consensus among the panellists that more needs to be done in order to tackle issues of malnutrition. This responsibility does not rest solely with governments, but as the panellists reiterated, it requires a multidimensional approach where civil society holds governments to account in their commitments and the private sector supports scaling up through innovative interventions. The need for improved data collection and accountability anchored many conversations on how targets should be set and how to assess impacts and results. The report marks an important first step in bringing nutrition to the forefront of the global development agenda. The event served as a call to action to raise ambitions, promote greater understanding, and collect better and more reliable data so policymakers and practitioners can make informed decisions on how to tackle the challenges of malnutrition.