04 Nov 2015

GNR and Africa brief launch – 6th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security

Mohamed Ag Bendech FAO Africa Region

The Right Honorable Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda and I launched the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2015 and Africa Brief at the sixth Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security in Kampala, Uganda on October 28, 2015. More than four hundred participants attended the ceremony representing several countries and sectors related to nutrition (agriculture, health, education, social protection, business, civil society and mass media); regional institutions, regional economic communities, development partners including donors both at the regional and country level, UN agencies and international NGOs.

Ugandan Prime Minister (circa 2015) Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda

In his statement during the launch, the Rt. Hon. Ruhakana once again highlighted the importance of focusing on the first one thousand days of life and the commitment of his government under the new Uganda Nutrition Advocacy and Communication Strategy for the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan 2015 – 2019, to advance nutrition sensitive agricultural food systems that ensure optimal maternal and child nutrition.

On behalf of the GNR Independent Expert Group, I underscored the stagnating development in anemia levels on the continent, a proxy for iron micronutrient deficiencies. I also mentioned increasing numbers in stunting levels even though there are minor reductions in the levels of prevalence of chronic malnutrition, while Africa continues to register increasing levels of overweight/obesity and diet related non-communicable diseases. In my presentation, I indicated that, in moving into the post-2015 era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Governments should commit to the key areas stressed in the 2015 GNR Africa brief to advance nutrition, including building the enabling environment, creating healthy food systems, increasing funding and strengthening accountability mechanisms.

Mohamed Ag Bendech presenting the 2015 GNR and Africa Brief to Prime Minister (Uganda circa 2015) Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda

The Africa Brief of the 2015 GNR presents evidence and progress in transforming nutrition commitments into action with ambitious targets for the continent. Effectively tackling malnutrition has significant health and economic benefits and we must all resolve to work collectively through multi-sectoral engagements to advance optimal nutrition in Africa.

The Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security is an annual event organized by the African Union Commission and NEPAD with significant technical support from partners. National, regional and international press coverage and media interviews were substantial following the launch. The key recommendations and final remarks from the development partners’ representative made significant reference to the 2015 GNR and the call for action and accountability by African Leaders.

Mohamed Ag Bendech is the Senior Nutrition Officer for the FAO Africa Region and a member of the Global Nutrition Report Independent Expert Group.

Find the Africa Brief of the Global Nutrition Report 2015 here.

Find the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security slide presentation of the Global Nutrition Report 2015 here.