By Marilyn Shapley, Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate, InterAction
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and InterAction, in collaboration with the House Hunger Caucus, hosted the final 2015 event in an international food and nutrition security briefing series, “What’s Food Got to Do with It?” on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 with a panel discussion entitled, “Ag 2.0: Building Nutrition-Sensitive Development Programs to Tackle Hunger in the 21st Century.” Roger Thurow, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Global Affairs moderated the briefing. Panelists included Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation; Sarah Simons, Advisor at Save the Children; and Navyn Salem, Founder and Executive Director at Edesia.
The panel explored the need for nutrition-sensitive development programs to tackle malnutrition and hunger using comprehensive, multi-sector approaches (agriculture, health, WASH, education, etc) in both emergency and development contexts when possible. Every country in the world is affected by one or more forms of malnutrition (including undernutrition, obesity, or micronutrient deficiencies). Children are often the most harmed by malnutrition, causing a loss of human and economic potential. Progress is being seen in reducing malnutrition, especially with recent investments by the public and private sector into researching and implementing new nutrition-sensitive programming and the growth in the availability of new nutritional products, improved seeds, and advanced technology across the agriculture spectrum.
Many nutrition-sensitive programs are designed to be context specific, and the panel discussed opportunities and challenges for ensuring greater access to these new practices and technologies and ways to continue to increase uptake in developing countries. The conversation ranged from making sure agriculture products are nutritious and accessible to changing social behaviors and customs.