On April 26, over 80 private sector, civil society and United Nations Rome-based officials including from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) gathered for the International Agri-Food Network’s “Partnerships Forum on Nutrition.” The meeting was hosted by Hinrich Tholken, Ambassador of Germany to the UN Rome-based agencies.
“This unique event demonstrated the depth and breadth of industry-led activities related to nutrition,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Helen Medina, who attended the forum. “It was an opportunity for the private sector to share examples and concrete experiences of successful initiatives across sectors in many countries.”
The meeting began with Robynne Anderson, director general of the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) describing why partnerships are important and relating the theme to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Others in the opening session described the importance of tackling stunting and wasting as a way to achieve Zero Hunger Challenge.
The second part of the meeting included 17 “rapid fire presentations” moderated by Gerda Verburg, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the UN Rome-based agencies. Ambassador Verburg asked participants to speak from their hearts and to be clear and concise about their desires. The event was meant to inspire all to think about partnerships and how to take advantage of the opportunities that were immediately available to everyone around the table.
The meeting’s main messages included:
- It is clear that the partnering with all stakeholders including the private sector is needed if countries want to tackle their nutrition challenges;
- Empowering the value chain and in particular women are key for development and improving nutritional outcomes;
- Mainstreaming nutrition in poverty reduction goals will translate into high economic growth;
- Trust is needed to build upon partnerships and all stakeholders need to feel invested in the projects;
- Key stakeholders including the private sector need to be involved from the analysis stage in problem analysis to delivering the desired outcomes.