Going for a UK Gold for Food and Nutrition – Let’s #MakeRioCount

Malnutrition, including both undernutrition and overweight/obesity, affects more than 1 in 2 people on our planet. It is a global challenge affecting all countries of the world.

The UK has been at the forefront of raising the importance of good nutrition. In international development, the UK’s message to the world has been that good nutrition during pregnancy and the early years of life underpins strong economies, that tackling malnutrition in the first 1000 days of life delivers life-long returns and that preventing malnutrition requires investment in evidence-based interventions and cross-government leadership and action. UK leadership was demonstrated at the Olympic Hunger Event and Nutrition for Growth summit held in London in 2012 and 2013

The Rio Nutrition for Growth summit being convened by the Government of Brazil and involving Heads of State from around the world, provides an opportunity to continue this important legacy of the London Olympics.

In the intervening years, between London 2012 and Rio 2016, the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been agreed by the UN General Assembly. These provide the framework for national action and international cooperation for all UN Member States including the UK for the period up to 2030. Unlike their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs are for all countries of the world, rich and poor. These goals include:

International Sustainable Development Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Target 2.1

By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

Target 2.2

By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons

The goals provide the reference point for UK commitments at Rio and an important spur for the UK to progress its leadership on nutrition in international development, and also demonstrate renewed commitment to tackle poor nutrition at home.

On the 13th April, The Food Foundation, with its partners, held an interactive Parliamentary briefing session on the opportunities of the forthcoming Nutrition4Growth Summit, highlighting the role for the UK to drive forward the implementation of the SDGs and end all forms malnutrition in the UK and internationally.

This well attended event was supported by four All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG), the APPGs for Brazil, Hunger, Food and Agricultural Development and School Food. It was a great honour to welcome guest speakers, double gold medallist, Olympic rower, James Cracknell OBE, Jane Ellison Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health at the Department of Health, Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for international Development. During the evening we heard from Lord Watts, Chair of the APPG for Brazil, Frank Field MP, Chair of the APPG for Hunger and Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the APPG for School Food.

To hear a recording of the event and feedback from the audience see our full Storify below.