The UN Food Systems Summit, to be held in September, aims to progress by leveraging the power of food systems
The Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems, being held from Monday till Wednesday, is an opportunity to set the agenda for strengthening food systems, promoting healthy diets, and improving nutrition, especially for children and young people.
Even before the pandemic, children were bearing the brunt of broken food systems and poor diets, leading to an alarming nutrition and health crisis worldwide, and a triple burden of malnutrition, reads a statement issued on Tuesday by Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Globally, one in three children is not growing well due to malnutrition – a leading cause of child mortality worldwide – while two in three do not have access to the minimum diverse diets they need to grow, develop and learn.
In recent decades, changes in global food systems – including the practices used to grow, distribute, market, consume, and dispose of our food – mean that the most nutritious and safe foods are too costly or inaccessible to millions of families, reads the statement.
Many increasingly turn to processed foods that are affordable, widely available, and aggressively marketed, but often high in unhealthy sugar, fats and salt.
A transformation of the food system that listens to the voices of children and young people, and unlocks nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets for every child, everywhere, must be at the heart of strategies, policies and investments, says the release.
UNICEF and WHO call on governments and decision-makers to scale up effective approaches including but not limited to incentivizing healthy diets through price policies, including subsidies to reduce the price of nutritious foods such as eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, or taxes to increase the price of unhealthy options.
By joining forces with governments, civil society, families, development and humanitarian partners, private sector stakeholders, and children and young people themselves, it is possible to deliver good nutrition and a healthier planet for every child and every adult, everywhere, adds the statement.
The UN Food Systems Summit to be held in September aims to progress by leveraging the power of food systems.