Statement by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Nutrition Forum in Rome

Published on 01 June 2010

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran (right) with Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno (left) and Health Services Advisor Adolfo Panfili (centre) at Rome City hall for the Nutrition Summit.

(Copyright: WFP/Giulio D'Adamo)

ROME -- We are starting to see a global nutrition revolution united by a common goal – to ensure that every child has sufficient nutrition to reach their full potential and live a healthy and productive life.

The historic Nutrition Forum held today at the Campidoglio in the heart of Rome demonstrates the commitment of global leaders and experts from all sectors to unite to put nutrition at the top of the global agenda in the run-up to the G8 and G20 meetings in Canada later this month.

We now have the burden of knowledge. Recent studies show that malnutrition in the first two years of life can lead to irreversible damage to children’s minds and bodies. We have also learned that malnutrition can be passed through malnourished pregnant mothers, with their children at high risk of dying before their fifth birthday.

The good news is that there are proven, cost-effective solutions. WFP’s approach of delivering the right food at the right time in the right place is one of those solutions.

The burden of knowledge compels us to act together – governments, agencies, and international experts – to scale up nutrition and to improve the lives of millions of children.

The Nutrition Forum was the first in a series WFP is hosting with Rome to reinforce the city as the world capital in the fight against hunger, based on a recently signed partnership between WFP and the City of Rome authorities.