UN World Food Programme

"We Can Make Malnutrition History," WFP Head Says

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran addresses delegates to the Nutrition Forum hosted by the City of Rome. Copyright:WFP/Giulio D'Adamo

Leading experts on nutrition, gathered in a world-famous museum in the heart of Rome, heard that the world was now at a tipping point where it had the scientific understanding and know-how to come together to make malnutrition history.

ROME -- Leading experts on nutrition, gathered in a world-famous museum in the heart of Rome, heard on Tuesday that the world was now at a tipping point where it had the scientific understanding and knowhow to come together to make malnutrition history.

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, told a high-level audience of international nutrition experts and leaders that a nutrition revolution was under way. She said there were now affordable, do-able solutions to make malnutrition a thing of the past.

Scaling up nutrition


The first part of the Rome Forum focused on the "Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) - Framework for Action" policy brief, which explains why nutrition is so important to reaching development goals.

“And our grandchildren will say, ‘Do you mean there was a time when children’s bodies were small because they didn’t have enough nutrition?' And we’ll be able to say that that is something that history has put to rest. That is within our grasp,” she said.

A world cause

Recent studies have shown that malnutrition in the first two years of life can lead to irreversible damage to children’s minds and bodies. The effects can remain in later life, making an impact on an adult’s wage-earning potential and countries’ economic development.

Speaking at a meeting inside one of the Capitoline Museums at the Campidoglio at a Nutrition Forum hosted by WFP and the City of Rome, Sheeran highlighted the fact that experts from different sectors, or “tribes” such as health, food security and the private sector, were increasingly coming together to make nutrition a world cause.

Moving nutrition foward

The UN special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition, David Nabarro, who moderated the session, spoke of the need to build a global nutrition movement. He said that as part of the two-day event, experts from UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector, had discussed the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Framework for Action and discussed how to move forward with an action plan.

The forum followed the signing of a partnership between WFP and the City of Rome. Professor Adolfo Panfili, Health Advisor to the Mayor of Rome, said the city was proud to lend its support to WFP. “There will be no peace in the world until we provide assistance to all children suffering from malnutrition,” he said.

Why nutrition matters
Poor nutrition is the largest single contributing factor to child mortality, more than HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined. But that's only one of at least ten reasons the world should face the nutrition challenge. Find out about the others