September 20, 2021
This week, the UN Food Systems Summit will serve as a historic opportunity to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and resume progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through tangible, transformational changes to the world’s food systems. This summit is part of 2021’s year of action on nutrition culminating in the Nutrition for Growth Summit in December. These events are not separate but intrinsically and intricately interrelated. Together they have the potential for exponential impact to ensure equitable and quality nutrition. In a time of rapidly rising hunger and malnutrition due to the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflict, increased global attention to strengthening nutrition in inclusive, resilient food systems for the most vulnerable has never been more important.
With malnutrition rates rising dangerously around the world, we urge the U.S. Government to take bold action at the UN Food Systems Summit and commit to working with marginalized communities to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and sustainably strengthen local food systems. The U.S. Government must also emphasize the importance of improving nutrition for vulnerable communities, particularly mothers and children – including adolescent girls – in commitments at the UN Food Systems Summit and beyond. In particular, the first 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday is a critical window for strong nutrition, which, if missed, can have serious consequences for the rest of the child’s life. We strongly support breastfeeding as a child’s first food system and urge the U.S. Government to adopt policy measures and make commitments that bolster exclusive breastfeeding in a child’s first six months. Prioritizing and expanding programs that also increase the access and availability of micronutrients for vulnerable mothers and young children is essential considering the gendered impacts of the COVID pandemic on hunger and malnutrition.
During this year of action, the UN Food Systems Summit offers a critical opportunity for the United States to be a leader in ending preventable child and maternal deaths globally, recognizing nutrition and strong food systems as critical to child and maternal survival.
1,000 Days, an initiative of FHI Solutions
Action Against Hunger
Alliance to End Hunger
American Academy of Pediatrics
Bread for the World
Catholic Relief Services
Farm Journal Foundation
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium
Helen Keller International
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Save the Children
Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium
The Micronutrient Forum