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Nutrition Security

There is no food security without nutrition security. While food security looks at the availability, stability of supply, accessibility and utilization of food in general, nutrition security goes a step further in looking at the nutritional value of food, and at the systemic factors that determine an individual’s nutritional status. Dietary diversity is an important factor and also a challenge in situations where there is, for example, a relatively high consumption of staple crops. Undernutrition, the opposite of nutrition security, has many negative implications for populations affected by it. Children will grow into undernourished adults with lower cognitive development, and their children, particularly those of undernourished mothers, will experience the same problems: the problem is inter-generational. This does not only affect individuals and households, but also impacts (local) economic development. The World Bank estimates that undernutrition causes losses in GDP of 2 to 3%.
As such, the sharing of knowledge and experiences by networks regarding efforts to reduce undernutrition in developing countries and emerging economies will be central to the activities within the F&BKP.

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Prevalence of undernutrition

Undernutrition is a consequence of consuming too few essential nutrients. Consequently, the body does not get the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to develop and maintain healthy tissues and organ functions. This has negative effects on physical and cognitive  development, especially in the first 1,000 days after conception and the effects are likely irreversible. Furthermore, undernutrition also makes children and adults more susceptible to health problems and magnifies the effects of disease. It is an underlying cause for roughly half of all deaths from diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia and measles. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), globally 842 million people were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2011-2013. Poor nutrition leaves some 165 million children stunted worldwide and plays a role in at least five million child deaths each year.

Nutrition Security at F&BKP

Although the number of hungry people in Africa grew with nearly 20 million in the last few years, there is evidence that suggests that it is possible to successfully address malnutrition in developing countries and emerging economies. In Asia and the Pacific as a whole, where 70% of all malnourished children live, the number of undernourished people decreased from 739 million to 529 million between 1991 and 2011-2013, mainly due to socioeconomic progress.

At the same time, a range of promising interventions exist.  In 2013, research by The Lancet found that potentially nearly 15% of the deaths of children under 5 years of age could be reduced if the ten core nutrition interventions they identified are scaled up.

There are challenges to be tackled as well as lessons to be learned from interventions that address undernutrition. Many questions remain, though. For example, to what extent can lessons learned and good practices from one context be applied in another? This is one of many questions to be explored within the F&BKP.

A variety of key local and international networks and stakeholders  who are active in the area of nutrition security work together with the F&BKP, in order to answer knowledge questions that can be a game-changer in systematically addressing undernutrition. Such knowledge questions can be generated on both the local and the international levels. For knowledge questions generated on a local level, it will be key to identify to what extent they are context-specific and whether and how they fit in a broader international knowledge agenda. Knowledge questions generated at the international level should always have a clear link to local level contexts.

Recent Nutrition Security articles
Measuring the effects of agricultural development interventions on nutrition
September 28, 2016Study
Measuring the effects of agricultural development interventions on nutrition
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

“Towards an improved framework for measuring the effects of agricultural development interventions on household and individual nutrition” is a one-year research project by Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and collaborating partners. »

From promise to impact. Ending malnutrition by 2030
June 22, 2016Study
From promise to impact. Ending malnutrition by 2030
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

The only independent and comprehensive annual review of the state of the world’s nutrition, the Global Nutrition Report is a multipartner initiative that holds a mirror up to our successes and failures at meeting intergovernmental nutrition targets. It documents progress on commitments made on the global stage, and it recommends actions to accelerate that progress. »

Fruits and vegetables export as a vehicle to link agriculture and nutrition
December 2, 2015Knowledge activity
Fruits and vegetables export as a vehicle to link agriculture and nutrition
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

A brief report on the action-oriented discussion event of October 30, 2015, organized by NGWN, F&BKP and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs. The meeting forms part of a series of events to scale up Dutch efforts towards achieving nutrition security. »

Global Nutrition Report 2015
September 17, 2015News
Global Nutrition Report 2015
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

“While we know more than ever about how to combat malnutrition, too little of this knowledge is being acted upon.” Next week, the Global Nutrition Report 2015 will be launched in New York. The report is the second in an series of annual reports, of which the 2014 version was debated in a lively event »

Improving nutrition through accountability, ownership and partnerships
June 3, 2015Knowledge activity
Improving nutrition through accountability, ownership and partnerships
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

On May 20, 2015, the Brussels Development Briefing n.41 on the subject of “Improving nutrition through accountability, ownership and partnerships” was held at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels. It addressed nutrition as one of the essential pillars of human development, and allowed for sharing about the slow global progress: even as undernourishment decreases, new issues such as micronutrient deficiencies, obesity »

Lively event ‘Scaling up Dutch efforts for Global Nutrition’
April 7, 2015Knowledge activity
Lively event ‘Scaling up Dutch efforts for Global Nutrition’
By: Nicole Metz Theme: Nutrition Security

On March 10, 2015, the Netherlands Working Group on Nutrition (NWGN) organized an action-oriented discussion event entitled ‘Scaling up Dutch efforts for Global Nutrition’. It included the Dutch launch of the Global Nutrition Report 2014 by Lawrence Haddad (International Food Policy Research Institute), a key note speech by Reina Buijs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy »

Going Dutch in Global Nutrition
March 11, 2015Knowledge activity
Going Dutch in Global Nutrition
By: Saskia Osendarp Theme: Nutrition Security

The 12th launch of the Global Nutrition Report took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands this week during an action-oriented discussion event organized by the Netherlands Working Group on Nutrition (NWGN) in collaboration with the Food and Business Knowledge Platform and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and hosted by Unilever R&D. To ensure that the messages »

Second AIM article in a series: Knowledge creation & learning
February 25, 2015Expert opinion
Second AIM article in a series: Knowledge creation & learning
By: Luca Genovese &... Theme: Nutrition Security

The Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM) was launched in 2009 as a joint initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ICCO Cooperation, Unilever, DSM, AkzoNobel, the Wageningen University and GAIN. AIM designs innovative social business ideas and sustainable solutions to tackle malnutrition and currently manages a portfolio of nine pilot projects. What these projects »

Scaling up Dutch Efforts for Global Nutrition
February 20, 2015Knowledge activity
Scaling up Dutch Efforts for Global Nutrition
By: F&BKP Office Theme: Nutrition Security

The Netherlands Working Group on Nutrition, together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organize an action-oriented discussion event on 10 March 2015, kindly hosted by Unilever Vlaardingen. The aim of the event is to make Dutch policy makers and practitioners aware of the findings of the Global Nutrition »

First AIM article in a series: Scaling up Inclusive Business
December 22, 2014Expert opinion
First AIM article in a series: Scaling up Inclusive Business
By: Nicolas Chevrol... Theme: Nutrition Security

Introduction The Amsterdam Initiative against Malnutrition (AIM) brings different stakeholders together to improve food and nutrition security through a broad portfolio of projects. These projects are executed throughout the entire food value chain with a focus on the consumer. Since 2009, AIM has grown to include 30 stakeholder-partners who explore innovative and sustainable solutions to »