Global nutrition report: Towards a global governance in nutrition
This assessment (PDF) in the journal Development and Change critically looks at the Global Nutrition Reports. It suggests that the underlying purpose of these Reports is not so much to tackle the problem of nutrition as to generate and mainstream a certain discourse to facilitate global governance in nutrition with a view towards capital accumulation. This is substantiated by examining the conceptual framework that forms the basis for the recommendations in the series of Reports and by delineating the interests that go into the making of their recommendations. The conceptual framework in the 2013 Lancet series, which forms the basis for the three Global Nutrition Reports, focuses on a sub-group of the population, the mother and child. Additionally it subscribes to a narrow biomedical understanding of the problem of nutrition. The 2013 series offers largely pharmaco-technological solutions to problems, such as micronutrient supplements. This excludes other solutions, like nutrition-sensitive interventions dealing with indirect causal factors, whose importance is minimized for want of proof of efficacy. The critique focuses on the overall thrust of the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Agenda towards garnering financial and political support for a set of interventions aimed at dealing with specified problems of nutrition. In the Reports, despite the broadening of the terms of reference from undernutrition to malnutrition by including obesity and overweight, it is clear that the primary focus continues to be on undernutrition. The author states that by reframing undernutrition as malnutrition, the historical process of dichotomizing food and nutrition to obfuscate the structural causes of hunger that began during the inter-war years continues, and with it the expansion of a market for ‘nutrient’ products.