Inter-Country Learning: Food & Nutrition Policy
The Global Challenge
Undernutrition and overweight and obesity are global issues affecting both developed and developing countries. One in 3 people in the world are affected by some form of malnutrition. Undernutrition in the early years of life leads to stunting which now affects 162 million children under the age of 5. Some countries which have undernutrition are also experiencing rising rates of obesity. In the UK 22% of our reception age children start school already overweight or obese; we also have households which have such low incomes they have periods when they struggle to put food on the table. In this project we are developing partnerships with other countries to support inter-country learning on prevention of malnutrition in all its forms to help influence change at the global level.
Within this project the Food Foundation has been supporting the development of a global parliamentarian network on nutrition initially formed in partnership with Brazil. This partnership supports the Nutrition for Growth process which began on the last day of the London Olympics when David Cameron and Vice President Temer of Brazil hosted an event at Number 10 to consider the challenge of childhood stunting and in June 2013 a nutrition summit secured billions of dollars of commitments from a range of actors to tackle child undernutrition.
In October 2015 Minister Milton Rondó visited the UK and the Food Foundation convened initial conversations with UK parliamentarians engaged in inter-country learning on food policy. The Food Foundation have since engaged with a number of Parliamentarians who see the value in learning from other countries like Brazil, which has a good track record in tackling food poverty and undernutrition. During Minister Rondó’s visit we took the opportunity to demonstrate just one of the UK’s initiatives for tackling food poverty by visiting the community shop in London’s flagship food borough. Minister Rondó fed back the value of the experience and the intention to replicate the model in Brazil.
On April 13th 2016 the Food Foundation convened an event in Parliament attended by double gold medallist James Cracknell OBE, 2 Ministers and over 20 Parliamentarians. The event was supported by 4 All Party Parliamentary Groups 9 partners and demonstrated the two-way learning opportunities between Brazil and the UK as well as the opportunity to join both intentional and domestic priorities to improve food and nutrition at the next Nutrition for Growth Summit. These domestic priorities are captured here.
On 4th July 2017 the Food Foundation, in partnership with the Institute for Development Studies, the Centre for Food Policy, City University and the APPG for Food and Agriculture Development held an event in Parliament, chaired by Lord Cameron of Dillington. The panel included Professor Corinna Hawkes, Lord Watts, Maggie Throup MP and Emma Lewell-Buck MP who discussed the links between obesity and household food insecurity, malnutrition both in the UK and globally and the opportunities for international learning in food and nutrition policy. The event looked at the potential intervention points in the food system to overcome both under and over nutrition. For further details of the event click here.
Policy Briefings, the Media and Parliamentary Support
Since this event we have continued to raise the awareness of food insecurity and undernutrition including through policy briefing highlighting new household food insecurity statistics in the UK following new data from the UN, covered in The Guardian. Ongoing support has been shown from Parliamentarians on the issue of food insecurity and undernutrition including by The Lord Bishop of Truro who mentioned the importance of measuring food insecurity in a speech in the House of Lords. A number of Parliamentarians have requested articles or advice for back bench debates on food insecurity measurement and holiday hunger.
On 4th July, in conjunction with the event mentioned above, the Food Foundation launched the first 5 policy briefings that form part of an on-going series of briefings on international learning. The author of the Brazil learning briefings was Jennifer Constantine from the Institute for Development Studies.
Food Environment Policy Index
We are also supporting the development of the Food Environment Policy Index (EPI), a process which the Food Foundation have just facilitated in the UK which identifies food policy gaps and priority actions following a process developed by INFORMAS. We are working with the Institute of Development Studies to initiate the Food EPI in Brazil as well as we see this exercise as providing a solid foundation for inter-country exchange on policy.