Rome declaration on Nutrition

Update: 12/17/2014 - View: 18075
Second International Conference on Nutrition
Rome, 19-21 November 2014 
 Conference Outcome Document: Rome Declaration on Nutrition

Welcoming the participation of Heads of State and Government and other high-level guests,
  1. We, Ministers and Representatives of the Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), assembled at the Second International Conference on Nutrition in Rome from 19 to 21 November 2014, jointly organized by FAO and WHO, to address the multiple challenges of malnutrition in all its forms and identify opportunities for tackling them in the next decades.
  2. Reaffirming the commitments made at the first International Conference on Nutrition in 1992, and the World Food Summits in 1996 and 2002 and the World Summit on Food Security in 2009, as well as in relevant international targets and action plans, including the WHO 2025 Global Nutrition Targets and the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013-2020.
  3. Reaffirming the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger consistent with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other relevant United Nations instruments.                                                                                                                                             
    Multiple challenges of malnutrition to inclusive and sustainable development and to health
  4. Acknowledge that malnutrition, in all its forms, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, not only affects people’s health and wellbeing by impacting negatively on human physical and cognitive development, compromising the immune system, increasing susceptibility to communicable and noncommunicable diseases, restricting the attainment of human potential and reducing productivity, but also poses a high burden in the form of negative social and economic consequences to individuals, families, communities and States.
  5. Recognize that the root causes of and factors leading to malnutrition are complex and multidimensional:
    a) poverty, underdevelopment and low socio-economic status are major contributors to malnutrition in both rural and urban areas;
    b) the lack of access at all times to sufficient food, which is adequate both in quantity and quality which conforms with the beliefs, culture, traditions, dietary habits and preferences of individuals in accordance with national and international laws and obligations;
    c) malnutrition is often aggravated by poor infant and young child feeding and care practices, poor sanitation and hygiene, lack of access to education, quality health systems and safe drinking water, foodborne infections and parasitic infestations, ingestion of harmful levels of contaminants due to unsafe food from production to consumption;
    d) epidemics, such as of the Ebola virus disease, pose tremendous challenges to food security and nutrition.
  6. Acknowledge that different forms of malnutrition co-exist within most countries; while dietary risk affects all socio-economic groups, large inequalities exist in nutritional status, exposure to risk and adequacy of dietary energy and nutrient intake, between and within countries.
  7. Recognize that some socioeconomic and environmental changes can have an impact on dietary and physical activity patterns, leading to higher susceptibility to obesity and noncommunicable diseases through increasing sedentary lifestyles and consumption of food that is high in fat, especially saturated and trans-fats, sugars, and salt/sodium.
  8. Recognize the need to address the impacts of climate change and other environmental factors on food security and nutrition, in particular on the quantity, quality and diversity of food produced, taking appropriate action to tackle negative effects.
  9. Recognize that conflict and post conflict situations, humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises, including, inter alia, droughts, floods and desertification as well as pandemics, hinder food security and nutrition.
  10. Acknowledge that current food systems are being increasingly challenged to provide adequate, safe, diversified and nutrient rich food for all that contribute to healthy diets due to, inter alia, constraints posed by resource scarcity and environmental degradation, as well as by unsustainable production and consumption patterns, food losses and waste, and unbalanced distribution.
  11. Acknowledge that trade is a key element in achieving food security and nutrition and that trade policies are to be conducive to fostering food security and nutrition for all, through a fair and market-oriented world trade system, and reaffirm the need to refrain from unilateral measures not in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, and which endanger food security and nutrition, as stated in the 1996 Rome Declaration.
  12. Note with profound concern that, notwithstanding significant achievements in many countries, recent decades have seen modest and uneven progress in reducing malnutrition and estimated figures show that:
    a) the prevalence of undernourishment has moderately declined, but absolute numbers remain unacceptably high with an estimated 805 million people suffering chronically from hunger in 2012-2014;
    b) chronic malnutrition as measured by stunting has declined, but in 2013 still affected 161 million children under five years of age, while acute malnutrition (wasting) affected 51 million children under five years of age;
    c) undernutrition was the main underlying cause of death in children under five, causing 45% of all child deaths in the world in 2013;
    d) over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, in particular vitamin A, iodine, iron and zinc, among others;
    e) overweight and obesity among both children and adults have been increasing rapidly in all regions, with 42 million children under five years of age affected by overweight in 2013 and over 500 million adults affected by obesity in 2010;
    f) dietary risk factors, together with inadequate physical activity, account for almost 10% of the global burden of disease and disability.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                          A common vision for global action to end all forms of malnutrition
  13. We reaffirm that:
    a) the elimination of malnutrition in all its forms is an imperative for health, ethical, political, social and economic reasons, paying particular attention to the special needs of children, women, the elderly, persons with disabilities, other vulnerable groups as well as people in humanitarian emergencies;
    b) nutrition policies should promote a diversified, balanced and healthy diet at all stages of life. In particular, special attention should be given to the first 1,000 days, from the start of pregnancy to two years of age, pregnant and lactating women, women of reproductive age, and adolescent girls, by promoting and supporting adequate care and feeding practices, including exclusive breast feeding during the first six months, and continued breastfeeding until two years of age and beyond with appropriate complementary feeding. Healthy diets should be fostered in preschools, schools, public institutions, at the workplace and at home, as well as healthy eating by families;
    c) coordinated action among different actors, across all relevant sectors at international, regional, national and community levels, needs to be supported through cross-cutting and coherent policies, programmes and initiatives, including social protection, to address the multiple burdens of malnutrition and to promote sustainable food systems;
    d) food should not be used as an instrument for political or economic pressure;
    e) excessive volatility of prices of food and agricultural commodities can negatively impact food security and nutrition, and needs to be better monitored and addressed for the challenges it poses;
    f) improvements in diet and nutrition require relevant legislative frameworks for food safety and quality, including for the proper use of agrochemicals, by promoting participation in the activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission for the development of international standards for food safety and quality, as well as for improving information for consumers, while avoiding inappropriate marketing and publicity of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, as recommended by resolution WHA63.14;
    g) nutrition data and indicators, as well as the capacity of, and support to all countries, especially developing countries, for data collection and analysis, need to be improved in order to contribute to more effective nutrition surveillance, policy making and accountability;
    h) empowerment of consumers is necessary through improved and evidence-based health and nutrition information and education to make informed choices regarding consumption of food products for healthy dietary practices;
    i) national health systems should integrate nutrition while providing access for all to integrated health services through a continuum of care approach, including health promotion and disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and contribute to reducing inequalities through addressing specific nutrition-related needs and vulnerabilities of different population groups;
    j) nutrition and other related policies should pay special attention to women and empower women and girls, thereby contributing to women’s full and equal access to social protection and resources, including, inter alia, income, land, water, finance, education, training, science and technology, and health services, thus promoting food security and health.
  14. We recognize that:
    a) international cooperation and Official Development Assistance for nutrition should support and complement national nutrition strategies, policies and programmes, and surveillance initiatives, as appropriate;
    b) the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security is fostered through sustainable, equitable, accessible in all cases, and resilient and diverse food systems;
    c) collective action is instrumental to improve nutrition, requiring collaboration between governments, the private sector, civil society and communities;
    d) non-discriminatory and secure access and utilization of resources in accordance with international law are important for food security and nutrition;
    e) food and agriculture systems, including crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, need to be addressed comprehensively through coordinated public policies, taking into account the resources, investment, environment, people, institutions and processes with which food is produced, processed, stored, distributed, prepared and consumed;
    f) family farmers and small holders, notably women farmers, play an important role in reducing malnutrition and should be supported by integrated and multisectoral public policies, as appropriate, that raise their productive capacity and incomes and strengthen their resilience;
    g) wars, occupations, terrorism, civil disturbances and natural disasters, disease outbreaks and epidemics, as well as human rights violations and inappropriate socio-economic policies, have resulted in tens of millions of refugees, displaced persons, war affected non-combatant civilian populations and migrants, who are among the most nutritionally vulnerable groups. Resources for rehabilitating and caring for these groups are often extremely inadequate and nutritional deficiencies are common. All responsible parties should cooperate to ensure the safe and timely passage and distribution of food and medical supplies to those in need, which conforms with the beliefs, culture, traditions, dietary habits and preferences of individuals, in accordance with national legislation and international law and obligations and the Charter of the United Nations;
    h) responsible investment in agriculture (1), including small holders and family farming and in food systems, is essential for overcoming malnutrition;  (1): The term agriculture includes crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries.
    i) governments should protect consumers, especially children, from inappropriate marketing and publicity of food;
    j) nutrition improvement requires healthy, balanced, diversified diets, including traditional diets where appropriate, meeting nutrient requirements of all age groups, and all groups with special nutrition needs, while avoiding the excessive intake of saturated fat, sugars and salt/sodium, and virtually eliminating trans-fat, among others;
    k) food systems should provide year-round access to foods that cover people’s nutrient needs and promote healthy dietary practices;
    l) food systems need to contribute to preventing and addressing infectious diseases, including zoonotic diseases, and tackling antimicrobial resistance;
    m) food systems, including all components of production, processing and distribution should be sustainable, resilient and efficient in providing more diverse foods in an equitable manner, with due attention to assessing environmental and health impacts;
    n) food losses and waste throughout the food chain should be reduced in order to contribute to food security, nutrition, and sustainable development;
    o) the United Nations system, including the Committee on World Food Security, and international and regional financial institutions should work more effectively together in order to support national and regional efforts, as appropriate, and enhance international cooperation and development assistance to accelerate progress in addressing malnutrition;
    p) EXPO MILANO 2015, dedicated to “feeding the planet, energy for life”, among other relevant events and fora, will provide an opportunity to stress the importance of food security and nutrition, raise public awareness, foster debate, and give visibility to the ICN2 outcomes.
                                                                                                                                                                              Commitment to action
  15. We commit to:
    a) eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide, particularly undernourishment, stunting, wasting, underweight and overweight in children under five years of age; and anaemia in women and children among other micronutrient deficiencies; as well as reverse the rising trends in overweight and obesity and reduce the burden of diet-related noncommunicable diseases in all age groups;
    b) increase investments for effective interventions and actions to improve people’s diets and nutrition, including in emergency situations;
    c) enhance sustainable food systems by developing coherent public policies from production to consumption and across relevant sectors to provide year-round access to food that meets people’s nutrition needs and promote safe and diversified healthy diets;
    d) raise the profile of nutrition within relevant national strategies, policies, actions plans and programmes, and align national resources accordingly;
    e) improve nutrition by strengthening human and institutional capacities to address all forms of malnutrition through, inter alia, relevant scientific and socio-economic research and development, innovation and transfer of appropriate technologies on mutually agreed terms and conditions;
    f) strengthen and facilitate contributions and action by all stakeholders to improve nutrition and promote collaboration within and across countries, including North-South cooperation, as well as South-South and triangular cooperation;
    g) develop policies, programmes and initiatives for ensuring healthy diets throughout the life course, starting from the early stages of life to adulthood, including of people with special nutritional needs, before and during pregnancy, in particular during the first 1,000 days, promoting, protecting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months and continued breastfeeding until two years of age and beyond with appropriate complementary feeding, healthy eating by families, and at school during childhood, as well as other specialized feeding;
    h) empower people and create an enabling environment for making informed choices about food products for healthy dietary practices and appropriate infant and young child feeding practices through improved health and nutrition information and education;
    i) implement the commitments of this Declaration through the Framework for Action which will also contribute to ensuring accountability and monitoring progress in global nutrition targets;
    j) give due consideration to integrating the vision and commitments of this Declaration into the post-2015 development agenda process including a possible related global goal.
  16. We call on FAO and WHO, in collaboration with other United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as other international organizations, to support national governments, upon request, in developing, strengthening and implementing their policies, programmes and plans to address the multiple challenges of malnutrition.
  17. We recommend to the United Nations General Assembly to endorse the Rome Declaration on Nutrition, as well as the Framework for Action which provides a set of voluntary policy options and strategies for use by governments, as appropriate, and to consider declaring a Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025 within existing structures and available resources.