The event was opened with speeches by The Rt. Hon. Nick Hurd, Minister at the Department for International Development, and Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka.
Minister Hurd highlighted that 1 in 3 people in the world suffer some form of malnutrition and promised that the UK will leave no-one behind in its efforts to tackle this. He also touched on the ambitious Nutrition4Growth (N4G) commitments that the UK has made, and its aims to improve the nutrition of 50m people by 2020. Minister Hurd also stressed that nutrition-sensitive social protection and agricultural policy are needed as part of these efforts. He pointed out that ending malnutrition is a matter of political choice and of political will.
Ambassador Tsuruoka emphasised the need for a multifaceted, multilateral approach – coordinating different fields, sectors, and institutions - in response to the issue of global malnutrition. He also stressed the need for Japan and the UK to work together in partnership, and to deploy all of our resources, expertise and political will in addressing these difficulties. Ambassador Tsuruoka also highlighted the role that the private sector can play in improving global nutrition, and encouraged greater mobilisation of the private sector going forward. He also discussed the various political initiatives at government level, including those endorsed at the recent G7 Ise-shima Summit in Japan. He also referred to Japan’s initiatives to be discussed at the upcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) which is to be held in August in Kenya, also about efforts made by Japan and the UK towards the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and Global Nutrition for Growth. Initiatives such as these, he said, have focused on bringing the issue of global malnutrition to the attention of our global leaders as a ‘mainstream issue’. Please click here to read Ambassador Tsuruoka's remarks in full.
Professor Lawrence Haddad and Professor Corinna Hawkes, members of the GNR Secretariat, introduced the new report and its findings, and issued a new call for action towards the issue of global malnutrition. They argued that the report is an ‘intervention’, and that we should use the data in the new report to challenge the status quo. This was followed by a video message from Jamie Oliver, and speeches from Rose Caldwell (Concern Worldwide UK), Anna Taylor (The Food Foundation), and Georgina Fekete (Children's Investment Fund Foundation), who gave their own reflections on the issue from an NPO perspective.
These speakers then took part in a panel discussion with questions from the audience. Panel members emphasised the need to apply more pressure at national and government level, and that the discussions held at the recent G7 Summit and meetings must be carried forward to Italy in 2017, Canada in 2018 and beyond. The need to open up the debate on malnutrition to a wider audience was also stressed, with the panel arguing that forming new and unusual partnerships is key to tackling malnutrition. Greater engagement with the public is also important to improve nutrition at a local level, with panel members encouraging people to make commitments to tackling malnutrition in their jobs, organisations and community.
Dr Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, concluded by reiterating the need for action for the benefit of future generations.
This was followed by a Networking Reception which was a valuable opportunity for participants to further discuss the issues raised during the speeches and panel discussion.
The Embassy of Japan