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Report on the effectiveness of EU development aid for food security in sub-Saharan Africa


The European Court of Auditors recently finalised and adopted its performance audit report on the effectiveness of EU development aid for food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

This report was published on Wednesday 28 March 2012 and is available in all EU official languages on the Court's website: www.eca.europa.eu.


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Agriculture-Climate Letter: Managing river flows in turbulent times


Water will be the primary medium through which climate change will have an impact on their livelihoods, argues Freshwater, climate change and adaptation in the Ganges River Basin, by Heather Hosterman, Peter McCornick, Elizabeth Kistin, Bharat Sharma and Luna Bharati. Management of water must therefore be at the forefront of adaptation.

Water use in agriculture is startling. Globally, irrigated farming accounts for about 68% of water abstraction and 93% of consumption (PDF) - domestic and industrial end-uses make up the remaining 7%. The Ganges basin is at the higher end of such statistics: agriculture accounts for 96% of withdrawals in Bangladesh and Nepal, and 86% in India. But water supplies must also be managed for other, sometimes competing, uses. Hosterman and co-authors consider the likely impacts of climate change, and arising implications for adaptation policy, across the interconnected sectors of agriculture, energy and ecosystems.

Comments about this article, then please click here.


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The Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project's Final Report has been released


The Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project's Final Report "Our global efforts to prevent malnutrition during the first 1,000 days" has been released.

The report summarizes the IYCN Project's accomplishments and offers recommendations for building on IYCN's maternal, infant, and young child nutrition programming that spanned 16 countries over the past five years.

By focusing on prevention of malnutrition during the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy through a child's second birthday, involving communities in improved nutrition, and strengthening health systems, IYCN aimed to improve the nutritional status of mothers and children and to increase children's chances of surviving free of HIV.

These activities resulted in the following achievements:

- Built an enabling environment for improved nutrition
- Strengthened social and behavior change communication programming
- Enhanced complementary feeding programs
- Increased HIV-free survival for the next generation
- Brought women's and children's nutrition to the forefront of agriculture
- Strengthened health systems for healthier mothers and children

For the full report, please click here.


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By UNICEF (2012)

This year's report focuses attention on the needs of children in urban areas.

One billion children live in urban areas, a number that is growing rapidly. Disparities within cities reveal that many children lack access to schools, health care and sanitation, despite living alongside these services.

For further information, please click below.


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Children commonly develop anaemia (low haemoglobin) after birth.  Anaemia is associated with several ill effects, including hindering motor development and learning skills, and impaired immunity. Children are therefore commonly given iron supplements to prevent or treat anaemia.

In countries where malaria is prevalent, it has been suggested that iron supplementation increases the risk of malaria and death.  The high dose of iron which is given as medicine may result in free iron circulating in the blood and is made available to the malaria parasite, promoting its growth.

The attached Cochrane Review (Okebe JU, Yahav D, Shbita R, Paul M) aims to assess the effects of oral iron supplementation in children living in countries where malaria is prevalent. The conclusion of the Review is that iron supplementation (without folic acid) does not adversely affect children living in malaria-endemic areas. The evidence shown in the review is limited by the lack of trials examining the relevant outcomes and the limited information available, so that it was not possible to fully analyse factors that could affect the results, such as the children's baseline level of haemoglobin. Based on the review, routine iron supplementation should not be withheld
from children living in countries where malaria is prevalent.

For the full text of the Review, please click below.


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By Save The Children (2012)

This report analyses the causes of malnutrition, focusing on chronic malnutrition and stunting in children. It identifies solutions that are proven to be effective in terms of direct interventions and indirect interventions.

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By Schmitz J, West KP, Khatry SK, Wu L, LeClerq SC, Karna S, Katz J, Sommer A, Pillion J. In BMJ (2012)

This randomised trial cohort follow-up study shows that Vitamin A supplementation during childhood may reduce the risk of hearing loss as young adults.

For more information click below.


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By World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean (2011)

WHO Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean released its regional strategy and action plan for 2010-2019. The overall goal of the nutrition strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean Region is to improve the nutritional status of people throughout the lifecycle through encouraging countries to reposition nutrition as central to their development agenda.

For more information click below.


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By Michel Pimbert (2012)

This paper highlights research into sustaining local food systems, biodiversity and livelihoods. It showcases how farming communities are taking the lead in action research to revive diverse, locally controlled food systems.

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By Michel Pimbert (2012)

This briefing explains how agricultural research is funded, organised, controlled and practised and how it can have a huge impact on small-scale producers in the global South.

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An IFPRI 2020 Book. Edited by Shenggen Fan and Rajul Pandya-Lorch (2012)

The fundamental purpose of agriculture is not just to produce food and raw materials, but to have healthy, well-nourished people. One of the sector's most important tasks then is to provide food of sufficient quantity and quality to feed and nourish the world's population sustainably so that all people can lead healthy, productive lives. Achieving this goal will require closer collaboration across the sectors of agriculture, nutrition, and health, which have long operated in separate spheres with little recognition of how their actions affect each other.

The full book will be available in February 2012. Meanwhile, a preview chapter from Reshaping Agriculture for Nutrition and Health has been released.

For more information click below.


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Draft Guidelines for the Marketing of Ready to Use Supplemental Foods (RUSFs) for Children were published by Ted Greiner and members of the UNSCN NGO/CSO constituency in Field Exchange 41 (produced by the Emergency Nutrition Network) in April 2011. A number of comments were printed alongside the draft guidance - both the draft guidance and comments can be downloaded here.

Following the Field Exchange article, readers were invited to comment on the draft guidelines. Eleven comments have already been posted on en-net at the following link. We hope to re-ignite this discussion with contributions from the SCN News readership, just join the discussion on en-net at the link above. 


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By CB Barrett (Cornell University), A Binder, J Steets, eds. Routledge (2012)

This book features in-depth analysis on the global governance of food assistance, provides a mapping of key European Union and United States institutions engaged with food assistance, and highlights some of the biggest challenges for food assistance.

One of the chapters particularly focuses on the quality and safety of food assistance and talks about nutrition in emergency food assistance.  

For more information click below


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The Landscape Analysis of readiness to accelerate action in nutrition is a systematic approach to assessing where to invest and how to best invest to accelerate action in nutrition. It has the following three components:

  • Desk analysis of country readiness - This involves comprehensive analysis of secondary-data indicators in 36 countries with a high burden of stunting (these countries were the initial focus of the analysis). The desk analysis uses multiple statistical methods to define country typologies of readiness which was defined by "commitment ̶ willingness to act" and "capacity ̶ ability to act". For the desk review, commitment was measured by "nutrition governance" indicator which was formulated by WHO using key elements required in countries for the processes by which policies and programmes are developed and implemented to achieve nutrition security, and capacity was measured using proxy measure of health care capacity.
  • In-depth country assessments - To date, country assessments had been carried out in 18 countries: Burkina Faso, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Timor-Leste.
  • Nutrition landscape information system (NLIS) (http://www.who.int/nutrition/nlis/).

The tool package of the Landscape Analysis country assessment provides guidance on "how to":
  • plan a country assessment
  • adapt tools for respective country context
  • undertake preliminary desk review (including stakeholder mapping)
  • conduct interviews and collect information
  • analyse data using the analytical framework which provides indicators for assessing readiness as function of commitment and capacity to scale-up nutrition action
  • organise a country stakeholders' consensus meeting

To access the full document, available in English and French, please click here.  For more information, please click here


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New at IFPRI: 2011 Global Food Policy Report



IFPRI launches the 2011 Global Food Policy Report, a new annual publication that provides a comprehensive, research-based analysis of major food policy challenges at the global, regional, national, and local levels.

The report highlights important developments and events in food policy that occurred in 2011, discusses lessons learned, offers policy recommendations, presents IFPRI's food policy tools and indicators, and takes a look forward into 2012.

To read the report online, please click here.


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 The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 results are available!
In 2012, the Copenhagen Consensus Center's flagship project Copenhagen Consensus 2012 provides an answer to the question:

If we had an extra $75 billion to put to good use, which problems would we solve first?

The project, a culmination of 18 months of planning, research-writing and preparation, builds on the success of two past Copenhagen Consensus projects: Copenhagen Consensus 2004 and Copenhagen Consensus 2008.

The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 Expert Panel finds that fighting malnourishment should be the top priority for policy-makers and philantropists.

Read more by clicking below.


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The 2012 edition of the Mediterra report takes the mobilising potential of the Mediterranean Diet as a basis and proposes a multidimensional itinerary involving sociodemographics, health, ecology, enterprise, geo-economics and citizens' initiative.

Produced by CIHEAM (The International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies of Montpellier), the Report was launched at a Press Conference organized in Paris on 7 March 2012.

The report is available in English and French and can be downloaded free of charge.

Click below for more information.


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Aid for Nutrition: Can investments to scale up nutrition actions be accurately tracked?


Action Against Hunger has just released a new report, Aid for Nutrition, which provides donors, aid recipients and other stakeholders with a detailed analysis of current spending on nutrition and of the adequacy of current aid reporting systems. It also provides recommendations on what can be done to scale up the response to undernutrition effectively.

Investments in nutrition are currently inadequate with the majority of funding going towards direct nutrition interventions in response to humanitarian crises, reflecting the short term nature of aid for nutrition. Furthermore, nutrition aid is not always directed to countries with the highest burdens of undernutrition, many donors fail to honour all commitments, and poor donor reporting practices have hindered transparency and accountability. Based on their findings, Action Against Hunger recommends that donors must commit to aid transparency principles by improving reporting practices, that donors and governments increase their investments in direct or nutrition specific interventions, that the treatment and prevention of undernutrition be also targeted in non-emergency situations, and that an annual review of investments in nutrition be done to keep the paucity of funding for nutrition high on the political agenda.

To read the report, please click here. To consult the Action Against Hunger website, please click here.


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The new CMAM Forum has been launched!


The UNSCN is part of the steering group of this Forum, an information sharing mechanism which aims to bring together resources and initiatives related to the management of acute malnutrition. Please follow this link to become a member and access key resources on Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition: http://www.cmamforum.org/


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Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has recently released a briefing paper on the impact of climate change on hunger and under-nutrition. Even in the most optimistic global warming scenario, the effects of climate change on under-nutrition would be devastating, and would undermine current efforts to reduce hunger and ensure good nutrition. Despite the obvious critical situation and strong interconnection, food and nutrition security is still markedly absent in climate change negotiations. 


ACF calls on climate negotiators, governments and donors to focus their attention on the consequences of climate change on under-nutrition, and commit urgently to help the most vulnerable to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable climate and world. Bold and immediate actions are required to address the causes of climate change and the adverse consequences of climate change on hunger and under-nutrition should be recognized when sealing a crucial international agreement.


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As part of the work on implementing the project "Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting", the World Health Organization has worked with various experts to prepare nine papers for a supplement of the Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal. The supplement has been launched at the 20th International Congress on Nutrition.
 
The papers will contribute to ongoing reflections on multiple aspects of the challenges presented by a World Health Assembly 2012 target for stunting reduction and ways to address them.

Click here to access the Maternal & Child Nutrition Journal and the video for the individual article summaries. http://www.who.int/nutrition/healthgrowthproj_maternalchildnut_journal/en/index.html.

See these videos whereby contributing authors to each of the papers present, in their own words, key take-home messages for the reader. 


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The 2013 edition of The State of Food Insecurity in the World  was released on 1 October 2013.

The report presents updated estimates of undernourishment and progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and World Food Summit (WFS) hunger targets. The latest assessment shows that further progress has been made towards the 2015 MDG target, which remains within reach for the developing regions as a whole, although marked differences across regions persist and considerable and immediate additional efforts will be needed.

The 2013 report also presents a broader suite of indicators that aim to capture the multidimensional nature of food insecurity, its determinants and outcomes. Drawing on the suite of indicators, the report also examines the diverse experiences of six countries (Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Nicaragua, Tajikistan and Uganda), finding a mixed picture of progress and setbacks. Together, these country experiences show the importance of social protection and nutrition-enhancing interventions, policies to increase agricultural productivity and rural development, diverse sources of income and long-term commitment to mainstreaming food security and nutrition in public policies and programmes. The new report indicates that a total of 842 million people in 2011-13, or around one in eight people in the world, are estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life, lower than the 868 million reported with reference to 2010-12-term commitment to mainstreaming food security and nutrition in public policies and programmes.

You can download a copy or the publication from the FAO website: www.fao.org/publications/sofi

The executive summary is available in English, FrenchSpanishArabicChinese, Russian.
The data can be downloaded from here.


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UNICEF just released their flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2014 in Numbers. The report titled, Every Child Counts: Revealing disparities, advancing children's rights highlights the importance of data in making progress for children and exposing the unequal access to services and protections that mars the lives of so many.


The statistics in the report bear witness to ongoing violations of children's rights. It adds that innovations in data collection, analysis and dissemination are making it possible to disaggregate data by such factors as location, wealth, sex, and ethnic or disability status, to include children who have been excluded or overlooked by broad averages. The report urges increased investment in innovations that right the wrong of exclusion.


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With growing attention to nutrition-agriculture linkages, understanding how to create nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems is an essential task for the future. This edition of SCN News, entitled, ‘Changing Food Systems for Better Nutrition' provides an overview and insights on how to change food systems for better nutrition. 


This edition feature papers looking at what is going on now in terms of programming and policies, and also papers considering how to accomplish change. The case studies provide concrete examples of how countries and cities are integrating agriculture and nutrition.

This edition also contains an interview with Alan Berg, one of the nutrition pioneers, and provides an enlightening testimony of an individual's efforts to bring nutrition and agriculture together. It also tells the story of a nutritionist winning a Grammy Award.

Access the complete SCN News 40 now and happy reading !!


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Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, discusses unhealthy foods, non-communicable diseases and the right to health in his report submitted to the Human Rights Council. During the 26th session of the Human Rights Council, WHO issued a statement appreciating this report and addressed progress and further work for tackling NCDs.


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This new report by an independent panel of experts takes a close look at where and how food waste occurs and recommends a number of actions that could help reduce the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that are squandered worldwide each year. The report "Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems" was produced by the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).


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A new dichotomous indicator for assessing Women's Dietary Diversity called Minimum Dietary Diversity - Women (MDD-W), was selected and endorsed by multi-disciplinary experts at a consensus meeting lead by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (FANTA) in July 2014.


This indicator that reflects consumption of at least five of ten food groups was selected as part of the Women's Dietary Diversity Project (WDDP) to respond to the rising demand for the use of simple yet valid indicators of women's diet quality, with a specific focus on micronutrient adequacy. 

This WDD score is identified as one of six outcome level indicators in the USAID 10-year multi-sectoral nutrition strategy, and is currently circulated and endorsed for use in relevant fields of practice. Experts aim at the inclusion of this indicator in global monitoring frameworks. To read more, check here.


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A new UN report, the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) released today, raises hope that reaching the MDG target to halving the proportion of world's hungry is still within reach by the end of 2015; 63 developing countries have reached the MDG target, and six more are on track to reach it by 2015.


The report assured a positive trend in the decline of the number of hungry people globally by more than 100 million over the last decade and by more than 200 million since 1990-92. However, 805 million are still chronically undernourished. 

 With the number of undernourished people remaining "unacceptably high", the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP stressed the need to renew the political commitment to tackle hunger and to transform it into concrete actions. In this context, they welcomed the pledge at the 2014 African Union summit in June to end hunger on the continent by 2025. 

The report will be discussed by governments, civil society, and private sector representatives at the 13-18 October meeting of the Committee on World Food Security, at FAO headquarters in Rome, and will be highlighted during the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome from 19-21 November, which FAO is jointly organizing with the World Health Organization. For more information and to download the report, click here.  


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