The Africa Union (AU) recognizes the magnitude of the problems of hunger, poverty and food and nutrition insecurity which has resulted in malnutrition particularly affecting children and women. We acknowledge and appreciate the global initiatives to address these problems as demonstrated by the launch of the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) in September 2010.
In response to the unacceptable hunger and malnutrition situation, African Heads of State and Governments adopted the Maputo Declaration in 2003 aimed at reducing hunger, poverty, and malnutrition on the Continent through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). In April 2004, an all Africa Conference held in Kampala under the theme “Assuring Food and Nutrition Security in Africa by 2020: prioritizing actions, strengthening actors and facilitating partnerships” which among others proposed an Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (AFNSD). Subsequently, in July 2010, the AU Summit held in Kampala, Uganda passed a Decision on the AFNSD to be commemorated annually on 30th of October. The AFNSD was officially launched in Lilongwe, Malawi in October 2010. Furthermore, the African Ministers of Health committed to the commemoration of the AFNSD during the 5th Conference of African Health Ministers held in Windhoek, Namibia in April of 2011.
The overall objective of the AFNSD is to provide a stakeholder platform and leadership at all levels, and to facilitate discussions between governments, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, farmers and development partners. Sharing research results, experiences, lessons learnt and knowledge arising from actions taken to concretize the reduction of poverty, hunger food and nutrition insecurity are key in staging the AFNSD. Therefore the main purpose of the AFNSD is to serve as a rallying point in intensifying commitments at all levels and all times to address the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity and malnutrition in Africa.
While the SUN one year country progress reports are being reviewed in New York, AU and NEPAD are preparing this years’ commemoration of the AFNSD under the theme “Investing in Intra-African Trade for Food and Nutrition Security”. This theme is in line with the theme for the 2012 January AU Summit, and is also linked to five major sub themes which relate to AU-NEPAD’s food and nutrition flagship programmes, namely the Dietary Diversity, Home Grown School Feeding, Food Fortification, Maternal and Childs’ Health and Nutrition and the Interrelationship between trade and food and nutrition security.
Boosting Intra-Africa Trade will contribute to poverty alleviation, improved food and nutrition security, household income, increased food production, access to markets and economic growth which are all relevant to the issues being deliberated in New York this week.
In conclusion success of the SUN and related Initiatives in Africa will largely depend on capacity building and use of the effective structures and policies within Africa. In view of this, AU and NEPAD urge the multiple stakeholders involved in Scaling Up Food and Nutrition Security in Africa to help strengthen the management and implementation of this initiative.
We invite everyone to participate in and provide support for the first commemoration of the AFNSD on the continent on October 30th in all AU Member States.