More global leadership in food and nutrition is sorely needed

By Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Chair of Action Track 1 of the United Nations Food Systems Summit

Until every child in the world goes to bed nourished properly, we cannot rest. Our food systems are moving us in the wrong directions: hunger levels are rising, undernutrition levels are at severe risk of rising, obesity is increasing, we are off track to meet climate targets, biodiversity is being squandered, not enough decent jobs are being created and community resilience is being undermined. 

Recent findings from the Standing Together for Nutrition consortium published as a pre-print under review in Nature Foods, estimate that by 2022 this nutrition crisis could result in an additional 9.3 million wasted and 2.6 million stunted children under 5, with an additional 168,000 child deaths, just due to the pandemic.

America is back to global leadership, and we need it. U.S. leadership is crucial if we are to transform food systems to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

That is why, together with 23 World Food Prize Laureates from across the globe, dedicated to driving change in food systems, I am calling on the leadership of the United States Administration to help end world hunger and malnutrition. 


Today the World Food Prize Laureates submitted an open letter to the President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, calling on the new Biden-Harris administration to help achieve the global goals on food and nutrition. 

In the open letter to the Administration of President Biden we have four calls to action:

  1. Restore the great tradition of American global leadership to end hunger and malnutrition
  2. Play a key leadership role in the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit and other global initiatives
  3. Refresh U.S. evidence-based policy and investment to achieve the goal of ending hunger, and
  4. Expand the highly successful USAID Feed the Future initiative and Innovation Labs to reach more countries.

This work is important in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September when the world will gather to raise awareness of the current challenges and rally around and behind countries’, civil societies’ and companies’ solutions to transform food systems. In December the Nutrition for Growth Summit will continue the conversations and accelerate action for progress on nutrition. 

This moment in time has created an opportunity for everyone to think differently and act differently: with ambition, with solidarity and with lasting impact. American leadership can be a beacon that helps to light the way and a catalyst for action that gets us to a world in 2030 where we live within our planetary boundaries, everyone is well-nourished, and no one goes to bed hungry.


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