GHI and private sector make their mark on ICN2

Posted by on February 9th, 2015 | 0 Comments »

By Ann Steensland, Senior Policy Associate

For the last year, Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) has been actively engaged in the consultations and negotiations for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) which was held in Rome from November 19-21, 2014.  High-level government officials from more than 170 countries were in attendance. Special guest speakers included His Holiness Pope Francis, Queen Letizia of Spain, and Melinda Gates. The member states unanimously adopted the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action.  Each country presented a progress report on their efforts to reduce malnutrition and obesity.  (Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA, spoke on behalf of the U.S.  Read his remarks here.)

High-level government representatives from more than 170 countries attended ICN2.  Photo credit: FAO

High-level government representatives from more than 170 countries attended ICN2. Photo credit: FAO

“Food systems are constantly evolving…Every type of food system offers opportunities to improve nutrition.” – GHI’s plenary session statement at ICN2

Ninety private sector representatives from 24 countries representing all parts of the agri-food value chain were on hand for the three day event.  Ann Steensland, Senior Policy Associate, represented GHI along with representatives from three GHI member companies: Elanco, John Deere, and Monsanto.

GHI enjoyed significant visibility during ICN2, including an opportunity to address the ICN2 plenary.  Dr. Olivier Espeisse, Director of EU and Africa Government Affairs for Elanco, spoke on behalf of GHI.  Listen to his remarks here.  Dr. Espeisse was also selected as a private sector respondent at a side event on the post-2015 development agenda hosted by the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and Brazil.

Dr. Olivier Espeisse of Elanco addresses the ICN2 plenary on behalf of GHI.  Photo credit: FAO

Dr. Olivier Espeisse of Elanco addresses the ICN2 plenary on behalf of GHI. Photo credit: FAO

“[Nutritious food systems] must be economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. A nutritious food system needs to create “value” for the actors along the entire food supply chain.” – GHI’s plenary session statement at ICN2

GHI member companies had the opportunity to meet the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Director General, Jose Graziano de Silva and Deputy Director-General of Operations, Dan Gustafson, as well as Dr. Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a pre-conference event.  The private sector delegation also met high-level representatives of more than 40 countries during bi-lateral meetings with the USA & Canada; Australia & New Zealand; European Union; Pakistan; The Netherlands, African regional group and India.

“The private sector stands ready to partner with governments and civil society to continue to make local and global food systems more nutritious and sustainable.” – GHI’s plenary session statement at ICN2

The critical role of the private sector in reducing malnutrition and obesity was recognized throughout the conference.  Many country representatives drew attention to the contribution of the private sector during their plenary interventions, including: Australia, Canada, Guinea, Italy, Malawi, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Ukraine and the U.S.  In bi-lateral meetings, side sessions, and one-on-one conversations, it was clear that country governments are eager to expand their partnerships with the private sector as they seek to tackle their nutritional challenges.

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