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15 YEARS OF PROGRESS GONE. We must change the global food systems

Le 15 February, 2023

15 YEARS OF PROGRESS GONE. We must change the global food systems

Covid and the war in Ukraine have contributed to accelerate the bankruptcy of the food system. The progress made in the fight against malnutrition over the past 15 years has been wiped out in two years. How to help those, especially children, who live on less than $3 a day? And how to take into account the impact of global warming who makes things even worse? GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) presents a new strategy to ensure the feeding of the poorest in an online press conference with Lawrence Haddad, its CEO. The latter launched the I-CAN initiative at COP 27 to integrate the issue of food in the fight against global warming. This initiative marked a turning point in the approach to feeding the most vulnerable populations. Lawrence Haddad has received several awards including the Food World Prize for his work to reform the global food system.

Key facts & figures

  • 3 billion cannot afford a healthy diet (80% of Africans) (SOFI 2022)
  • 3-4 billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies (new estimates in Lancet Global Health from GAIN)
  • Projected COVID impacts on wasting +10m and stunting + 2-3m (estimates facilitated by GAIN in Nature Food)

About Lawrence Haddad
Dr Lawrence Haddad is GAIN’s Executive Director since 2016. In such capacity, he was one of the movers and shakers behind the I-CAN initiative at COP27 in 2022; he chaired action Track 1 of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit to ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all; and he is also the co-convener of the Standing Together for Nutrition in response to the COVID19 pandemic and the current food crisis.

In June 2018, the World Food Prize Foundation awarded the 2018 World Food Prize to Lawrence Haddad, and David Nabarro, former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General. Announcing the award – Ambassador Quinn, World Food Prize President – cited the recipients for their “extraordinary intellectual and policy leadership in bringing maternal and child nutrition to the forefront of the global food security agenda and thereby significantly reducing childhood stunting.”

In December 2022, in the first New Year Honours List of King Charles III in the UK, Dr Lawrence Haddad was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for “services to International Nutrition, Food and Agriculture”. This is an award reserved for overseas and international work that honours individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. The Order’s motto is “Token of a better age”.

What Lawrence and GAIN aim to achieve
Many member states were reshaping food supply chains to prepare for the post-pandemic era. But the war in Ukraine has severely disrupted food systems once again. A lack of consistent access to safe and nutritious food diminishes dietary quality, resulting in negative consequences for nutrition and overall well-being, in turn causing long-term damage to individuals, communities, and societies. 

It is very clear we cannot address climate change without addressing food system transformation. Malnutrition and hunger are perhaps the world’s most pressing issues. Millions of people, living in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Central America, will be at risk of malnutrition and hunger by 2050 if we don’t adapt to the effects of climate change. The production, distribution, and consumption of our food are all major contributors to increasing greenhouse gases, water usage and deforestation, to cite only three impacts. We need to reduce these impacts.

GAIN will focus on protecting the most vulnerable from shocks and target our efforts more internationally to individuals living on $3.2 or less per day. Food systems need to become more diverse and locally sustainable to be safer and more resilient to shocks while reaching the most vulnerable.

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Lawrence Haddad

Executive Director, GAIN

Bhuvaneswari Balasubramanian

Acting Country Director for India, GAIN

Michael Ojo

Country Director in Nigeria, GAIN

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