Letter from the Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a host of other challenges created a new reality in global micronutrient nutrition in 2021, rendering ‘business as usual’ obsolete. The Micronutrient Forum (Forum) responded by ensuring our existing workstreams focused on activities that could impact change and proactively fostered new workstreams to meet new challenges. Most importantly, we collaborated with partners to ensure the field worked in harmony to achieve shared priorities and goals.
The year began with optimism for global health as COVID-19 vaccines emerged, and for global nutrition as we embarked on a historic Year of Action on Nutrition with two significant nutrition-focused events: the UN Food Systems (UNFSS) and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summits.
The year also marked a new era for the Forum. Our organization grew in staff, impact, and determination, further building and demonstrating our model of championing collaboration – with renewed commitments to work towards a world without micronutrient malnutrition.
I am proud of the Forum’s achievements in 2021 and I am honored to present our first Annual Report. This inaugural report focuses on how the Forum’s Year of Action, through evidence and partnerships, led to collective impact.
Key highlights of 2021 include:
- New data and evidenced-based policy recommendations on the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global malnutrition, produced by the Standing Together for Nutrition (ST4N) consortium, helped usher new commitments and millions of dollars of investments at the Nutrition for Growth Summit.
- World Health Organization’s inclusion of Multiple Micronutrient Supplements (MMS) on the Essential Medicine’s List, resulting from collective action by the Forum and New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), which will accelerate national adoption and scale-up of MMS and improvements in maternal nutrition and birth outcomes.
- Initiating and building broad stakeholder support for an alliance for anemia actions through the UN Food Systems Summit and supporting its inclusion in a N4G commitment by WHO and UNICEF.
- Launching a Mighty Nutrients advocacy agenda with partners which inspired 160 people from over 50 countries to come together and sign a Call to Action that urges leaders and policymakers to increase investments in proven and cost-effective micronutrient interventions.
These achievements demonstrate the value of collaboration platforms: none of this would have happened in isolation. The power of evidence generation and synthesis, fruitful partnerships, common voices, and collective action by the Forum’s partners and stakeholders led to impact.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support we received this year from donors, stakeholders, and our esteemed Board of Directors and Advisory Council members. Their counsel and guidance have proven to be an invaluable resource and the Micronutrient Forum is privileged to have access to this world-class pool of expertise. And I’m especially proud of our growing team of highly skilled, capable, determined, and passionate professionals working together remotely, from different corners of the world.
Moving into 2022, I look forward to continuing our work to drive existing and new platforms, preparing for our 6th Global Conference in 2023, and advocating for these mighty nutrients that make a powerful difference to lives across the globe.
Saskia Osendarp, Ph.D