ST4N, UNICEF and WFP Launch the Global Resilience Report

Photo credit:  WFP/Evelyn Fey

The Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium (ST4N) launches the Global Resilience Report, in partnership with UN agencies UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

This milestone report builds on the lessons of the polycrisis – a devastating combination of factors, including the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate and economic crises – with policy recommendations to safeguard nutrition during future crises. It highlights the positive impacts that can be achieved when governments respond quickly and strengthen the adaptive and absorptive capacities of their systems, such as shifting essential nutrition services across delivery platforms, prioritizing support for the most vulnerable, utilizing adaptive social protection programmes, scaling up food fortification, and employing social and behavior change programs.

Many countries purposely invested in strengthening programs and policies to make them better equipped and more accountable for nutrition results. The report highlights these success stories from around the globe. For example, India’s response to the polycrisis was deliberate, rapid, and flexible, mobilizing its extensive national social protection system, as well as other systems, to safeguard access to nutritious diets, essential services and positive nutrition and care practices, and improve food security for the most vulnerable. Ghana adapted its iron-folic acid program to deliver through the health system instead of through schools, which helped sustain coverage during school closures. Indonesia leveraged community capacity by adapting its early detection program for children’s acute malnutrition to a family-centered approach, using mobile-technology for training.

The report also documents the devastating impact of the polycrisis on health and nutrition. From 2020 to 2022, the number of acutely malnourished children rose sharply (+20%) in the countries most affected by the global food and nutrition crisis and remains above pre-pandemic levels. Acute malnutrition among pregnant and breastfeeding women and adolescent girls rose by 25 per cent in the same countries. In 2022, 391 million more people worldwide were facing food insecurity than in 2020, with women bearing the heaviest burden.

To build resilience in the face of crises, the report authors recommend that countries put in place policies and programs that enable all systems (food, health, school nutrition, WASH, and social protection) to be adaptive, absorptive and transformative. The focus on the prevention of malnutrition should be aided by strengthening the predictability and flexibility of funding to build stronger and more resilient systems. Improved data collection and more robust information systems can detect early changes in the determinants of nutrition and assist in better targeting of vulnerable households.

It is encouraging to learn of the extraordinary ways in which nations have responded to protect nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises described in this report,”  said Saskia Osendarp, Executive Director, Micronutrient Forum. “There is a unique opportunity now to leverage these lessons of resilience to build more sustainable systems and a healthy and equitable future for children and families everywhere.

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