By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA) formed in July 2013 with the aim of providing a platform for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Zimbabwe to contribute to the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiatives is concerned that there is no substantial report to provide information on the progress that has so far been made on nutrition issues in the country.
According to Kudakwashe Zombe, ZCSOSUNA National Coordinator, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2019, Zimbabwe has made progress in meeting its 2013 commitments but there were challenges in assessing the progress due to language which was not clear and specific and also the tracking systems and capacity to track the progress was poor.
“It is against this background that we as the civil society are calling on the government to seize this perfect opportunity presented by Japan Nutrition for Growth 2020 Summit to make commitments which are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) and rejuvenate the fight against malnutrition,” Zombe said.
The alliance is made up of several international, regional, national and community based organisations and networks working in various areas including nutrition sensitive programs, WASH programs, livelihoods, small-holder farmers, human rights defenders, women’s groups, humanitarian aid assistance agencies, advocacy and research entities, consumer groups and many others.
According to ZCSOSUNA, the year 2020 presents a perfect opportunity for the Zimbabwe government to renew its commitment towards the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.
It is reported that in December this year, governments of several nations with support from the Japan government will convene and take stock of previous Nutrition For Growth (N4G) commitments and the same platform will be used to renew and make new commitments towards improving the nutrition status of citizens.
It is added that the Tokyo N4G summit provides a historic opportunity to transform the way the world tackles malnutrition. The summit signals the beginning of a new race toward a healthier, better-nourished future, a race to end malnutrition in all its forms in all countries and Zimbabwe cannot be left out, according to ZCSOSUNA.
It is added that this comes at a critical time, with only five years to achieve the World Health Assembly targets on Maternal, Infant and Young Child nutrition and 10 years to reach the SDGs.
It is reported that the commitments to be made at the summit will focus on the following core areas, health, food, resilience, promoting data-driven accountability, securing new investment and driving innovation in nutrition.
“As the country’s Civil Society Alliance in Scaling Up Nutrition, we applaud the government of Zimbabwe for making a commitment during the 2013 London Nutrition for Growth Summit, the commitment was aimed at putting nutrition at the centre of the country’s development agenda and making good nutrition one of the top political priorities as a way of facilitating increased domestic financing for nutrition,” Zombe said.
The government has been urged to formulate SMART commitments which are in line with the summit’s core areas namely health, food, resilience, promoting data-driven accountability, securing new investment and driving innovation in nutrition and to periodically report on progress made in honouring the 2020 commitments.
ZCSOSUNA says that good nutrition is a basic need for everyone, everywhere.
The alliance also adds that imagine a world where all women and children have the nutrition they need to live healthy, productive lives, nurturing their families and communities and putting the world on a path towards greater economic prosperity.
It is added that nutrition fuels ambitions such as for children to go to school ready to learn, stay in school, and go on to better jobs. Nutrition fuels health, providing the foundation for the well-being and that of future generations. Nutrition also fuels progress, investing in collective brainpower meaning a more productive workforce and thriving economies.
It is also added that nutrition fuels the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), averting malnutrition will help achieve at least 12 of the 17 SDGs and help create a healthy, prosperous, and stable world in which no one is left behind.
ZCSOSUNA says that investing in nutrition is also one of the best buys in global health and development: for every $1 invested in nutrition, $16 is returned to the local economy.
The alliance adds that the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit provides a historic opportunity to transform the way the world tackles the global challenge of malnutrition. The Summit continues the N4G legacy and signals the beginning of a new race towards a healthier, better-nourished future, a race towards ending malnutrition in all its forms in all countries.
“This requires ensuring that all people, including the most vulnerable, have access to safe, affordable and nutritious food by 2030, as called for by the SDGs,” ZCSOSUNA said.