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Improving Nutrition Can Save Lives – and the Planet

Investing in better nutrition can yield significant health and economic benefits and help to tackle climate change. Nutrition, agriculture, and climate experts must collaborate to seize that opportunity and build a future in which people consume the food they need while preserving the planet.

TORONTO – When world leaders, activists, campaigners, and chief executives gathered last month at the United Nations in New York City to discuss the world’s most pressing challenges, the climate crisis dominated the headlines. By contrast, nutrition – one of the cornerstones of human, economic, and environmental progress – received surprisingly little attention.

True, world leaders began the week of UN General Assembly meetings by signing a landmark political declaration on universal health coverage. But although the declaration recognized nutrition as a contributing factor to good health, it did not single it out as a priority. That was not unusual: policymakers often cite inadequate diet as a key barrier to progress, but only rarely make better nutrition the focus of action. By taking this approach, the world is missing a huge opportunity.

World Food Day (October 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) offer an opportunity to address some of the misconceptions regarding nutrition. This is a vitally important effort, because each of us can play a role in helping to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030 – one of the targets of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.

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