World Alliance for
|Nutrition | World Declaration on Nutrition|
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We, the Ministers and the Plenipotentiaries representing 159 states and the
European Economic Community at the International Conference on Nutrition
(Rome, December 1992), declare our determination to eliminate hunger
and to reduce all forms of malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable
in a world that has both the knowledge and the resources to end this human catastrophe. We recognize
that access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is a right of each
individual. We recognize that globally there is enough food for all and that
inequitable access is the main problem. Bearing in mind the right to an
adequate standard of living, including food, contained in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, we pledge to act in solidarity to ensure
that freedom from hunger becomes a reality. We also declare our firm commitment
to work together to ensure sustained nutritional well-being for all people in a peaceful, just and environmentally
Despite appreciable worldwide improvements in life expectancy, adult
literacy and nutritional status, we all view with the deepest concern the
unacceptable fact that about 780 million people in developing countries,
20 percent of their combined population, still do not have access to
enough food to meet their basic daily needs for nutritional well-being.
We are especially distressed by the high prevalence and increasing numbers
of malnourished children under five years of age in parts of Africa, Asia
and Latin America and the Caribbean. Moreover, more than 2,000 million
people, mostly women and children, are deficient in one or more micronutrients: babies continue to be
born mentally retarded as a result of iodine deficiency; children go blind
and die of vitamin A deficiency; and enormous numbers of women and children are adversely affected by iron
deficiency. Hundreds of millions of people also suffer from communicable
and non-communicable diseases caused by contaminated food and water. At the same time, chronic
non-communicable diseases related to excessive or unbalanced dietary intakes
often lead to premature deaths in both developed and developing countries.
We call on the United Nations to consider urgently the issue of declaring
an International Decade of Food and Nutrition, within existing structures
and available resources, in order to give additional emphasis to achieving
the objectives of this World Declaration on Nutrition. Such consideration
should give particular emphasis to the food and nutrition problems of Africa,
and of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
We recognize that poverty and the lack of education, which are often the
effects of underdevelopment, are the primary causes of hunger and
undernutrition. There are poor people in most societies who do not have adequate
access to food, safe water and sanitation, health services and education,
which are the basic requirements for nutritional well-being.
We commit ourselves to ensuring that development programmes and policies
lead to a sustainable improvement in human welfare, are mindful of the environment and are conducive
to better nutrition and health for present and future generations. The
multifunctional roles of agriculture, especially with regard to food security,
nutrition, sustainable agriculture and the conservation of natural resources,
are of particular importance in this context. We must implement at family, household, community,
national and international levels, coherent agriculture, animal husbandry,
fisheries, food, nutrition, health, education, population, environmental,
economic and social policies and programmes to achieve and maintain balance between the population and
available resources and between rural and urban areas.
Slow progress in solving nutrition problems reflects the lack of human and
financial resources, institutional capacity and policy commitment in many
countries needed to assess the nature, magnitude and causes of nutrition
problems and to implement concerted programmes to overcome them. Basic
and applied scientific research, as well as food and nutrition surveillance
systems, are needed to more clearly identify the factors that contribute to
the problems of malnutrition and the ways and means of eliminating these
problems, particularly for women, children and aged persons.
In addition, nutritional well-being is hindered by the continuation of social,
economic and gender disparities; of discriminatory practices and laws;
of floods, cyclones, drought, desertification and other natural calamities;
and of many countries' inadequate budgetary allocations for agriculture, health, education and
other social services.
Wars, occupations, civil disturbances and natural disasters, as well as human
rights violations and inappropriate socio-economic policies, have resulted
in tens of millions of refugees, displaced persons, war-affected noncombatant
civilian populations and migrants, who are among the most nutritionally vulnerable groups. Resources
for rehabilitating and caring for these groups are often extremely inadequate
and nutritional deficiencies are common. All responsible parties should cooperate to ensure the safe
and timely passage and distribution of appropriate food and medical supplies
to those in need, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
Changing world conditions and the reduction of international tensions have
improved the prospects for a peaceful solution of conflicts and have given us
an opportunity as never before to redirect our resources increasingly towards
productive and socially useful purposes to ensure the nutritional wellbeing
of all people, especially the poor, deprived and vulnerable.
We recognize that the nutritional wellbeing of all people is a pre-condition
for the development of societies and that it should be a key objective of
progress in human development. It must be at the centre of our socioeconomic
development plans and strategies. Success is dependent on fostering the participation of the people
and the community and multisectoral actions at all levels, taking into account their long-term effects.
Shorter-term measures to improve nutritional well-being may need to be initiated or strengthened to complement
the benefits resulting from longer-term development efforts.
Policies and programmes must be directed towards those most in need. Our
priority should be to implement people-focused policies and programmes
that increase access to and control of resources by the rural and urban poor,
raise their productive capacity and incomes and strengthen their capacity to
care for themselves. We must support and promote initiatives by people and
communities and ensure that the poor participate in decisions that affect their
lives. We fully recognize the importance of the family unit in providing adequate
food, nutrition and a proper caring environment to meet the physical, mental,
emotional and social needs of children and other vulnerable groups, including
the elderly. In circumstances where the family unit can no longer fulfill these responsibilities adequately,
the community and/or government should offer a support network to the
vulnerable. We, therefore, undertake to strengthen and promote the family
unit as the basic unit of society.
The right of women and adolescent girls to adequate nutrition is crucial.
Their health and education must be improved. Women should be given the opportunity to participate in the
decision-making process and to have increased access to and control of resources.
It is particularly important to provide family planning services to both men and women and to provide
support for women, especially working women, whether paid or unpaid,
throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding and during the early childhood
period. Men should also be motivated through appropriate education to assume an active role in the
promotion of nutritional well-being.
Food aid may be used to assist in emergencies, to provide relief to refugees
and displaced persons and to support household food security and community and economic development.
Countries receiving emergency food aid should be provided with sufficient
resources to enable them to move on from the rehabilitation phase to development, so that they will be
in a position to cope with future emergencies. Care must be taken to avoid
creating dependency and to avoid negative impacts on food habits and
on local food production and marketing. Before food aid is reduced or discontinued,
steps should be taken to alert recipient countries as much in advance as possible so that they can
identify alternative sources and implement other approaches. Where appropriate,
food aid may be channelled through NGOs with local and popular participation, in accordance with the
domestic legislation of each country.
We reaffirm our obligations as nations and as an international community to
protect and respect the need for nutritionally adequate food and medical
supplies for civilian populations situated in zones of conflict. We affirm
in the context of international humanitarian law that food must not be
used as a tool for political pressure. Food aid must not be denied because
of political affiliation, geographic location, gender, age, ethnic, tribal or
We recognize the fact that each government has the prime responsibility
to protect and promote food security and the nutritional well-being of its
people, especially the vulnerable groups. However, we also stress that
such efforts of low-income countries should be supported by actions of the
international community as a whole. Such actions should include an increase
in official development assistance in order to reach the accepted United Nations target of 0.7 percent
of the GNP of developed countries as reiterated at the 1992 United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development.(1) Also, further renegotiation
or alleviation of external debt could contribute in a substantive manner
to the nutritional well-being in medium-income countries as well as in low-income ones.
We acknowledge the importance of further liberalization and expansion of
world trade, which would increase foreign exchange earnings and employment
in developing countries. Compensatory measures will continue to be needed to protect adversely affected
developing countries and vulnerable groups in medium-and low income countries from negative effects
of structural adjustment programmes.
We reaffirm the objectives for human development, food security, agriculture,
rural development, health, nutrition and environment and sustainable
development enunciated in a number of international conferences and
documents.(2) We reiterate our commitment to the nutritional goals
of the Fourth United Nations Development Decade and the World Summit
As a basis for the Plan of Action for Nutrition and guidance for formulation of national plans of action, including the development of measurable goals and objectives within time frames, we pledge to make all efforts to eliminate before the end of this decade:
famine and famine-related deaths;
starvation and nutritional deficiency diseases in communities affected by natural and man-made disasters;
iodine and vitamin A deficiencies.
We also pledge to reduce substantially within this decade:
starvation and widespread chronic hunger;
undernutrition, especially among children, women and the aged;
other important micronutrient deficiencies, including iron;
diet-related communicable and non-communicable diseases;
social and other impediments to optimal breast-feeding;
inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene, including unsafe drinking water.
We resolve to promote active cooperation among governments, multilateral,
bilateral and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, communities
and individuals to eliminate progressively the causes that lead to the
scandal of hunger and all forms of malnutrition in the midst of abundance.
With a clear appreciation of the intrinsic value of human life and the dignity it commands, we adopt the attached Plan of Action for Nutrition and affirm our determination to revise or prepare, before the end of 1994, our national plans of action, including attainable goals and measurable targets, based on the principles and relevant strategies in the attached Plan of Action for Nutrition. We pledge to implement it.
(1) "Developed countries reaffirm their commitments
to reach the accepted United Nations target of 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA and, to
the extent that they have not yet achieved that target, agree to augment their aid programmes
in order to reach that target as soon as possible and to ensure prompt and effective
implementation of Agenda 21. Some countries have agreed to reach the target
by the year 2000. ... Those countries that have already reached the target are to be
commended and encouraged to continue to contribute to the common effort to
make available the substantial additional resources that have to be mobilized. Other
developed countries, in line with their support for reform efforts in developing countries,
agree to make their best efforts to increase their level of ODA. ..." (Report of
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992, paragraph
(2) The World Food Conference, 1974; the Alma Ata Conference on Primary Health Care, 1978; the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, 1979; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979, especially articles 12 and 13; the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding, 1990; the Montreal Policy Conference on Micronutrient Malnutrition, 1991; the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992.
NUTRITION GOALS OF THE
FOURTH UNITED NATIONS
Member States must give effect to agreements already reached to make all efforts to meet four goals during the decade:
NUTRITION GOALS OF THE
WORLD SUMMIT FOR CHILDREN