The high-level meeting on the theme of the African Union Year of Nutrition 2022 held December 6th-8th in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire culminated in the endorsement of the Abidjan Declaration by African Union member states. The declaration is a call to action to translate commitments into action to accelerate investment, implementation and coordination to improve nutrition and food security in the continent.
A CALL TO ACTION
“Accelerate investment, implementation and coordination to improve nutrition and food security in Africa”
We, the leaders of governmental action of the member states of the African Union, meeting in Abidjan, on 8 December 2022, as part of the implementation of the roadmap of the African Union Year of Nutrition 2022 theme on nutrition resilience and food security to examine the multiple challenges posed by hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and identify actions and strategies to address them.
We salute the leadership of H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, for his advocacy with his peers led to the adoption by the African Union of the theme for the year 2022 and for hosting this high-level meeting jointly organized by Côte d’Ivoire and the African Union. Let us also salute His Majesty Letsie III, King of the Kingdom of Lesotho and African Union Champion for Nutrition, for his actions to promote nutrition on the continent.
We express our gratitude to the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) for their efforts in promoting the nutrition agenda on the continent since 2018.
Finally, we commend the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, as well as all partners and stakeholders for their cooperation and support in advocating for an enabling environment for financing and investing in nutrition in situations of peace and stability, as well as in times of conflict and crisis of all kinds.
“We commend the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, as well as all partners and stakeholders for their cooperation and support in advocating for an enabling environment for financing and investing in nutrition.
— African Union member states
- Considering the long-term vision of Africa’s Agenda 2063, as well as the common African aspirations adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union based, inter alia, on the potential for well-nourished and healthy populations with a special focus on women, adolescents and children
- Taking note of the continental policies and key commitments of the African Union, including the Malabo Declaration on Nutrition Security for Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa [Assembly/AU/Decl.4 (XXIII)], which recognizes that food security without improved nutrition is not conducive to the desired inclusive socio-economic outcomes, given the increasing number of people affected by hunger and malnutrition; the African Regional Nutrition Strategy 2015-2016; the Conference Decision on Home School Feeding for 2016 (Assembly/AU/Dec.589 (XXVI)), among others. Recognizing, furthermore, the global nutrition targets agreed by the World Health Assembly (WHA), and the WHO nutrition guidelines for achieving these targets and taking into account the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13 and 17.
- Recognizing that human, social and economic capital is the key to development and that it contributes to improving the lives of individuals, as well as to increasing the earnings and incomes of countries.
- Recognizing nutritional security, in addition to food security, as a key human rights issue and the joint efforts to address the continental food crisis to directly address the needs of the most nutritionally vulnerable people (e.g. women of childbearing age, infants and young children).
- Taking note of the findings of the study on Cost of Hunger and undernutrition in Africa, including the impact of child undernutrition on health, education and productivity, and stressing the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration between all sectors.
- Resolved to ensure alignment of national strategic objectives with the continental and global nutrition and food security agenda for mutual implementation and accountability.
- Observing with concern the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in all its forms on the continent, as well as its complex and multifactorial root causes.
- Noting with concern that despite significant achievements in many countries, challenges continue to undermine the efforts of Member States, including the increasing and negative impact of climate change on food security, health, social protection, water supply and sanitation which are fundamental to good nutrition.
- Recognizing nutrition as a factor of social cohesion and resilience of our African populations, communities and countries.
- Highlighting the new “Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN)” and Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transitions Initiative (FAST) launched at COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh calling for a focus on climate change adaptation efforts and building nutrition resilience to support the outcomes of COP27 related to the establishment of Risk and Damage Fund.
- Noting that the global nutrition community is making nutrition a development agenda on the continent with a particular focus on increasing investment in Africa.
- Welcoming the conclusions of the Abidjan high-level meeting which, taking note of the efforts already made at national, regional and continental levels in the field of nutrition, calls for their reinforcement and for the adoption of a common African position to fight against all forms of malnutrition.
In this regard, in order to achieve very rapidly the targets of the 2014 Malabo Declaration on the eradication of hunger, the reduction of child stunting to 10% and underweight to 5% by 2025, we agree on the following:
- Act to end malnutrition in all its forms, taking particular account of the specific needs of all children, including the youngest, adolescent girls, women, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, as well as people in humanitarian crises, with a special focus on women and children in the 1,000-day window between conception and the child’s second birthday.
- Take into account the full range of determinants of malnutrition and hunger that vary from country to country and especially their interconnectedness.
- Take urgent action and build strong partnerships in a comprehensive, systemic, synergistic and coordinated approach by all stakeholders, including governments, civil society, the public/private sector, the research community, women and youth, to accelerate progress on nutrition and food security.
- Adopt sustainable agri-food systems that are climate-sensitive and environmentally friendly including the use of drought-resistant indigenous varieties, resilient health systems with universal health coverage, inclusive of sanitation and drinking water systems, effective education/literacy and social protection systems for all, including young children, the poorest and most nutritionally vulnerable.
- Strengthen and invest in the national multisectoral coordination framework with the participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, the public/private sector, academia and research, women and youth, for a convergence of interventions as a relevant approach to accelerate the improvement of the nutritional status of the population.
- Make nutrition programs gender sensitive and adequately address gender-related barriers to accessing quality nutrition programs and services.
- Include target beneficiaries, especially women and adolescents’ in the design, implementation, review and improvement of programs to ensure that their unique needs are addressed.
- Adopt according to the realities of each country, an adequate anchoring of the coordination platform facilitating the responsibility and accountability of each sector concerned by the issue of nutrition, notably agriculture, health, water/sanitation, education/literacy, trade, industry, women empowerment, among others.
- Strengthen the legislative, regulatory and normative framework for nutrition
and promote the adoption of a continental policy framework to integrate nutrition into national health, agricultural development, sociaprotection, education programmes.
- Strengthen data management and information systems, knowledge generation and dissemination to inform decision making taking into account adequate budget allocation for state sovereignty in nutrition data.
- Mobilize financial and human resources for priority nutrition interventions, such as Home Grown School Feeding programs both at national and local levels. Mobilize through public private sector and innovative financing, such as taxation on certain imported products to ensure effective and self-sustaining program investments in nutrition.
- Make nutrition a priority in government programming and budgeting by developing and adopting a nutrition financing target to ensure resources for implementation, that include both dedicated nutrition budgets and sectoral budgets.
- Increase strategic investments to better address climate-related threats to food and nutrition security in order to achieve the long-term goal of sustainable, quality and safe food for all in Africa.
- Strengthen at the continental level the mechanism for monitoring commitments, traceability of funding and nutrition interventions, in coherence with national systems, through the creation of an African Nutrition Coordination Agency supported by sub-regional offices.
- Enhance food security and nutrition resilience through intra-African trade in agro-food systems and food control systems as part of the implementation of the AfCFTA: ENCOURAGE all African Union member states to ratify the protocol on the treaty establishing the African Economic Community on Free Movement of Persons and the Rights of Residence with a view to facilitating and increasing intra-African trade.
- Create and strengthen existing opportunities for mutual learning and experience sharing among member States and regional economic communities.
- Call on the African Union Commission to ensure the implementation and follow-up of the recommendations of the Abidjan high-level meeting on the African Union 2022 theme on nutrition Resilience and food security.
- Advocate on the occasion of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, that the activities of the African Union roadmap on the theme of the year be extended beyond 2022, in view of the persistence of the multifaceted challenges facing the continent in the areas of nutrition and food security.
Signed December 8th, 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire