Children at Mulanda Primary School

Action Against Stunting Hub at COP28

COP28 side event: Tackling micronutrient malnutrition in a warming world

10 December 2023, Sunday | 11:15 – 12:30 GMT | Health Pavilion, Blue Zone, Thematic Arena 2, Building 89, Food and Health, Upper floor, Expo City Dubai

The Health Pavilion, organized by WHO in partnership with the Wellcome Trust and other collaborators, is hosting a 2-week program of events at the COP28 UN Climate Conference. The aim of the pavilion is to bring together the global health community and key stakeholders from various sectors to ensure that health and equity are given due importance in climate negotiations. The program will showcase evidence, initiatives, and solutions to maximize the health benefits of addressing climate change across regions, sectors, and communities. You can watch the live stream of the event here.

Background

Climate change significantly threatens global food systems and nutrition, disrupting agricultural production, reducing food quality, and exacerbating food insecurity. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and shifting precipitation patterns are altering crop yields, threatening livestock production, and reducing freshwater availability for irrigation.

Rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events disrupt agricultural production, reducing the availability and quality of micronutrient-rich foods. These changes are particularly detrimental to vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, young children, and individuals with compromised immune systems.

Elevated carbon dioxide levels, a hallmark of climate change, can reduce the micronutrient content of staple crops, such as rice, wheat, and maize. This phenomenon, known as "hidden hunger," occurs because while crop yields may increase, the nutritional value of the crops diminishes. Additionally, climate change can lead to increased soil erosion and nutrient leaching, further depleting the micronutrient content of agricultural soils.

Climate change also affects micronutrient nutrition through its impact on livestock production. Droughts and extreme weather events can reduce the availability and quality of grazing land, leading to livestock health and productivity declines. This, in turn, can reduce the intake of micronutrient-rich animal-sourced foods, such as milk, meat, and eggs.

Moreover, climate change can disrupt food supply chains, leading to price volatility and reduced access to nutritious food. This is particularly true in regions with limited infrastructure and transportation networks. When access to micronutrient-rich foods is limited, individuals will likely develop micronutrient deficiencies.

The consequences of climate change on micronutrient nutrition are far-reaching and can profoundly impact human health and development. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to various health problems, including impaired growth, weakened immune systems, increased risk of infectious diseases, and cognitive delays. These deficiencies can also contribute to maternal mortality and poor child development outcomes.

Addressing the impact of climate change on micronutrient nutrition requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses climate change mitigation, adaptation, and nutrition interventions.

Climate change mitigation strategies, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, can help to slow the pace of climate change and minimize its impacts on food systems and nutrition. Adaptation strategies, such as developing climate-resilient agricultural practices and improving food storage and transportation infrastructure, can help to build resilience to climate change impacts.

Nutrition interventions, such as promoting breastfeeding, dietary diversification, and micronutrient supplementation, can help to ensure that individuals, particularly vulnerable populations, have access to the micronutrients they need to maintain good health.

By addressing the impact of climate change on micronutrient nutrition, we can protect human health, promote development, and build a more resilient future.

Event Description

In the face of a rapidly changing climate, the interconnected issues of food security, nutrition, and child development are gaining increasing attention. This event will bring together experts from various disciplines to explore the complex pathways through which climate change affects child nutrition and development, focusing on micronutrient intakes.

Key Discussion Points:

Understanding the Challenges: Delve into how climate change disrupts food systems, leading to micronutrient deficiencies and hindering child growth and development.

Mobilizing Global Action: Discuss strategies to galvanize international collaboration and accelerate progress in addressing climate change and its impacts on child nutrition.

Research and Academia's Role: Explore how research and academic institutions can enable and expedite action on this critical agenda.

Human Rights Approach: Examine how to integrate a human rights perspective into nutrition and climate action, ensuring inclusivity for persons with disabilities.

WHO's Prioritized Work: Discover the World Health Organization's (WHO) prioritized efforts to tackle this challenge and mitigate future increases in hidden hunger.

Maintaining Stakeholder Focus: Discuss strategies to sustain engagement among key stakeholders, particularly governments, to prevent nutrition from becoming neglected.

Anticipating Future Impacts: Explore how the global academic community can anticipate the future impacts of climate change on nutrition and recommend adaptation and resilience actions.

Prioritizing and Sequencing Actions: Discuss approaches to effectively prioritizing and sequencing interventions to address the interconnected challenges of climate change and malnutrition.

I-CAN's Role: Learn about the role of the "I CAN" initiative in addressing the interconnected issues of climate change and child nutrition.

Speakers

Oliver

Oliver Camp, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

Senior Associate, Nature Positive Actions for Healthy Diets

Cecilia

Cecilia Fabrizio, Standing Together for Nutrition, The Micronutrient Forum

Program lead

Bharati Kulkarni

Bharati Kulkarni, ICMR-National Institue of Nutrition

Country lead India, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Claire Heffernan

Claire Heffernen, Action Against Stunting Hub

Principal Investigator

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Sylvia Roozen, International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

Secretary General

Umi

Umi Fahmida, SEAMEO RECFON

Country lead Indonesia, UKRI GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub

Jessie

Jessie Gonoway, Food Fortification Initiative

Communications Director

Francesco-Branca-02

Francesco Branca, WHO

Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development

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Saskia Osendarp, The Micronutrient Forum

Executive Director

Genet

Genet Gebremedhin, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

Senior EatSafe Country Program Manager

Co-organizers

GAIN
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STfN logo
SUN Logo
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