The inaugural meeting of the Global Nutrition Forum (GNF) was held on October 25th and 26th, 2015 in Amsterdam, co-hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the AND Foundation (ANDF) and the European Federation of Associations of Dietitians (EFAD). Twenty-one dietitians and nutrition experts attended, representing: AND, ANDF, EFAD, the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA), Dietitians of Canada, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Dietetic Association of Zimbabwe, Clinton Global Initiative, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Abbott Nutrition (meeting sponsor), and an expert from each of Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security Malawi, Federal University of Sao Paulo and North West University South Africa.
The purpose of bringing the group together and gaining a commitment for continuing collaboration was: To accelerate improvements in nutrition and food interventions and health outcomes thereby decreasing malnutrition globally by:
Bringing together multi-sectorial actors with international dietitians (or other nutrition professionals where dietitians do not exist in a country) to identify priorities for action;
Establishing a mechanism for global coordination of actions and the monitoring of effectiveness; and
Making commitments and pledges of support to empower dietetic and nutrition communities to take action.
A short presentation from each organization or initiative provided orientation for the attendees. The presentation made by Lawrence Haddad, an economist and co-author of the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) www.globalnutritionreport.org published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), generated a focus for planning a Global Dietetics Initiative. The GNR provides an annual assessment of progress, actions and outcomes, against 80 indicators for 193 countries. It contains a wealth of information, but many countries fail to report against some or all of the indicators. It was identified the GNR could be a useful tool for dietetic associations and dietitian-nutritionists to raise awareness of the gaps in their countries and what the profession can offer to improve health outcomes. IFPRI would welcome input from the dietetic community.
A series of workshops explored in detail what a Global Dietetic Initiative could do and what needed to be put in place to enable action.
The Management Framework was agreed as:
A Leadership Team made up of the Stakeholders at the meeting, those unable to attend and others identified to close some obvious gaps;
A Secretariat, generously provided by AND; and
Project Groups, on a task and finish basis to undertake pieces of work, accountable to the Leadership Team.
The projects initially identified were:
Communication and Advocacy
Communication was identified as key, as there is a lack of understanding of the impact of nutrition and the role of dietitian-nutritionists on most of the global agendas.
Many tools were identified during the meeting for different purposes with potential duplication and questions about reproducibility. To allow easy access for dietitian-nutritionists a website repository was proposed for educational resources and tools available for community, population, and international policy/ planning tables.
Many countries are investing in nutrition, but the paucity of country level data continues to be challenging. The development of tools to assist countries in collecting, interpreting and using data to determine the best actions was proposed.
There was great deal of enthusiasm and willingness at the meeting to collaborate to take the initiative forward. It was agreed that the next steps were:
To seek funding to allow future meetings and include a proposal for a Fellowship to enable someone to support the Initiative.
The Leadership Team and the Project Groups to meet virtually to progress some of the actions.
A Proceedings Paper to be produced from the October 2015 meeting, to be published in appropriate journals.
To raise awareness of the Global Dietetic Initiative and the Global Nutrition Report with National Dietetic Associations and their members.
Actions and outcomes will be reported by each of the participants to their respective organisations and through articles in Dietetics Around the World and on the ICDA website.
Carole Middleton (on behalf of the Directors of ICDA)
Director – ICDA Board
Country Representative – British Dietetic Association