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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Matter At Hand : Sustainable Diets


 Sustainable Diets for all campaign (SD4ALL)”  ensures the prioritising of sustainable diets as an integral part of transforming Zambia’s food system by policy makers and implementers. This should effectively translate into policies and their implementation, that address the Food and Nutrition security needs of Low income citizens while enabling a more diverse food system that builds on the productivity and nutrition potential of agricultural biodiversity.

 In efforts to make Sustainable diets an overarching topic and a priority by policy makers and implementers, the campaign will target Members of Parliament and the relevant parliamentary committees. The implementing organisation the Zambia Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition Alliance was at the helm of the formation of the APPCON and will therefore be a necessary go between in engaging the caucus. The caucus will advocate for a diverse food system, sustainable diets and nutrition legislation; enhance political will and accountability towards, implementation of the national agriculture policy specific to the components on crop diversity, whilst seeking to introduce new policy proposals that will improve the country’s food system.




The problem

Underlying causes of malnutrition include inadequate access to diverse foods, poor infant and young child feeding practices, poor water and sanitation and insufficient health services. All these fall within the spectrum of sustainable diets, however its current minimal appreciation and its potential impact on Nutrition, especially in the face of the high levels of malnutrition and the effects of an unsustainable food system, present a challenge.

The current food system has not fulfilled the Health and Nutritional needs of the Zambian people.

Current statistics from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey 2013/2014’s findings show that added to stunting rates in under-five children of 40%:

·         6% of children under 5 are wasted

·         53% of children under 5 are anaemic

·         30% of women of child-bearing age are anaemic

·         11% of children are born with low birth weight

·         Malnutrition underlies up to 52% of all under five deaths

What’s more, in Zambia, 10% of women aged 15-49 years old are underweight, while 23% are overweight. Malnutrition re-enforces the cycle of poverty, it imposes high economic and social costs on society at all income levels, trapping individuals into vicious cycles of ill health and poverty continued across generations. Malnutrition devalues Zambia’s human capital.


The Approach

The concept of sustainable diets presents an opportunity to successfully advance commitments to better health and wellbeing, reduced malnutrition, environment and biodiversity protection for all. The FAO (2012) explain sustainable diets as being protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.

Advocacy focused on sustainable diets and its potential to improve nutrition, emphasising a harmonised call to action, specifically from the members of parliament is incredibly vital. The complex web of determinants of sustainable diets including, agriculture, health, sociocultural, environmental, and socioeconomic are all important, as a change in any one of these have an impact on sustainable diets and the overall food system.                                                                                                                                      

The efforts of the campaign will therefore have to culminate in ensuring:

·         The prioritizing and implementation of existing and new programs that promote and support sustainable diets for all, including but not limited to crop diversification and ending mono cropping

·         Crop diversification as a way to end mono-cropping, particularly the promotion of nutritious indigenous crops and small livestock

·         Improved dietary diversity by making nutritious food more affordable, accessible and in greater demand

·         Increasing and protecting resources that are sensitive to diversifying the food system and promote sustainable diets

Members of Parliament are in a distinct position to advocate for sustainable diets and a transformation in the food system. Their unique position of influence to enhance political will and accountability are all valuables to the campaign. At the same time MP's represent constituencies which are a larger audience for the campaign and ultimately where the uptake of change will happen. As such, the All Party Parliamentary caucus on Food and Nutrition will be necessary and important added to individual champions as well as audience with the different committees of parliament, including the Agriculture committee.




Contact Details

Plot No. 6307 Chiwalamambwe Road Olympia,Lusaka

Postnet No.577, Private Bag E891-Mandahill, Lusaka

Phone: +260950417979


Email: info@csosun.org

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Zambia CSO-SUN Alliance is a movement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to raise the profile of nutrition on the development agenda. We are part of the Global Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement founded on the principle that all people have the right to food and good nutrition.

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