National Food and Nutrition Summit 2018


Investing in Food and Nutrition for Accelerated National Development

Slogan:  Walk the Talk for Nutrition


  1. Background and Introduction

Food and nutrition security is vital for health and a key driver for sustainable development. There is adequate evidence suggesting that malnutrition on the other hand, can result in ill health and impaired physical and mental development. Sustained efforts toward accelerated reduction of malnutrition will therefore significantly contribute to accelerated national development as a result of substantial Government savings. For example, Zambia Nutrition PROFILES 2017 estimated losses of up to 40.499 million equivalent school years of learning that would be lost related to stunting if the current rate of reduction of just below one percentage point per year is maintained.  However, accelerated efforts to reduce stunting at an annual rate of >5% (resulting to a reduction from 40% (or 960,000 under-five children) to 20.1% by 2026) will translate to a gain equivalent to 9.065 million school years of learning and an economic productivity of 67.792 billion ZMW (US$6.869 billion). In addition to the impact on the education sector and economy of the nation, malnutrition also negatively impacts an individual’s immunity thereby reducing one’s ability to fight and recover from illness.  Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM; 52,800 or 2.2% of Zambian under-5 children), for example, are nine times more at risk to death compared to well-nourished children (UNICEF, 2012).

Globally, various governments have established national nutrition targets based on the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a target to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, and World Health Assembly (WHA) targets, as well as the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) where governments have committed to improve nutrition by 2025. In 2016, the United Nations declared a Decade of Action on Nutrition to galvanise further action towards improving nutrition adding to the African Union’s (AU) 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agriculture Growth and Transformation and re-affirmed the CAADP commitment to end hunger and reduce stunting on the continent by 2025. The global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement has outlined efforts to accelerate nutrition investment.

These and many other global commitments take cognizance that combating malnutrition requires a multi-sectoral approach.  However, much as global and regional commitments are fundamental in steering nations in the right direction, the real gaps lie in translating these commitments into country-specific actions. The Republic of Zambia demonstrated its willingness scaling up multi-sectoral nutrition interventions when it joined the global Scaling Up Nutrition movement in 2011. The Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) 2017-2021 has embraced multi-sectoral approaches in addressing national challenges under the auspices of multi-sector Cluster Advisory Groups (CAGs).  This is aimed at catalysing and enhancing synergy of sector-specific interventions for heightened impact.  This therefore provides potential mechanisms for implementation of nutrition interventions since malnutrition is a cross-cutting challenge as proposed in the National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan (2017-2021) and the First 1000 Most Critical Days programme (MCDP). 

Consequently, the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) and its partners deem it necessary to hold a national food and nutrition summit to galvanise political and multi-stakeholder will and existing commitments into actions for accelerated improved nutrition.  The summit will provide a forum for sharing experiences and exchanging knowledge with the aim of fully operationalization of the National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan (2017-2021).


  1. Rationale for the theme 

In April 2009, NFNC hosted a National Nutrition Symposium under the theme Food and Nutrition in the 21st Century: Challenges for Zambia, which way forward?” The purpose of this symposium was to provide a forum for sharing decade research experiences on food and nutrition in Zambia. In February 2011 the NFNC hosted a food and nutrition consultative forum under the theme “Accelerating Nutrition Actions in Zambia”. This event was hosted as part of a long-term consultative process on actions towards addressing chronic malnutrition and to raise awareness of the need for adopting a multisectoral approach.


In the same vein, the 2018 summit is aimed at exploring more progressive approaches in improving food and nutrition in the country. Furthermore, it will be a platform for relevant sectors to interact with the various multi-disciplinary stakeholders and together, take stock of the several commitments made at national, regional and international levels as well as the implementation status of nutrition relevant actions in sector policies and strategies.


  1. Objectives

Overall Objective:

To translate the demonstrated increase in political and multi-stakeholder will and commitment to food and nutrition security priorities into tangible measurable multi-sectoral actions for accelerated national development.


Specific Objectives:

  • To generate recommendations for strengthening the policy and regulatory environment for scaling up coordinated multi-sectoral food and nutrition interventions.
  • To identify solutions to challenges affecting adoption of evidence-based practices that prioritise appropriate food and nutrition security actions and resources.
  • To raise awareness among high-level policy-makers on the importance of investing more in the fight against malnutrition.


  1. Expected Output

Consensus Statement of the commitments and actions for multi-sector scaling up of food and nutrition programmes at all levels.


  1. Summit Thematic Areas

Theme 1:        Food and Nutrition governance and coordination.

  • Convergence: Share lessons on how to strengthen convergence of multisectoral interventions
  • Advocacy for functional multistakeholder engagement platforms and partnerships for effective implementation of nutrition programmes.
  • Coordination mechanisms: share experiences from implementation of coordinated multisectoral food and nutrition interventions.
  • Common Results framework for enhanced joint accountability.
  • Advocate for a nutrition-sensitive policy environment.
  • Advocate for predictable and sustainable investment for nutrition.



Theme 2:        Increase access to and utilisation of integrated nutrition services.

  • Improve implementation of programmes and strategies that promote optimal maternal, infant and young child feeding practices
  • Strengthen capacity (human resource, supplies and access) for prevention and/or management of acute malnutrition.
  • Strengthen strategies for appropriate delivery of and access to essential micronutrients.
  • Strengthen nutrition in policies and strategies for the prevention, control and management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
  • Strengthen linkage between facility based services and community interventions including referrals, follow ups and supportive supervision.


Theme 3:        Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Nexus.

  • Advocate for increased production, access and consumption of diverse nutrient-rich and safe foods.
  • Promote adoption of gender responsive appropriate crop, fisheries and livestock technologies and practices that improve the nutrition quality and safety of food.
  • Promote post-harvest handling and value addition technologies along the food value chain.
  • Scale up nutrition sensitive programmes/projects that build resilience to climate change and other shocks to the food supply system.


Theme 4:        Social Protection linkages with Food  and Nutrition Security.

  • Strengthen food and nutrition objectives within social protection programmes in the context of existing pillars.
  • Strengthen capacity (human resource) to mainstream nutrition in social protection interventions.



Theme 5:        Water, sanitation, and hygiene for improved nutrition outcomes..

  • Increase coverage of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) focusing on safe hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap for improved nutrition outcomes.
  • Promote access to and utilisation of safe water.


Our Cooperating Partners