Nutrition

Ecuador announces ambitious commitments to UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

25 MAY 2017 | GENEVA – In a meeting at the World Health Assembly (WHA) today, the Vice-Ministry of Health of Ecuador announced its country’s commitments, in response to the call of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025).

Ecuador decade of action on nutrition commitment photo 4
Left to right - Michael Clark (FAO), Dr Oleg Chestnov (ADG/WHO), Dr Fernando Cornejo, Vice-Minister of Governance and Health Surveillance of Ecuador, His Excellency Ambassador Victor Arturo Cabrera Hidalgo, Dr Carissa Etienne (PAHO Regional Director)
WHO/NHD/J Muriel

Ecuador’s Vice-Minister of Health Dr. Fernando Cornejo announced the commitments in a meeting with PAHO Director Carissa Etienne and Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases. Ecuador is adopting five ambitious “SMART” commitments (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound), supported by 15 different policy measures, with the long-term aim of improving and safeguarding the health and well-being of all Ecuadorians. Today’s announcement makes Ecuador only the world’s second country to make specific commitments to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.

“Our commitments are already being implemented by the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador and other public and private entities,” Cornejo said. “They put the population’s right to health ahead of the economic and commercial interests of the large food industries. They also guarantee food sovereignty, defend the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, improve and strengthen integral health care, and generate environments that advantage health.”

“Ecuador is a country that believes in social inclusion, human rights and people’s access not only to health services, but to the social determinants of health,” said WHO’s Regional Director Etienne. “Ecuador is also very committed to ensuring that its people have good nutrition. In fact it was one of the first countries to pass legislation on food labeling in a very innovative manner. “

Ecuador’s commitments, as announced today, are:

  • Generate environments that favor population health;
  • Encourage breastfeeding;
  • Provide comprehensive health services and health education for pregnant women, children under the age of 5, and school age children;
  • Promote community and intersectoral participation in public policy; and
  • Promote food sovereignty

Cornejo mentioned a few of the efforts already being undertaken by Ecuador to improve the health of its communities and citizens – including the labeling of processed foods, taxation of sugary and sweetened beverages, and prohibiting the sale of products with high sugar, salt and fat content.

Ecuador decade of action on nutrition commitments photo 2
WHO/NHD/J Muriel

In April 2016, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2016–2025 the Decade of Action on Nutrition. Led by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Nutrition Decade is a framework for making commitments, tracking progress, and ensuring mutual accountability in line with these global nutrition targets:

“In the Americas, noncommunicable diseases are the leading cause of premature deaths. I hope other countries in the Region will follow Brazil and take steps to implement these kinds of actions. I’m proud that the Region of the Americas is taking the lead in the Decade of Action on Nutrition, and PAHO and WHO are ready to help you implement these commitments,” said Dr Etienne.

In April 2016, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2016–2025 the Decade of Action on Nutrition. Led by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Nutrition Decade is a framework for making commitments, tracking progress, and ensuring mutual accountability in line with global nutrition targets2.

  • 40% reduction in the number of children under 5 who are stunted;
  • 50% reduction in the number of women of reproductive age with anaemia;
  • 30% reduction in the number of infants with low-birth-weight;
  • No increase in childhood overweight prevalence;
  • Increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months to at least 50% of infants; and
  • Reduce and maintain the proportion of children who are wasted to less than 5%.
Ecuador decade of action on nutrition commitments photo 3
WHO/NHD/J Muriel