Knowledge for better food systems

Clash of NGO perspectives on approaches to nutrition

There has been an exchange of views between the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and GAIN, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition following the World Health Organisation’s statement that it will defer a decision as to whether GAIN should be accredited to the World Health Assembly.

IBFAN argues that GAIN is new type of public private entity which claims to works to tackle malnutrition - but that its work seems to focus on opening up markets for its 600 partner companies (including Danone, the world’s second largest baby food company, Mars, Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

GAIN however defends its work, saying that it is a not-for-profit foundation who works in partnership primarily with governments, UN agencies, health professionals and universities as well as the private sector and civil society organisations – including some which represent the poorest and most marginalised. It says that GAIN is funded by bilateral donors and foundations, not private sector companies, and its programs are managed by developing country governments, UN agencies and NGOs.

The WHO itself say the following: “DECIDES to postpone consideration of the application for admission into official relations from The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition to the Executive Board’s 134th session, and requested that the following information be provided to the Board through its Standing Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations: information concerning the nature and extent of the Alliance’s links with the global food industry, and the position of the Alliance with regard to its support and advocacy of WHO’s nutrition policies, including infant feeding and marketing of complementary foods.”

Which you can access directly here.

For a paper which explores different stakeholder approaches to addressing food security and nutrition, see here.

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