Tuesday July 23, 2024

Dr Sania Nishtar outlines govt’s nutrition approach

By Our Correspondent
September 30, 2020

Islamabad : Policy makers must address planetary and dietary challenges simultaneously, since they are so fundamentally interlinked, the PM’s Special Assistant Dr. Sania Nishtar stated here Tuesday while speaking at the online launch event for the Global Panel’s new Foresight 2.0 report: ‘Future Food Systems: for people, our planet, and prosperity.’

Co-hosted by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Italy, Dr. Sania was invited as a member of the Global Panel’s Stakeholder Group that had contributed to its report. Dr. Sania provided her perspectives of the report alongside Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO, and Diane Holdorf, Food Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the panel, Dr. Sania said, “The report makes concrete recommendations on the practical steps which need to be taken in a process of transition, leading to a transformed future food system. And food system transformation cannot be achieved without ‘pro-poor’ policies that support economic growth as well as social protection policies.”

The event was chaired by Dr. Anna Lartey, Director for Nutrition at the FAO. She highlighted key findings from the report and began the process of engaging decision-makers from government, the private sector, the donor community, and research with its recommendations.

The government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial ‘Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council’ (PNNCC), chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan; there are 8 Cabinet Ministers in the Council. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that this inter-ministerial set-up has been created under the overarching Ehsaas framework to steer the nutrition-specific agenda in the country.

Another substantive initiative is the recent launch of Ehsaas ‘Nashonuma’ that is a conditional cash transfer programme pegged on addressing stunting and nutrition outcomes among children under two years of age, and pregnant and lactating mothers. In the first phase, 35 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers have been opened across 9 districts of the country.