Prof. Nahla Hwalla, Department of Human Nutrition, the American University of Beirut, was an invited participant at the FAO Regional Consultative Technical meeting in Cairo, Egypt (January 20-21).
Dr. Hwalla's presentation, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the MENA region, summarized the main challenges faced in the Middle East and North Africa: the close link between moderate to severe food insecurity with malnutrition. Noting that food insecurity contributes to undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity, Prof. Hwalla stressed that addressing these problems to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires rethinking the Agro-food system to integrate nutrition into all four pillars of food security, which in turn, necessitates the transformation of local, regional, and global food systems using multi-sector stakeholder action.
Dr. Hwalla concluded her presentation with a reference to former FAO-DG, Graziano De Silva, and noted that achieving the needed shifts in food consumption requires that food systems reposition from “feeding people" to “nourishing people." Dr. Hwalla noted, “the international community needs to urgently address this situation by promoting transformative change in our food systems. Our Zero Hunger Goal is not just about feeding people, but about properly nourishing people by providing everyone with the necessary nutrients for a healthy life."