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New Nutrition Policy Papers for WFP

WFP's executive board has recently endorsed three nutrition policy papers. This coincides with a raised profile for nutrition within the organisation. One of the papers deals exclusively with nutrition in emergencies but should be read in conjunction with the two other policy papers 'Food for Nutrition: Mainstreaming Nutrition in WFP' and 'Micronutrient Fortification: WFP Experiences and Ways Forward'.

The 'Nutrition in Emergency' paper states at the outset that WFP and its partners have made significant strides in the last decade towards tackling malnutrition in emergencies and that food interventions play an important part in saving lives through their impact on the nutrition and health of affected populations. The paper stresses that humanitarian interventions aiming to prevent deterioration or promote recovery of nutritional status have to be carefully tailored to the nature of each crisis and seek to address underlying causes. It outlines three elements crucial to successful action.

  1. That a nutritionally appropriate food basket is formulated to meet local needs and that it is coordinated and arrives on time, not one commodity one month and another the next. Some food commodities are needed in small amounts, for example iodized salt and fortified blended foods, but their inclusion and delivery are often critical to positive nutrition outcomes. The importance of micronutrients in achieving the goals of emergency operations is increasingly understood and there is evidence of the need for greater use of fortified foods than in the past.
  2. Coupling food with essential nonfood inputs is important in nutrition programming. WFP requires cash resources for a variety of nutrition and public health activities, including local milling/fortification of cereals, local procurement of fortified blended foods and support for complementary activities such as nutrition education, training and de-worming. An ability to offer sustained improvements in nutrition will therefore depend on strong collaboration with partners skilled in nutrition and public health and information management.
  3. Improved linking of emergency programming with non-emergency activities is required so that underlying processes contributing to malnutrition can be effectively tackled in the long run.

For further information contact; Rita Bhatia at Rita.Bhatia@WFP.ORG

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New Nutrition Policy Papers for WFP. Field Exchange 23, November 2004. p12. www.ennonline.net/fex/23/policypapers

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