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Review of the impact of the coronavirus disease on programmes and interventions for the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in the context of population, food security (E/CN.9/2021/3)

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Review of the impact of the coronavirus disease on programmes and interventions for the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in the context of population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development

Report of the Secretary-General

Commission on Population and Development
Fifty-fourth session
19–23 April 2021
Item 3 (b) of the provisional agenda
General debate: population, food security, nutrition and
sustainable development

Summary

The present report has been prepared to inform the Commission’s deliberations on population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development during its fifty - fourth session. It supplements the reports prepared for the fifty-third session by focusing on the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on programmes and interventions to address food insecurity and malnutrition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food security worldwide and will likely reverse recent global progress towards ending hunger by 2030. By increasing po verty, disrupting public health and school feeding programmes and undermining major nutrition programmes such as food fortification, the pandemic is projected to increase the number of people enduring all forms of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, and issues of obesity and overweight. Substantial consequences related to human health and suffering are expected, including a worsening of maternal and child nutrition, which have lifelong consequences for learning, productivity and wellbeing. Many innovative programmes to sustain food security and nutrition under COVID-19 hold promise, but do not yet operate at scale. New solutions are needed, but should not eclipse well-proven and highly cost-effective programmes that were already underfunded before the COVID-19 pandemic, including sexual and reproductive health programmes; maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition programmes; food targeted at school-age children; food fortification; and incentives for sustainable agriculture.

The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing inequities and brought into the spotlight the importance of international solidarity and multilateral cooperation. The wide range of national response actions outlined in the present report offer examples for closer monitoring and evaluation, so that best practices can be taken to scale and used to strengthen both recovery and resilience in the face of future crises.