Nourishing People and Planet: A Call to Action for a Stronger World

At COP27, Stronger Foundations is calling for leaders to place nutrition at the heart of global efforts to combat and adapt to climate change.

COP27, from 6th to 18th November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, brings together governments and non-state actors to tackle the threat of climate change. Historically, issues relating to food systems and nutrition have been largely absent from official negotiations and side-events, despite their significant relevance to addressing the climate crisis.

COP27 represents somewhat of a turning point, with food systems featuring more prominently than ever and with nutrition initiatives starting to take shape.

Still, nutrition is not yet fully at the table, and there has never been a more important time to prioritize human health.

“When we put people at the center of sustainable growth, we can nourish humanity and build a stronger world.”

COP27 happens against the backdrop of sky-rocketing rates of hunger and malnutrition, precipitated by intensifying global conflict, protracted humanitarian crises and the fall out of the pandemic. We must draw greater attention to the foundational role of nutrition within climate change and food system transformation. If we do not, there is a risk that nutrition will remain largely on the sidelines, and that the climate crisis and new “nutrition-blind” climate policies will further exacerbate rates of malnutrition.


Fortunately, we know what we need to do. When we put people at the center of sustainable growth, we can nourish humanity and build a stronger world. Philanthropy — through catalytic investment and long term commitment — can play a central role in enabling collective action:

– We must support communities and countries in developing and championing their own solutions, enabled by world class science and data
– We must compel and enable greater corporate accountability, in support of sustainable and people-centric growth
– We must invest into diverse nutritious food innovation and value chain development, so that it is easy to choose the healthy and sustainable option
– We must support the transition to more sustainable models of production, particularly for smallholders whose very lives depend on a successful harvest
– And we must engage all of us as responsible and health-seeking consumers, investors and advocates in the fight for our collective lives as we build a stronger world


A Call to Action: Nourishing People and Planet

To ensure a climate crisis does not become a humanitarian crisis, we must strengthen safety nets for the treatment and prevention of climate-related malnutrition

– Strengthen systems for malnutrition crisis planning and response, including further development of early warning systems for outbreaks of child wasting and improved real time national food balance sheets
– Scale up research on the impacts of climate related shocks, especially heat stress, on health and nutrition status and access to services
– Increase the speed and predictability of humanitarian aid for wasting treatment, unlock greater levels of longer term development funding, and increase the fiscal space of high-burden countries to allocate domestic budgets for wasting prevention and treatment
– Mobilize a holistic response that moves beyond food aid to respond to severe malnutrition, including strengthening the supply of / emergency stocks of RUTF and commodities like Small Quantity Lipid Nutrient Supplements (SQ-LNS)


To ensure countries are at the center of their own sustainable growth, we must support local and national leaders to develop data-driven food transition pathways

Define and collect national and sub-national data on diet quality as a measure of nutritious and sustainable food consumption
– Formalize contextually-driven reference diets which balance nutritional adequacy, accessibility and sustainability, and corresponding targets
– Build the capacity of local research institutions and advocates to champion locally-led solutions for nutritious and sustainable production and consumption
– Linked to the development of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and National Nutrition Strategies (NNS), realign national policies, including through subsidy reform and implementation of new tax models, to incentivize nutritious food production and distribution informed by the true cost of food


To ensure that the agricultural growth we continue to need to feed families and move millions out of poverty is also good for human health, we must unlock innovation across diverse production systems

Increase research and access to more productive and resilient inputs for a diverse basket of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables and pulses
– Develop exemplars of nutritious, regenerative agricultural production
– Support the development of better storage, cold chain, market capacity and infrastructure for nutritious food production, with particular focus on models of smallholder inclusion and women’s participation


To ensure that we can adequately supply healthy, sustainable and contextually-appropriate diets, we must strengthen key nutritious value chains, emphasizing food sovereignty wherever possible

– Nutritious food production
– Low carbon, quality animal proteins (e.g. small-scale production of fish and poultry), including investments in affordable, sustainable feed value chains
– Plant-based proteins
– Fruits and vegetables
– Biofortified whole grains, legumes and staples
– Nutritious value addition
– Food fortification
– Nutrition-sensitive processing (e.g. reduced refining of whole grains)


To ensure consumers are able to make the best choices for themselves, their families, and the planet, we must understand and support their needs for good food

– Improve and strengthen regulation around product labeling
– Analyze what drives consumer choice and support the development of strategies to increase demand for nutrient-rich foods, including through compelling campaigns
– Understand and address harmful gender norms which disempower women’s food choice and access, reducing the associated costs on household health and nutrition


To ensure that the financial burden of this transition is not a barrier to transformation, we must catalyze scale financing aligned to the size of the need and cost of inaction

– Achieve the Global Goal on Adaptation, through at least doubling climate financing for adaptation, with the greatest share of funding flowing to the most vulnerable countries
– Support countries, states and local actors by reducing barriers to accessing finance, through development, technical assistance and streamlined requirements
– Unlock capital markets by de-risking investment, including through technical and financial support through impact investing, validation of instruments like nutrition-sensitive green bonds, and payment for ecosystem service models including voluntary carbon markets
– Repurpose public purchasing to drive dollars already spent on food to food that is nourishing and sustainably produced

© WFP/Michael Duff