Editors Note: SCN News 21 provided information on eight major reports issued during year 2000, by UN agencies and one (the Disasters Report) by an NGO. We received several letters and email messages saying that this new feature of SCN News is highly appreciated. These reports are not widely disseminated throughout the nutrition community, but they probably should be. They provide a wealth of data and text on societal and economic factors related, directly and indirectly, to nutrition. They will be useful in teaching, speech writing and advocacy work. Here we offer information on six additional publications - three UN agencies reports on poverty, a report on refugees, the 2001 Disasters Report, and a report on water/sanitation.
RURAL POVERTY REPORT 2001: The challenge of ending rural poverty
IFAD, Oxford University Press, 2001, 266 pp.
Progress in reducing rural poverty has stalled. In the 90s, it fell to less than one third of the rate needed to meet the UNs commitment to halve world poverty by 2015. Although three quarters of the worlds 1.2 billion extremely poor people live and work in rural areas, aid to agriculture, their main source of income, has fallen by two thirds. IFAD argues that to be successful, poverty reduction policies must focus on rural areas. To overcome disadvantages stemming from remoteness, lack of education and health care, insecure and unproductive jobs, high fertility rates and (often) discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, the rural poor need: legally secure entitlements to basic assets (especially land and water); technology (above all for increasing the output and yield of food staples); access to markets; opportunities to participate in decentralised resources management; and access to microfinance. Such policies not only promote economic growth, but also help alleviate urban poverty. A sustainable reduction in poverty calls for the creation of a more decisive pro-poor policy environment and the specific allocation of a greater volume of resources to the poor at the same time seeking greater effectiveness. This needs to be complemented by better partnership among government, civil society and the private sector so that the poor are empowered to take full responsibility for their own development.
POVERTY REPORT 2000: Overcoming Human Poverty
UNDP, 2000, 139 pp.
This Report was launched at what UNDPs Administrator calls a major turning point in the global campaign against poverty, the UN General Assemblys five-year review of progress against poverty following the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. The Report shows that current trends are troubling, indeed progress is negligible in many countries. At the Social Summit developing countries made firm commitments to eradicate extreme poverty and substantially reduce overall poverty, yet they ran into numerous roadblocks - financial crises, onerous debt burdens, protectionism, war and civil conflict, and a string of natural disasters. The Report assesses a broad range of national poverty programmes to find out what is working and what is not, and to draw some general lessons for better policies. One lesson is clear: programmes need to be multisectoral and comprehensive. Confining poverty programmes to a set of small scale, disjointed projects is not an effective use of resources. Programmes need a strategic approach, many need not only more funding, but also better coordination by government ministries with clout. Civil society and private sector need to be involved in a broad, united front.
World Economic and Social Survey 2000: Trends and Policies in the World Economy
UN, 2000, 280 pp.
Yes, another report on poverty - this one on the theme Escaping the Poverty Trap. This Survey was compiled by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, drawing on the work of the regional commissions of the UN, UNCTAD, the IMF and the World Bank. Part one chronicles a remarkable recovery in the world economy after the crisis years 1997-99. The Survey finds that the volume of international financial flows has not returned to its pre-crisis level, but international financial markets are displaying a sense of calm. International trade has largely recovered from the setback it suffered following the financial crises. However, the losses incurred during 1997-98 can never be make up, rates of economic growth in most countries have recovered, or are in the process. For those most directly affected, many of the social consequences of the crisis persist, with unemployment and poverty levels remaining higher than they were a few years ago. This situation is inconsistent with the global pledge to reduce by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in the next 15 years. The challenge is for poorer countries to break out of their poverty trap, by finding a path to sustainable development. Part two examines the critical points on this path. Is improved nutrition on this path? Read, and find out.
WORLD DISASTERS REPORT 2001
IFRC, 2001, 248 pp.
The World Disasters Report has been published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies since 1993. This Report, which focuses on recovery, uses plain language and forceful case studies to illustrate both the complexity of disasters and the inadequacy of international response. Didier Cherpitel, Secretary General of the IFRC, notes in the foreword that there were more disasters in 2000 than in previous years of the decade. Fewer people are being killed, but more are adversely affected now than in the past. A major cause is the increase in the number of un/natural events such as floods, wind storms and droughts. The Report frankly discusses some of the lessons to be learned about the processes of recovery. Prospects for recovery from disasters, particularly for those in the most disaster-prone countries, are not encouraging. Recurrent disasters are sweeping away development gains and calling into question even the possibility of recovery. Gaps between life-saving relief and longer-term development can leave disaster-affected people stranded. Technical solutions that do not adequately take account of communities needs may mean that reconstruction does not lead to recovery. Post-disaster reconstruction has focused too much on rebuilding physical infrastructure - but there is more to recovery than concrete. Investment in the social capital of disaster-affected communities is key to building sustainable recovery.
WORLD REFUGEE SURVEY 2001
US Committee for Refugees, 2001, 306 pp.
Excuse me if we dont throw a party, writes Jeff Drumtra, Senior Policy Analyst for the US Committee for Refugees, in an opening chapter of the World Refugee Survey. The year 2000 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency responsible for protecting and assisting the worlds refugees. The year 2001 is the 50th anniversary of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, the body of international law meant to ensure refugee rights. Both are under siege and losing ground. But this report covers not just the plight of refugees, it also deals with conditions affecting asylum seekers and internally displaced persons. The report begins with numbers, recognizing that statistics on refugees and other uprooted people are often inexact and controversial. One countrys refugee is anothers illegal alien, so government tallies cannot always be trusted. The statistics represent the best judgements of the US Committee for Refugees. This is followed by a series of essays by distinguished scholars on the Refugee Convention, tools of engagement, conflict prevention, asylum and Article 34 of the Convention, and a heart-wrenching testimonial from a young boy in South Sudan. Country reports from all regions are also presented, giving detailed descriptions of population movements in regions that tend to get less press coverage, such as Kyrgistan, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan; there is a lengthy section on Iran, currently host of the largest number of refugees in any country in the world. Each country report explains the legal status of the Convention, and whether or not legislation is in process. Country reports also explain the political and military events at the root cause of population flows, large and small. This is a massive volume, formidably well-researched.
GLOBAL WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION ASSESSMENT 2000 REPORT
WHO, UNICEF, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, 2000. 79 pp.
As Richard Jolly, Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and SCN Chair from 1996-2000, points out in the Foreword, this document is an important benchmark for international efforts to bring dignity and health to the worlds most deprived people. Access to safe water and sanitation is a universal need and a basic human right. Despite the intensive efforts of many institutions at the national and international levels, nearly 1.1 billion people still remain without access to improved drinking water services and about 2.4 billion have no access to any form of improved sanitation facilities. This Report presents the findings of the fourth assessment of the water supply and sanitation sector. It is a source of water and sanitation coverage estimates, and supports investment, planning, management and quality of service decisions in the sector. An important change in the methodology used in preparing the report is an emphasis now on users as primary sources of data, rather than on providers. The assessment gives the baseline and monitoring methodology that will ensure reliable and consistent statistics with which to report progress with confidence in the years to come. The report is highly readable, with a large number of graphics, maps and figures that deliver clear and important messages.
BREAKING THE RULES, STRETCHING THE RULES 2001: Evidence of violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent Resolutions
IBFAN, International Baby Food Action Network, May 2001, 72 pp.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Code this Report, launched by IBFAN in May, is the result of monitoring the marketing practices of 16 transnational baby food and 13 bottles/teats companies in 14 countries. It exposes widespread and systematic violations by Nestlé, Wyeth, Abbott-Ross, Mead Johnson, Cow&Gate, Gerber, Evenflo and others.
Among the findings: health care facilities continue to be used by companies to reach mothers; companies provide free infant formula to facilities and free samples to health workers; promotional materials are distributed to new mothers; seven companies use baby clubs to promote their products, the Internet is used for marketing; labelling provisions are violated by all companies; in short, the evidence collected demonstrates systematic disregard for the Code.
According to UNICEF, reversing the decline in breastfeeding could save the lives of 1.5 million infants around the world every year. To date, 51 countries have incorporated all or most of the Codes provisions into law. Two highly informative charts accompany the Report. These are State of the Code by Company and State of the Code by Country.
See the related press release by visiting the IBFAN website at www.ibfan.org/english/news/press/press15may01.html The report is available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org website http://www.babymilkaction.org (You can now order publications and merchandise on-line).
CHOICES FOR THE POOR: Lessons from national poverty strategies
Edited by Alejandro Grinspun, UNDP, 2001, 370 pp.
This book is based on a comprehensive external evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the Poverty Strategies Initiative, a programme launched in 1996 to help developing countries fight poverty. Drawing on findings from almost 50 countries, Choices for the Poor provides a range of analytical and operational insights for the development of pro-poor policy. It shows that successful anti-poverty strategies take time to develop and require broad-based consensus among key national actors. The book bears witness to the technical and political complexity of developing these strategies and cautions against overly technocratic and disengaged approaches. Part 1 of the book covers policy issues and Part 2 country cases.
ENABLING DEVELOPMENT: Food assistance in South Asia
WFP Regional Office for South Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001, 290 pp.
This book takes stock of the current situation of hunger and malnutrition in the region and examines ways to dealing with it. The progress made by the countries in the region over a span of forty years is assessed. The book includes maps that locate the areas of highest prevalence of food insecurity, tracking cereals availability, percentage of the population subsisting below the poverty line, female illiteracy, number of underweight children and of anaemic women, flood prone areas, and areas affected by civil conflict. They show that the concentration of extreme food insecurity cuts across national boundaries. Improving food security is thus an issue that brings the countries in the region together.
Enabling Development emphasises the advantages of placing food in the hands of women in food assistance programmes and suggests short- and long-term solutions to hunger through food-based assistance programmes. The book spans five chapters covering food insecure people and places, South Asias food economies, food-based assistance in the region, the challenges for food assistance to enable development, and conclusions and recommendations.
www.oup.com or www.wfp.org
FOCUS 5 - HEALTH AND NUTRITION: Emerging and re-emerging issues in developing countries
Edited by R Flores and S Gillespie, IFPRI 2020 Vision, February 2001, 22 pp folder
Given the importance of health and nutrition for development, this collection of policy briefs presents expert perspectives on some of the most significant emerging and re-emerging nutrition and health issues that will influence human development in developing countries in the next decades. These conditions are increasingly diverting public health resources away from prevention and primary health care. Only by responding to the health and nutrition concerns associated with and determined by hunger and poverty can the developing world make significant progress in escaping the trap. Briefs cover the global burden of disease, HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, intrauterine growth retardation, obesity diet-related chronic diseases, health and ageing, micronutrients and policy priorities. It is concluded that many of these problems affect public health, but they also demand larger development solutions. Many of the improvements needed will take time and, to be sustainable, require laying the right foundations now.
FOOD AND NUTRITION HANDBOOK
WFP, Rome, 2001, 123 pp.
The handbook is aimed at WFP staff at all levels who are involved with the delivery of food assistance to WFP beneficiaries. This handbook should serve as both a reference and training manual, providing staff with:
· A better understanding of food and nutrition issues.The handbook enables the staff to assess and analyse the nutrition situation in a country or region and helps manage the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of interventions. The chapters begin with a statement of purpose, and a summary. A list of learning objectives for each chapter indicates the knowledge/skills WFP staff is expected to acquire. The handbook is divided into two sections. Chapters 1-5 deal with basic food and nutrition concepts and the process of analysing nutrition problems and their causes. The second section, Chapters 6-11, covers the practical applications of nutrition interventions, programming issues, the tools for planning rations, selective feeding modalities, and general food distribution issues.
· A practical tool to tackle a number of basic nutrition related tasks, and
· The ability to judge when specialised advice should be sought.
The book can be obtained from the Nutrition Unit in WFP Rome. Contact email@example.com
Human rights are an important instrument contributing to the achievement of social sector goals. We should go beyond saying that children ought to get the food, health, and care they need, to say that they are entitled to these things.
George Kent (see p 13)
E.G. Piwoz and E. A. Preble, USAID, SARA Project and Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat. November 2000. 54 pp.
HIV/AIDS and nutrition are inextricably interrelated. Malnutrition increases the risk of HIV transmission and the progress of HIV infection. In turn, HIV infection exacerbates malnutrition. The monograph informs us of the role of nutrition in HIV infection in African settings and describes its effects on reductions in food intake, nutrient malabsorption and metabolic alterations. It explores the possible effects of vitamins and minerals on HIV disease progression and mortality, as well as on mother to child transmission.
Nutrition counselling and interventions can slow or reverse the process and consequences of weight loss and wasting in people living with HIV and AIDS. The paper presents examples of a number of nutrition support programmes. And provides support recommendations for both adults and children. Initially, the aim of interventions is to help people living with HIV to remain relatively healthy, prolonging the interval from initial infection to development of AIDS and improving the quality of their lives. At later stages of the disease, nutrition support is largely palliative and focuses on maintaining intake during bouts of illness and recuperative feeding. The paper finally explores the risks of HIV transmission through breastfeeding, contrasting it with the various risks of replacement feeding.
Copies can be obtained from the SARA project: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MICRONUTRIENT REPORT: Current Progress and trends in the control of Vitamin A, Iodine and Iron deficiencies
JB Mason, M Lofti, N Dalmiya, K Sethuraman and M Deitchler, The Micronutrient Initiative/IDRC, UNICEF, Tulane University, Ottawa, 2001, 116 pp.
This Report summarises the status of all these deficiencies and reports on progress made by programmes to tackle them. This is the first of a series of annual reports. It helps to set priorities for needed interventions.
Part I summarises prevalence trends and Part II describes the status of current programmes and suggests how to sustain their impact. The Report highlights current issues of supplementation and fortification with multiple nutrients and it pleads for more effective and integrated surveillance. It concludes that salt iodisation is the most extensive micronutrient intervention at present, that coverage through Vitamin A supplementation is of the order of 60% in about 30 countries, that fortification gets more attention in Latinamerica and that iron supplementation is lagging behind worldwide. The report includes numerous tables, figures and maps.
Edited by Usha Ramakrishnan, CRC Series in Modern Nutrition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2001, 260 pp.
This book examines anaemias in detail and offers an overview of the most current findings on the aetiology and consequences of this important public health problem. The book extensively discusses intervention strategies in the prevention of nutritional anaemias. It also examines multinutrient and iron supplementation, problems with compliance especially during pregnancy, and compares the benefits of daily versus weekly dosing.
Nutritional Anemias critically reviews successes and failures drawing lessons from past and ongoing programmes, as well as addressing current controversies head-on. Chapters by 22 different authors cover a historical overview and the complex causes of nutritional anaemias, their assessment, their functional consequences during different stages of the life cycle, as well as supplementation, fortification, food-based approaches, and measures to control helminth infestation. The book will serve as a timely resource for those working in public nutrition.
CRC Press LLC, 2000 N W Corporate Blvd, Boca Raton, Florida 33431, USA.
THE STATE OF THE WORLDS CHILDREN 2001: Early Childhood
UNICEF, 116 pp., with a foreword by Kofi Annan and a special article by Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel
What happens during the very earliest years of a childs life from birth to age three influences how the rest of childhood and adolescence unfolds. Yet, this critical time is usually neglected in the policies, programmes and budgets of countries. Drawing on reports from the world over, The State of the Worlds Children 2001 details the daily lives of parents and other caregivers who are striving - in the face of war, poverty and the HIIV/AIDS epidemic - to protect the rights and meet the needs of these young children.
Choices to be made, the opening section, makes the case for investing more in the earliest years of childhood, before the age of three, when brain development is most malleable and rights are most vulnerable. It sets the options governments have about where and when to make investments to ensure that children under three have their rights protected and their needs met. It highlights the importance of early childhood development programmes, not only for children, their parents and caregivers, but for the progress of nations as a whole.
A necessary choice, the middle section, calls on us to give needed attention to the youngest children where it is most difficult to guarantee: in countries where poverty, violence and devastating epidemics seriously challenge parents hopes for their children. The section argues that early child care can act as an effective antidote to cycles of violence, conflict, poverty and HIV/AIDS. The only responsible choice, the closing section, highlights the fact that parents often struggle against great odds, to do right by their children. In both industrialised and developing countries alike, they find advice and aid from informal support networks and community organisations with innovative child care programmes. Some of these experiments are described. The report goes on to make the case why investment in early childhood development pays off. The Report is richly illustrated, has some country profiles and a section with maps. It also includes updated and very useful country-by-country statistical tables on basic, demographic and economic indicators, on nutrition, health, education, and on women, including tables showing the rate of progress being made by each individual country.
- We will do our best
The ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security have just updated their website to include articles on the World Food Summit: 5 years later; updates on several thematic groups, civil society participation and an update on the Horn of Africa Initiative.
Upcoming issues ...
The next issue of SCN News #23 (December 2001) will feature a series of articles on Civil Society and the UN System: debate in the nutritional arena
We welcome suggestions for topics of articles from all readers
Next year, 2002, brings the 25th anniversary of the ACC/SCN and 25th issue of SCN News
Many readers have suggested that SCN News #25 December 2002 publish a history of the ACC/SCN
Let us know what you think
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