The Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN) spoke with Professor Emorn Udomkesmalee, Co-chair of the 2016 Global Nutrition Report and Senior Advisor at the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, about how public-private partnerships can contribute to the tackling of global malnutrition.
ARoFIIN: In which areas can ARoFIIN support actions based on the Global Nutrition Report's key findings?
PEU: The biggest part that I think ARoFIIN can play is coordination across sectors, particularly in bringing in the private sectors to really make the difference. Majorly, we are looking at different activities ARoFIIN can do - the knowledge generation coming from research and from food innovation. We would also like to see the data that can be tracked across the sectors, particularly with regard to the progress of nutrition impact. Furthermore, at the end of the day, we think ARoFIIN can help us, in particular, move the commitment to action that really brings down malnutrition in all its forms.
ARoFIIN: How can ARoFIIN move forward in tackling all forms of malnutrition in Asia?
PEU: First thing, ARoFIIN needs a strategic framework that really guides what it needs to do in the coming years; activities that focus on [and stem from] ARoFIIN’s strengths. There are many initiatives in Asia that are similar to ARoFIIN; you might want to think about collaborating, rather than duplicating one another. In addition, I think what ARoFIIN also needs to do is to take a look at how you can bring in more sectors that would be helpful – particularly those that are doing community work, like certain civil societies – to value-add to your activities.
ARoFIIN: Is enough being done?
PEU: Obviously, the data says no. We have not done enough, and we can do more. There is room for improvement. From the data in the Global Nutrition Report, Asia has a lot of potential. A small progress in Asia would make so much difference and give people hope that malnutrition, in all its forms, can end in our lifetime. What we need is to move from talking to action, and focus particularly on the low-hanging fruits. There are a lot out there, and I do believe ARoFIIN will find them.