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close this bookEnding Malnutrition by 2020: An Agenda for Change in the Millennium - Final report to the ACC/SCN by the commission on the nutrition challenges of the 21st century (ACC/SCN, 2000, 104 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentExecutive Summary: Main Messages of the Commission Report
Open this folder and view contents1. Recent Progress
Open this folder and view contents2. Global Nutrition Challenges: A Life-Cycle Approach
Open this folder and view contents3. Societal Issues Underlying Malnutrition: Implications for Progress
Open this folder and view contents4. Food, Agriculture and Environment: Future Challenges
Open this folder and view contents5. Food, Nutrition and Human Rights
Open this folder and view contents6. Vision and Goals for the Future
Open this folder and view contents7. Establishing a New Agenda for Change
View the documentAnnex 1: The Establishment and Membership of the Commission
View the documentAnnex 2: Existing Nutrition Goals which Should be Maintained, Developed or Refined
View the documentAnnex 3: Ending Undernutrition in India by 2020
View the documentAnnex 4: Issues to be Considered by Regional and National Meetings
View the documentReferences

Annex 1: The Establishment and Membership of the Commission

The Commission was set up by the ACC/SCN following discussions with participating UN agencies, bilaterals and non-governmental organizations and others at the 24th ACC/SCN Session in Kathmandu, Nepal in March 1997.

The Commission was asked to consider how best to meet the nutrition challenges in the 21st century, and to consider the role that the UN should play in meeting these challenges. A review of the global prospects in relation to nutrition was clearly needed, recognising:

a) the exceptionally high rates of childhood undernutrition in South Asia and, despite evidence of some improvement, a possible slowing in progress such that child undernutrition could be expected to affect many millions of children for decades to come;

b) the absolute deterioration in nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa, with little prospect of appreciable improvements;

c) that these disturbing features had become apparent despite the rapid progress that is being made in combating clinical vitamin A and iodine deficiency disorders.

The objectives of the work were set out as:

a) to take stock of the achievements and the failures regarding world nutrition and to describe how the UN system has contributed to these achievements and failures;

b) to review the challenges facing member states in the 21st century and the opportunities to overcome them;

c) to define the collaboration, services and activities that the member states should expect and would need from the UN system to meet these challenges; to identify priority support needs;

d) to identify ways to co-ordinate between and among UN agencies, as well as between UN agencies and member states, for the purpose of responding optimally to the challenges;

e) to discuss ways to enhance commitment and interest in nutrition by governments, UN agencies, donor agencies and development banks;

f) to describe the role of the SCN in this process.


Preliminary discussions took place in Montreal in July 1997 when a formal announcement of the establishment of the Commission was also made to the International Union of Nutritional Scientists Congress. Nutritionists were invited to contribute and to expect repeated involvement as the Commission's work progressed. The Commission then met in London in September 1997, January and February 1998, and in Oslo in April 1998. The Commission's expanded membership followed preliminary discussions about how best to respond to the Commission's task. The membership of the Commission is given below.

Within weeks of the Commission's first meeting, a number of UN and other international agencies had produced their own perspectives on the nutritional challenges for the next 20 years. These included the following:

1. FAO's World Agriculture: towards 2010. A draft of FAO's analysis of food requirements and population growth was also provided,

2. IFPRI's closely related 2020 vision for food, agriculture and the environment,

3. FAO's Prospects for the World Food Situation on the Threshold of the 21st Century, June 1997,

4. WHO's Draft Policy Document on Health for All in the 21st Century. This was considered in Helsinki in November 1997;

5. UNICEF's The State of the World's Children, 1998 with its focus on nutrition,

6. The Human Development Centre's report from Karachi on Human Development in South Asia, 1997,

7. World Bank Sector Strategy for Health, Nutrition and Population, November 1997.

The membership of the Commission is as follows:

Philip James - Chairman
Director, Rowett Research Institute (until June 1999)
Scotland, UK
Current address:
Public Health Policy Group
231 North Gower Street,
London NW1 2NS.
email: (Philip James)

Suttilak Smitasiri
Head, Division of Communication and Behavioural
Institute of Nutrition at Mahidol University
Salaya, Phutthamonthon
Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand

Mahbub ul Haq (died 16 July 1998)
President, Human Development Centre
8 Bazaar Road, G-6/4
Islamabad, Pakistan

Julia Tagwireyi
Director, Nutrition Department
Ministry of Health
PO Box 8204, Causeway
Harare, Zimbabwe

Kaare R. Norum
Rector (President)
University of Oslo
PO Box 1072, Blindern
N-0316 Oslo, Norway

Ricardo Uauy
Director and Professor, Institute of Nutrition and Food
Technology (INTA)
University of Chile
Casilla 138-11. Santiago
email: or

M.S. Swaminathan
Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
Third Cross Street
Taramani Institutional Area
Chennai 600113, India
email: or

The Commission was supported by Research Assistants based within the Public Health and Policy Section of the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen: Ann Ralph and Nina Seres with additional help from Colette Backwell and Jean James, and Karen McColl in the Public Health Nutrition Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine