Policy Brief: Food availability, accessibility and adequacy key to achieve sustainable food systems in Jordan
23 September 2021
UN Jordan releases “Healthy Diet for all in Jordan” policy brief in in conjunction with the Global Food Summit.
The United Nations on Thursday released a policy brief, recommending Jordan to adopt specific key policies to ensure that its transitioning towards sustainable food systems, delivers healthy diets for all.
According to the policy brief, titled “Healthy Diet for all in Jordan”, Jordan has ratified the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, adopted a National Strategy for School Health 2018-2022 and the National Food Security Strategy 2021-2030, and will be developing a national nutrition strategy soon.
The UN cited results from the Global Nutrition Report for the year 2020, which showed that Jordan suffers from a double burden of micronutrient deficiencies and overweight/obesity, with women presenting the worst rates in both, pointing to a serious gender gap in nutrition.
Eighty four percent of adult Jordanians and Syrians (18-69 years old) consume unhealthy diets (less than the WHO recommended daily intake of fruit or vegetables). Anemia is prevalent among children and women of reproductive age at 34%, and breastfeeding rates are low with 25.4% of infants aged (0-5) months exclusively breastfed
For the food systems to deliver safe, sustainable, healthy and affordable food, the United Nations recommends Jordan to ensure:
- Food availability, which requires on the one hand that food should be available from natural resources either through the production of food, by cultivating land or animal husbandry, or enhance food processing especially for local food products. On the other hand, it means that food should be available for sale in markets and shops.
- Food accessibility, which requires economic and physical access to food to be guaranteed. Economic accessibility means that food must be affordable. Individuals should be able to afford food for an adequate diet without compromising on any other basic needs, such as school fees, medicines or rent.
- Food adequacy, which means that the food must satisfy dietary needs, taking into account the individual’s age, living conditions, health, occupation, sex and others.
To achieve these recommendations, Jordan could consider:
- Promote the adoption of agroecological practices more vigorously;
- Allocate sufficient resources to put in place comprehensive and universal social protection programmes including for women;
- Adopt statutory regulation of the marketing of food products as an effective way to reduce marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, salt and sugar to children, and restrict marketing of these foods to other groups;
- Scale up of food reformulation to progressively reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats in a wider range of foods;
- Implement mandatory standards for food labelling e.g., ingredient listing, back-of-pack nutrient declarations and simplified front-of-pack labelling for all pre-packaged foods, as it supports creating healthier food environment;
- Develop a national nutrition strategy and action plan and implement the school health strategy, the national food security strategy and its action plan;
- Scale up setting standards for public procurement and provision of healthy foods in public institutions.
- Provide balanced school meals and healthy options and prohibit selling processed food in schools and support implementation of the national school feeding programme;
- Adopt into domestic legislation and comply with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and the WHO recommendations on the marketing of formula products and foods for infants and of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children and ensure their effective enforcement, even where local enforcement is weak or non-existent.
The launch of the policy brief coincides with the United Nations Global Food Summit that takes place on 23 September in New York. The Summit aims at maximising the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges of climate change. It also provides a platform for ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform food systems and leverage these shifts to deliver progress across all of the SDGs.
Ahead of the summit, the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan in collaboration with the United Nations conducted national consultations with the concerned stakeholders and submitted a report on results of the consultations to the summit.
For more information about the policy brief: “Healthy Diet for All in Jordan”