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The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development, invited Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation to join the Global Panel's High Level Stakeholder Group (HLSG) meeting in Windsor, UK. Dr Nishtar attended the meeting through video conferencing.

The main objective of the meeting was to seek the critique of members on the Global Panel's second foresight report on positioning food systems to deliver healthy and sustainable diets. Virtually addressing the meeting as a panel member, Dr Nishtar elaborated the strategic approach of the government of Pakistan under the Ehsaas framework to address nutrition.

"Tackling malnutrition is embedded in the strategy of Ehsaas," said Dr Nishtar, speaking to the international stakeholders and policy makers from governments, civil society, academia and industry from different sectors in the food system. She emphasized that Ehsaas which is government's new antipoverty programme aims to promote equalities, which amongst other things centres on human capital development, of which healthy diet is a core component. Nutrition,therefore, is very important part of Ehsaas framework and the programme looks at it holistically at both ends of the spectrum ie under nutrition and overnutrition.

Further, Dr Nishtar stated, "The Government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial nutrition task force, headed by the Prime Minister and there are six cabinet ministers sitting on the task force. It is quite unique as this is the first time that inter-ministerial set up has been created to shepherd nutrition. The other exciting step is that Ehsaas has recently notified an agriculture value chain building expert group in which we have invited all UN agencies that crosscut with agriculture and in its first meeting to be held later this week." Apprising the panel members and HLSG about the recent policy formulation on Nutrition under Ehsaas, Dr Nishtar highlighted severa lEhsaas policies and programmes are aimed at tackling malnutrition across Pakistan. -PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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