400 leaders hailing from 50 countries for child nutrition - Montreal to host the 19th edition of the Global Child Nutrition Forum in September 2017

MONTREAL, Feb. 22, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The mayor of Montreal, Mr. Denis Coderre, announced today the 19th edition of the Global Child Nutrition Forum will be held in Montreal from September 17 to 21, 2017. Also present for the announcement were Mr. Daniel Germain, President and Founder of the Breakfast Club of Canada; Ms. Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Foundation; and Mr. Daniel Balaban, Director, United Nations World Food Programme Centre of Excellence against Hunger.

A first in Canada
For the first time in its history, the Forum will be held on Canadian soil, which was made possible thanks to the Breakfast Club of Canada, serving as the host organization, with support from the City of Montreal.

Organized annually by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger, this important event will bring together over a five-day period more than 400 leaders from 50 countries, hailing from the political, humanitarian, community and institutional realms. The mission of the Forum is to help governments around the world build national school meal programs that are locally-sourced and country-operated. Attendees will take part in various workshops and conferences designed to:

  • Build the capacity of governments to implement national school meal programs;
  • Engage businesses to strengthen supply chains and increase political will for school meal programs; and
  • Strengthen the field – among nonprofits, schools and researchers - to raise awareness and ensure strong support and resourcing for school meal programs.

"At the City of Montreal, it's a tradition to work closely with our community and institutional partners to offer our citizens, and particularly our most vulnerable children, an environment that helps them reach their full potential," said Mr. Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal. "Our actions were recently bolstered by the launch of our Child Policy and its guiding principles, which aim to develop and embrace the 'child reflex'. It's because we are committed to reflect on and implement innovative solutions in the realm of food safety that our city is partnering with the Breakfast Club of Canada to host the next edition of the Global Child Nutrition Forum," he further explained.

"Global statistics are troubling: only 368 million children go to school on a full stomach around the world" added Mr. Germain. "In Canada, over 1 million children live below the poverty line and are at risk of going to school on an empty stomach, which represents 23,000 school buses! Studies have proven the importance of school feeding and food aid programs targeting children. These programs allow children to better focus on school, resulting in more positive behaviours, the facilitated resolution of conflicts, and a drop in anxiety, depression and trips to the school nurse. The Breakfast Club of Canada is proud to host the Forum and participate in discussions about best practices for development and implementation of sustainable school feeding programs. Following this global gathering, we wish to see measurable objectives to better evaluate and assess its impact," continued Mr. Germain.

"As the largest school meals meeting in the world, the Forum aims to highlight issues related to child nutrition around the world, foster cooperation between countries and encourage said countries to develop new programs and new revenue streams," remarked Ms. Mitchell. "It's a wonderful opportunity for increased visibility on the world stage, to raise public awareness about nutrition problems facing children and how these challenges exist in all countries," she concluded.

"Over the years, this Forum has been a space for countries to discuss their challenges and share their solutions in school feeding, and this kind of exchange among peers is essential to boost innovation", said Mr. Balaban. "Promoting South-South cooperation and investments in strengthening governmental capacities are two examples of how the Forum supports countries to achieve sustainable development", he added

Having enough to eat: A concerted action in Montreal
The City of Montreal launched a Child Policy. Following its initial announcement in the summer of 2016, the City appointed a commissioner for children, who developed a 2017-2018 action plan that prioritizes food safety and healthy eating. Thus, the Breakfast Club of Canada received $2.3M in financial support to offer a balanced morning meal to students at 50 new elementary and high schools from nine Montreal districts.

This support comes in addition to a municipal investment stemming from an agreement with the Quebec government, where $3M will be dedicated to carrying out more than 160 community projects aimed at ensuring food self-sufficiency among Montrealers living in poverty, who make up 29% of the city's population. Lastly, it is worth noting that the City of Montreal has been contributing to various initiatives and projects aimed at promoting healthy living and food security for over 20 years. In 2015, Mayor Denis Coderre signed the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, asserting his municipal administration's intent to work towards a sustainable food system, notably in conjunction with the regional body Système alimentaire montréalais.

About the Global Child Foundation
The Global Child Nutrition Foundation is a global network of governments, businesses and civil society organizations working together to support national, locally-sourced and nutritious school meal programs that help children, communities and nations around the world thrive. Since 1998, the annual Global Child Nutrition Forum has brought together leaders from countries around the world for five days of intensive training, technical assistance and planning, all aimed at establishing and supporting country-operated, sustainable school feeding programs. By sharing their insights, experiences and challenges, an informal worldwide alliance of leaders dedicated to advancing school feeding has taken shape. As a result, the Forum has become a global catalyst for school feeding development.

About the Breakfast Club of Canada
For the past 22 years, Breakfast Club of Canada has been nourishing children's potential by ensuring as many as possible have access to a nutritious morning meal before school, in an environment that allows their self-esteem to thrive. Much more than a breakfast program, the Club takes a broader approach that promotes the core values of engagement, enrichment and empowerment. We also team up with communities and regional organizations to develop solutions that are tailored to local needs. Now operating from coast to coast, the Breakfast Club of Canada helps feed more than 163,000 Canadian students daily in 1,455 schools across the country.

About the World Food Programme Centre of Excellence against Hunger
The Centre of Excellence against was launched jointly by the World Food Programme and Brazil in 2011 as a powerhouse of solutions for the defeat of hunger and malnutrition. A South-South bridge to food security, the Centre draws on Brazilian experience to share knowledge and policy innovations among developing countries. Primarily focused on linking school meal systems to local agriculture, it provides technical assistance to national governments to design, improve, expand, and eventually run their own school feeding programmes.

 

SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Cabinet du maire et du comité exécutif

For further information: Sources: Marc-André Gosselin, Press secretary, Office of the Mayor and Executive Committee, 514 290-1194; Marie-Claude Bienvenue, Vice-President, Eastern Canada, Breakfast Club of Canada, Marie-Claude.Bienvenue@clubdejeuner.org, 514-896-3606; Information: Linda Boutin, Publicist, Communications Department, linda.boutin@ville.montreal.qc.ca, 514 872-6013; Marie-Eve Boisvert, Cofounder, Credo (for the Breakfast Club of Canada), marieeve@credoprod.com, 514 926 3169; Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Foundation, Arlene@gcnf.org, 206 913 3382, Gcnf2017.org;

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