School meals play a critical role in children’s lives. They are an essential intervention in development and humanitarian contexts, proven to have long-lasting impacts across multiple Sustainable Development Goals and sectors, including food security, nutrition and health, education, water and sanitation, child protection, gender equality, and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. They are at the juncture of the right to food, the right to health and the right to education. They also offer enormous potential for the catalysation of food systems, with nutritious, locally-grown and appropriate foods, creation of jobs and contributions towards livelihoods, among other benefits. Civil society organisations have an essential role to play in supporting school meals programmes globally through collective advocacy, technical assistance, capacity sharing and fostering partnerships.
This joint statement contains our calls to action for equitable access to healthy and nutritious, sustainably sourced school meals.