The problem: iodine deficiency
Iodine is a crucial nutrient for healthy brain development. When populations are deficient, pregnant women and newborns are disproportionately affected — iodine deficiencies can lead to cognitive and developmental impairment, as well as miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant mortality. Even mild deficiency can affect children’s ability to learn and achieve their full potential.
A great deal of progress has been made to address iodine deficiency. Today, it is estimated that 89% of the global population has access to iodized salt, with 21 countries not meeting population iodine nutrition needs.   However, iodine deficiency is still the leading cause of preventable mental impairment in the world.  
The solution: salt iodization
Fortunately, iodine deficiency can be prevented easily and affordably by adding a small amount of iodine to the salt we consume. The Copenhagen Consensus considers it one of the best investment strategies in international development. 
How the Iodine Global Network works
IGN monitors, supports, and catalyzes collective action on iodine nutrition programs worldwide. The overarching goal is to ensure that all populations have adequate iodine status, and that salt is iodized forever to achieve this. IGN works to harmonize action among diverse stakeholders:
- the salt industry to source, process, and iodize raw salt
- governments to mandate and monitor programs
- civil society to understand the issue of iodine deficiency and create demand for iodized salt
- development partners to support programs on the ground
IGN facilitates collaboration between these partners to deliver iodine nutrition at the national level in countries around the world, advocating for political will and national awareness, providing technical assistance, and aligning iodine elimination with the broader nutrition agenda. In addition, IGN investigates scientific issues to help the communities most vulnerable to iodine nutrition, particularly mothers and newborn infants.
Salt iodization programs have already helped to achieve healthy iodine nutrition in all but 21 countries of the world. IGN sustains and facilitates progress, and tracks it through a Global Iodine Scorecard. They track and catalyze global food fortification efforts in partnership with the Food Fortification Initiative, GAIN, and Micronutrient Forum, through the Global Fortification Data Exchange.