ICN2 'framework' document outlines action plan for better food and nutrition systems

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

The WHO and FAO backed ICN2 framework document suggests 60 recommendations to improve food and nutrition systems globally.
The WHO and FAO backed ICN2 framework document suggests 60 recommendations to improve food and nutrition systems globally.

Related tags World health organisation Agriculture Nutrition

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) have published a 60 point plan as part of a ‘framework for action’ to improve global food and nutrition systems.

The 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (#ICN2) in Rome last week brought together global leaders and stakeholders to confront the global problem of malnutrition in the biggest nutrition congress of its kind.

Based on the outcomes of the conference, the FAO and World Health Organisation (WHO) have published a new framework document that outlines points of action to improve health through nutrition and create a more sustainable food system for the growing global population.

The ‘commitments to action’ outcomes document includes a 60 action recommendations covering 15 key topic areas - from the promotion of sustainable food systems and healthy diets to improving international trade and investment and addressing global health systems to improve nutrition.

The voluntary framework aims to guide the implementation of the commitments of the Rome Declaration on Nutrition​ that was adopted last week. 

“Building on existing commitments, goals and targets, this Framework for Action provides a set of policy options and strategies which governments, acting in cooperation with other stakeholders, may incorporate, as appropriate, into their national nutrition, health, agriculture, development and investment plans, and consider in negotiating international agreements to achieve better nutrition for all,”​ states the WHO and FAO document.

A new framework

The action plan urges national governments – who have primary responsibility for taking action at country level – to, “consider the appropriateness of the recommended policies and actions in relation to national needs and conditions, as well as regional and national priorities, including in legal frameworks.”

The 60 point set of policy and programme options aims to create an enabling environment and to improve nutrition in all sectors and includes recommended actions in 15 key areas:

  1. Creating an enabling environment for effective action
  2. Sustainable food systems promoting healthy diets
  3. International trade and investment
  4. Nutrition education and information
  5. Social protection
  6. Strong and resilient health systems
  7. Promote, protect and support breastfeeding
  8. To address wasting
  9. To address stunting
  10. To address childhood overweight and obesity
  11. Anaemia in women of reproductive age
  12. Health services to improve nutrition
  13. Water, sanitation and hygiene
  14. Food safety and antimicrobial resistance
  15. Accountability

The WHO and FAO document also noted that ‘for the purpose of accountability’, the Framework for Action adopts existing global targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be achieved by 2025 and for noncommunicable disease risk factor reduction.

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1 comment

A target for the reduction of birth defects?

Posted by Renée Jopp,

In May 2010 the 63rd WHA adopted the Resolution on Birth Defects WHA A63.R17 “to redress the limited focus to date on preventing and managing birth defects, especially in low- and middle-income countries. ... The resolution calls on Member States to prevent birth defects wherever possible...”

The Framework for Action and the Rome Declaration on Nutrition are two important documents with great potential. Unfortunately with regard to reproductive health, the main focus is on nutrition during pregnancy, and only on addressing anaemia in women of reproductive age. To "Provide daily iron and folic acid and other micronutrient supplementation to pregnant women as part of antenatal care" is important, yet to reduce the risk of birth defects such as Spina Bifida (and the associated Hydrocephalus) developing in pregnancy, women of childbearing age need folic acid supplements and foods rich in folate or foods fortified with folic acid well before they conceive (at least 4 weeks).

The WHO Resolution also states that the 63th WHA is deeply concerned that birth defects are not still recognized as priorities in public health. More than four years later this still seems to be the case...

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