Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2020

What drives people towards tobacco use? What prevents people from doing physical exercise or adopting preventive measures during a pandemic? What increases the likelihood that someone will adhere to treatment or seek appropriate health care?

While a growing body of knowledge provides insights into these questions, factoring behavioural evidence effectively into health policies and programmes can be challenging. For example, health programmes often rest on the assumption that people will act in their best interest once we increase their awareness and knowledge. Yet, we know that this increase is insufficient for a behaviour to change. Because of inertia and preference for short-term rewards, people may continue with their unhealthy habits, despite improved health literacy. Certain health policies underestimate the importance of social norms and the fact that our behaviours are influenced by our perceptions of how other people think and act. Some interventions focus only on the human factor, without giving attention to environmental and structural issues that determine what options are available and how these options are presented to the population.

Too often, considerations around behaviours are only discussed in the implementation phase; but effective health policies and strategies require raising critical behavioural issues and questions much earlier, when broad policy objectives are discussed and designed. If we expect policy-makers and practitioners to increase the use of behavioural and social sciences, the global community of experts needs to provide easy access to evidence, tools, expertise and examples of use.

Behaviours are the result of complex interactions among cognitive, emotional, social and environmental drivers. To understand these, we need to draw theories and evidence from a variety of fields: sociology, behavioural sciences, behavioural economics, cognitive sciences, psychology, anthropology, humanities, communications, marketing, design thinking and system thinking.

To achieve health for all, policy-makers and practitioners need deeper insights into what shapes individual and collective behaviours among the general population as well as among practitioners and health-care workers who design and deliver health and social care. As part of its efforts to scale up the use of behavioural and social sciences in public health, the World Health Organization created a multidisciplinary technical advisory group for behavioural insights and sciences for health in 2020. The Bulletin of the World Health Organization will publish a theme issue on behavioural and social sciences for better health in 2021. We invite practitioners and researchers, particularly from low- and middle-income countries, to submit manuscripts with original research, reviews, perspectives and lessons from the field on the unique opportunities the behavioural and social sciences provide in achieving health for all.

We are interested in behaviourally informed approaches, interventions and reforms that have been shown to improve public health. In particular, we will welcome manuscripts that illustrate how behavioural sciences have been used for the design of policies and programmes; how behaviours of key players – including, but not only, at the population level – are addressed within health systems; how robust behavioural evidence can be gathered despite time and financial constraints; and how innovative approaches can help in overcoming these constraints. We hope submissions will provide evidence as to how multidisciplinary approaches improve the quality of behaviourally informed interventions; if and how existing behavioural theories and models are relevant to low- and middle-income countries; and how to build knowledge and skills relevant to behavioural and social sciences among health workers, practitioners and policy-makers.

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2020. Manuscripts should be submitted in accordance with the Bulletin’s guidelines for contributors (available at: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes796/1/18-990118/en) and the cover letter should mention this call for papers.

The call for papers was published in the October 2020 issue and can be accessed here.

In 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

The Summit will awaken the world to the fact that we all must work together to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food. It is a summit for everyone everywhere – a people’s summit. It is also a solutions summit that will require everyone to take action to transform the world’s food systems.

Guided by five Action Tracks, the Summit will bring together key players from the worlds of science, business, policy, healthcare and academia, as well as farmers, indigenous people, youth organizations, consumer groups, environmental activists, and other key stakeholders. Before, during and after the Summit, these actors will come together to bring about tangible, positive changes to the world’s food systems. 

Each track, with support from its corresponding chair and vice-chairs, is designed to address synergies as well as possible trade-offs with other tracks, and to identify bold new actions, innovative solutions, and strategies that can deliver wide-reaching benefits across all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are to create solutions at local, national, regional, and global levels and to scale up and to accelerate existing initiatives that align to the Summit vision and principles.

UN agencies will provide technical assistance as well as a link into the broader experience and expertise of the entire UN system, and oversee support for Summit follow-up activities. In addition, members of the Scientific Group will engage in each area to ensure the tracks are underpinned by robust evidence and science.

The following UN agencies have been selected as anchoring agencies for each action track:

  • FAO - Action track 1: Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all
  • WHO - Action track 2: Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns
  • UNCCD - Action track 3: Boosting nature-positive production at scale
  • IFAD - Action track 4: Advancing equitable livelihoods
  • WFP - Action track 5: Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses

 

The Summit process aims to deliver the following outcomes:

  1. Generate significant action and measurable progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Summit will succeed in identifying solutions and leaders, and issuing a call for action at all levels of the food system, including national and local governments, companies and citizens.
  2. Raise awareness and elevate public discussion about how reforming our food systems can help us all to achieve the SDGs by implementing reforms that are good for people and planet.
  3. Develop principles to guide governments and other stakeholders looking to leverage their food systems to support the SDGs. These principles will set an optimistic and encouraging vision in which food systems play a central role in building a fairer, more sustainable world. Principles of engagement
  4. Create a system of follow-up and review to ensure that the Summit’s outcomes continue to drive new actions and progress. This system will allow for the sharing of experiences, lessons and knowledge; it will also measure and analyse the Summit’s impact.

More information is available here

16 October 2020

Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our Actions are our Future.

As countries around the world suffer the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, #WorldFoodDay is launching a call for global solidarity to help the most vulnerable people to recover and make food systems more sustainable, stronger and resilient to shocks.

Our actions are our future.
But the responsibility doesn’t only lie with governments. We all have a role to play, from making food choices that improve both our health and that of our food system, to not letting sustainable habits fall by the wayside.

More information available here

UNICEF has released its revised Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs). Grounded in global humanitarian norms and standards, the CCCs set organizational, programmatic, and operational commitments and benchmarks for UNICEF.  

The CCCs have been revised to equip UNICEF and its partners to deliver principled, timely, quality and child‑centred humanitarian response and advocacy in any crises with humanitarian consequences.

For Nutrition, the revised CCCs describe eight commitments to ensure children, adolescents, and women have access to diets, services and practices that improve their nutritional status in humanitarian crisis: 

  1. Leadership and coordination 
  2. Information systems and nutrition assessments 
  3. Prevention of stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight in children aged under five years 
  4. Prevention of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and anaemia in middle childhood and adolescence 
  5. Prevention of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and anaemia in pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers 
  6. Nutrition care for wasted children 
  7. System strengthening for maternal and child nutrition 
  8. Community engagement for behaviour and social change 

To fulfil these commitments, UNICEF draws upon multiple resources including those in UNICEF's Nutrition in Emergencies Training and those developed by the Global Nutrition Cluster and the Infant Feeding in Emergencies Core Group.

13 - 15 October 2020 | Virtual

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will organize a High-Level Virtual Special Event on Food Security and Nutrition, 13 - 15 October 2020. The session, in lieu of CFS 47 which has been rescheduled to 8 - 12 February 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, will seek to keep food security and nutrition front and centre on the global sustainable development agenda.

Over the course of these 3 days, CFS will organize three high-level virtual plenaries, one per day, to:

  1. Take stock of the global food security situation guided by the SOFI 2020 and the HLPE report on Building a Global Narrative towards 2030;
  2.  Reflect on the impacts of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition and the global efforts needed to “build back better”; and,
  3. Discuss the draft CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition and the draft CFS Policy Recommendations on Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches, and their relevance to the objectives of the UN

To enrich and complement the plenary discussions and to give its partners and stakeholders an opportunity to highlight their work, CFS will organize 12 virtual side events over the three days – 4 per day. The side events (two in the morning before plenary and two in the afternoon after plenary), will be hosted/co-hosted and organized by CFS stakeholders. Each virtual side event will be allocated one and a half hours.

Please download the SIDE EVENTS APPLICATION FORM, fill it and send it back to CFS-SIDE-EVENTS@FAO.ORG by COB, Friday 14 August 2020.

Tuesday 13 October, 7:30 AM CDT - 8:30 AM CDT

Register h​ere​ - Event flyer

Please find the recording of the event here 

With a growing climate crisis and deepening food insecurity, sustainable solutions that address these challenges are urgently needed. Small-scale irrigation, which is increasingly implemented by smallholder farmers or groups of farmers themselves, can play an important role in addressing these challenges. Small-scale irrigation allows millions of smallholders to grow incomes and improve nutrition while increasing resilience to climate change. But small-scale irrigation needs to be placed in a larger complex of water-nutrition linkages, ranging from WASH (water supply, sanitation and hygiene), growing water scarcity and changing diets. This panel discussion provides an overview on water-nutrition linkages based on a recently released UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition paper, discusses specific linkages between small-scale irrigation and nutrition and incorporates insights from the field on how irrigation is transforming rural livelihoods.

Panelists 

Stineke Oenema, Coordinator (presentation)
UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition, Italy

Mure Agbonlahor, Senior Agricultural Production and Marketing Officer
Africa Union Semi-Arid Food Grain and Development (AU-SAFGRAD), Burkina Faso

Nicole Lefore, Director
​Innovation Laboratory on Small-Scale Irrigation, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M University, USA

Mansi Shah, Senior Technical Coordinator
Self-Employed Women’s Association, India

Claudia Ringler, Deputy Division Director ​
Environment and Production Technology Division IFPRI, USA

The 2020 International Borlaug Dialogue (October 12-16), will be offered in a week of half-day sessions in a virtual setting. Through a series of live and on-demand components, registrants will hear from leaders and champions, take deep dives into key interdisciplinary topics, and interact with new and familiar partners and colleagues.

Each day, the event will offer three types of live sessions - a panel discussion, a roundtable session and a workshop. Participants will connect through a discussion board feature. This year, the students of the Global Youth Institute will participate directly in presentations and discussions on the key topics: Climate Change, Equity & Access, Nutrition, and Finance & Investment in the context of resilience. 

The report Diets of children and adolescents: Unlocking gains for human and planetary health summarizes the outcomes of a strategic meeting by UNICEF and EAT in Oslo, March 2020.
 
In the context of the two organizations’ Children Eating Well (CHEW) collaboration, the meeting brought together experts from governments, academia, development partners and youth organizations. They reviewed the latest evidence on healthy and sustainable diets for children and adolescents, identified research gaps and opportunity areas for action, and explored the role children and adolescents can play in advancing food systems transformation.
 
Children have unique dietary needs, requiring a diversity of foods and foods of higher nutrient density than adults; they also have specific rights that governments must fulfill and protect. Meeting participants agreed that children’s needs should be positioned at the center of food systems transformations for healthy and sustainable diets. Three opportunity areas for action were identified: 1) influencing public policy; 2) addressing the issue of affordability of nutritious foods; and 3) improving multi-stakeholder, multi-scale collaboration. Meaningful engagement of children and adolescents themselves as part of this agenda was also considered crucial.

30 September 2020, New York

The United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Our societies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential for people, including through its provision of nutritious food, clean water, medicines, and protection from extreme events. Biodiversity loss and the degradation of its contributions to people jeopardize progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human wellbeing. The evidence of these connections is clear.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. We are reminded that when we destroy and degrade biodiversity, we undermine the web of life and increase the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. Responses to the pandemic provide a unique opportunity for transformative change as a global community. An investment in the health of our planet is an investment in our own future.

The Summit will highlight the crisis facing humanity from the degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development. It will provide an opportunity for Heads of State and Government and other leaders to raise ambition for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021. This framework, and its effective implementation, must put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 to meet the SDGs and realize the Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”.

As we approach the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020, progress towards global biodiversity targets including those of the SDGs has been insufficient. While there are many local examples of success, biodiversity is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, with growing impacts on people and our planet.

More information at: https://www.un.org/pga/74/united-nations-summit-on-biodiversity/

This evidence-based report offers policy solutions to improve the quality of diets using a food systems approach through promoting availability, accessibility, affordability, desirability, and sustainably, healthy diets for all. 

The aim and key added value of this report is to draw on the best available science and evidence to set out a practical way forward which is grounded in the realities of policy development in LMICs.

The advice and recommendations offered by the Global Panel are aimed primarily at decision makers in LMICs, but they alone cannot turn global challenges around. In a highly interconnected world, high-income countries also have a vital role to play, particularly where their own decisions have impacts on LMICs. High-income countries (HICs) not only share responsibility for some of the major problems facing us all but are also facing obesity and diet-related disease epidemics of their own.

This report shows that the underlying problems run deep. Our food systems are failing to produce the foods essential for healthy diets in sufficient quantity and at affordable prices. They are also driving degradation of the natural environment – soil, water and air quality, biodiversity loss and climate change – and dangerously undermining our future well-being. Since this report was commissioned in 2018, COVID-19 has highlighted just how fragile and precarious the world’s food systems have become. The situation is unsustainable.

Website

Download the Executive Summary

29 September 

The challenge of reducing food loss and waste during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc globally, generating significant challenges that could result in risks to food security and nutrition in many countries. Disruptions in supply chains resulting from blockages on transport routes, transport restrictions and quarantine measures are resulting in significant increases in food loss and waste, especially of perishable agricultural produce, such as fruits and vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shortage of seasonal migrant farm labourers and transportation labours, who have faced difficulties in crossing borders. The closure of much of the hospitality industry and schools has also resulted in a loss of markets for producers, making the situation even more challenging. Dealing with the levels of food waste in the upstream segments of the supply chains of perishables, vegetables, and milk, in particular, has been particularly challenging.

At the downstream end of the supply chain, with panic buying and stockpiling by consumers, supermarkets, which are often key donors to food banks, struggle to keep their shelves stocked and are unable to donate food. Yet, much of the food purchased by households may never be consumed and could end up being discarded as food waste, because of a misunderstanding of date marking and improper storage of these household food items.

The food waste during COVID-19, is even more concerning, considering that food banks across the developed world are anticipating a significant increase in the demand, owing to an increase in the number of people affected financially due to the surge in unemployment. The food banks face a number of problems ranging from a lack of experienced staff, insufficient supply of food, and also locations that are no longer suited to distributing food packages, because of the physical distancing measures.

We need to be aware of the importance of the issue of food loss and waste now more than ever in order to promote and implement our global efforts towards resolving it. That is why, in 2019, the 74th United Nations General Assembly designated 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, recognizing the fundamental role that sustainable food production plays in promoting food security and nutrition. Doubtless, this new International Day faces a lot of challenges to achieve our goals of "Responsible consumption and production," which will contribute to the fight for Zero Hungerand against Climate Change. 

More information available at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-food-waste-day