The FAO International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition(December 2016) was an event to explore policies and programme options for shaping the food systems in ways that deliver foods for a healthy diet, focusing on concrete country experiences and challenges. It has since been followed-up by several regional symposia, such as the Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets in Europe and Central Asia (December 2017, Hungary) which inspired a sub-regional symposia, held from 24-26 April 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Symposium on sustainable food systems and nutrition governance for healthy diets in Central Asia and Caucasus had a special focus on children and adolescents.
The UNSCN contributed with several presentations covering topics that ranged from global governance for nutrition to the return on investment of nutrition interventions. Since several of the countries represented are in the process of renewing their United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the UNSCN Secretariat also organized a special session about ways that nutrition can serve as a unifier and amplifier of the overall UNDAF outcomes, building from the UNSCN Guidance Note (2017). The UNDAF is the strategic programme framework that describes the collective response of the UN System to national development priorities.
During the Astana event, participants acknowledged the need for greater collaboration, coordination and coherence between humanitarian and development actors. Efforts to support nutrition mainstreaming can support strengthening the humanitarian development nexus. They can also highlight existing nutrition knowledge and skills held by individual members of the UN Country Teams and can create the opportunity to combine this expertise in a more coordinated manner. Nutrition is the thread that weaves through development priorities and acts as a stimulus for ending all forms of malnutrition and advancing human development.
Photo credit: @FAO/SERGEY KOZMIN