Member States in the Region of the Americas establish two action networks to contribute to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

Photo credit: WHO/Eduardo Martino

Working towards ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and with the recommendations of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)

5 December, 2018: The Ministry of Health of Brazil has announced the launch of two new action networks in the Region of the Americas, in partnership with health ministries in other countries, as part of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025.

The Action Network on Strategies for Reducing Salt Consumption for the Prevention and Control of Cardiovascular Disease in the Americas, supports, through exchange of experience, the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of strategies to reduce salt consumption to prevent and control cardiovascular disease.

This network aims to work towards meeting the World Health Assembly global targets from reducing risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). For the period of 2018-2020, Brazil will assume the presidency, and Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia will jointly hold the vice-presidency.

The Action Network on Food Guidelines for the Region of the Americas aims to support countries in the development, implementation, monitoring and assessment of guidelines that deal with the level of food processing when public policies are being developed. The dietary guidelines feature recommendations on food and dietary patterns. These will not only provide the necessary nutrients but also reduce the risk of NCDs and improve the general health of the population.

“The joint Nutrition Decade Secretariat welcomes the creation of these two new action networks by the Ministry of Health of Brazil,” said Anna Lartey, Director of Division of Nutrition and Food Systems at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization. “Brazil’s commitment demonstrates that national leadership is essential for preventing malnutrition; the Decade of Action on Nutrition offers a powerful vehicle to promote sustainable nutrition.”

The establishment of these two action networks is an important step forward in promoting healthy diets and fighting NCDs like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. These diseases are the number one cause of death in the Americas’ region and a threat to socio-economic development.

The primary objective of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, proclaimed in 2016 by the UN General Assembly, is to accelerate implementation of the ICN2 commitments, achieve the global nutrition and diet-related NCD targets by 2025, and contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, across six cross-cutting areas, derived from the ICN2 Framework for Action recommendations and relevant to SDGs.

One of the modalities of engagement within the Nutrition Decade are mechanisms such as action networks, which are informal coalitions of countries aimed at accelerating and aligning efforts around specific topics linked to one or more action areas of the Nutrition Decade. These coalitions advocate for the establishment of policies and legislation, allowing exchange of practices and experiences, highlighting successes and lessons learnt, and providing mutual support to accelerate implementation.