Intersectoral food and nutrition policy development: a workshop for decision–makers. Report on a WHO workshop
The dynamic world food system makes it hard for governments to keep pace with the changes and at the same time protect public health. Recent food scares such as the BSE crisis in the United Kingdom, the Asian flu crisis with chickens in Hong Kong and China and the breakdown of the food supply system in the Former Soviet Union highlight the importance of global surveillance and response. The changes in public health systems and health protection legislation that is needed can be difficult to introduce both at international and national levels. Consistent food and nutrition policies are important from international, national through to the local level. The need for managing human and financial resources cannot be underestimated when trying to initiate institutional change. Enlightened administrators and policy-makers play a key role in enabling these changes. After high-level decision-makers are sensitized to the need for a food and nutrition policy to ensure public health, decision-makers are more likely to support an intersectoral approach. This workshop is multidisciplinary and intended for policy-makers, and their advisers, working in the sectors connected with food. It is not intended to convey new technical information but focuses on using their current information to develop national action plans. The participants can come from a range of backgrounds: health, agriculture, environment, education, social welfare, finance, academia, the food industry, and the nongovernmental or voluntary sector. A successful food and nutrition policy will be developed by involving all the relevant sectors and key players. It is imperative that the participants attending this workshop represent as many sectors as possible. Participants who complete the workshop will be equipped with some of the skills necessary to develop a food and nutrition policy at a national or local level.