Nutrition and food safety on agenda during Regional Director’s visit to Uzbekistan

Nutrition, obesity and food safety were in focus when Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, visited Uzbekistan on 5–6 June 2014. Her visit coincided with an international conference in Tashkent that promoted intersectoral discussions on diet and nutrition, food security and food safety, and the role of fruits and vegetables in health and the economy in Uzbekistan.

The Regional Director delivered the opening speech of the conference, in which she emphasized the importance of a whole-of-government approach and the need for intersectoral governance and action in line with Health 2020, to ensure that people have access to a balanced diet and a nutritious and safe food supply. The Regional Director presented WHO’s vision of and strategic approach to health and well-being, focusing on the issues of nutrition, diet-related noncommunicable diseases and food safety.

The Regional Director noted that a safe and nutritious food supply is essential for good health, but unfortunately both diet- and nutrition-related diseases (notably noncommunicable and foodborne diseases) impose a significant public health burden throughout the WHO European Region. Children and poor people are the most exposed and vulnerable to these risks.

WHO strives to support European countries in their work to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply. The Regional Director pledged that WHO/Europe would continue to work with Uzbekistan on the issue.

During her visit, the Regional Director met Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, deputy prime ministers and other high-level officials.

International food conference in Uzbekistan
The conference was organized to promote the production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, of which Uzbekistan has a rich variety, which can improve people’s health and further economic growth.

Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan; José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); and other high-level representatives of national and international agencies participated in the event. The conference attracted over 700 participants from over 45 countries.