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Enhancing food systems dialogues in Central Asia and Caucasus

A recent sub-regional symposia - Symposium on sustainable food systems and nutrition governance for healthy diets in Central Asia and Caucasus – was held from 24-26 April 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan. During the event, several countries acknowledged the need to shift to more sustainable production patterns, including a shift away from monotonous cropping patters to more diverse ones in order to support the availability of diverse diets. Central to the debates was also the role of schools and the importance of healthy school environments that curb the current rising trend of childhood obesity. In this context marketing aimed at children, including digital marketing, was mentioned as a serious threat to nutritional health of adolescents. Participants called for region wide learning and data collection, as well as the establishment of regional food based dietary guidelines.

The UNSCN contributed with 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.

This event stemmed from the FAO International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition (December 2016) that explored 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 this sub-regional symposia.

Joint Statement - Central Asia and Caucasus Food Systems and Nutrition Governance

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