Cover Image
close this bookJoint FAO/WHO progress report on the implementation of the International Conference on Nutrition World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition. (1996)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentI. INTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsII. THE RESPONSE TO THE GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION
Open this folder and view contentsIII. A SELECTIVE REVIEW OF NATIONAL ACTION PLANS
View the documentIV. TURNING PLANS INTO ACTION: THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
Open this folder and view contentsANNEXES

IV. TURNING PLANS INTO ACTION: THE CHALLENGE AHEAD

69. Success in implementing the World Plan of Action for Nutrition will depend on a number of measures being taken by countries and agencies concerning institutional arrangements and substantive issues. As a matter of priority, countries need to integrate national plans of action for nutrition into regular national and sectoral development planning and budgeting cycles. This is critical to secure national commitment and resources and will enhance visibility of plans and nutrition in the overall development framework. The latter will be of great help to mobilize resources from bilateral and multilateral development agencies. However, as a prerequisite to obtain commitment and resources for effective implementation, the present plans of action will have to be made operational. To this end countries will need to focus on selected key areas of action without losing the overall perspective of the plan. This will require the development of detailed project proposals or periodic operational plans, including specific time frames, attainable targets and realistic budgets. Several countries, including some of the poorest, have already reached this stage and will need significant technical and financial support for full implementation.

70. To ensure the effective implementation of national plans with full participation of all sectors, countries should also consider to:

- undertake institutional reforms to effectively integrate policy formulation with local level planning and implementation;

-promote development and implementation of participatory methodologies in local level planning;

- promote participation of the private sector as a partner in the implementation of the plans through national consensus building involving the public sector, NGOs and grass-roots organizations;

- build-in monitoring mechanisms in national plans that generate information on a continuous basis, transforming the implementation process into a constant learning process; and

- identify high priority areas where multisectoral actions are to be implemented to exploit synergisms in producing better nutrition.

71. Equally important is the reinforcement of existing programmes related to food and nutrition. This will involve aligning to the maximum extent possible existing programmes in various areas toward the common goals of ensuring food security and improving nutrition. Doing so will require increased coordination and intensified cooperation among national ministries and organizations and bilateral and multilateral development partners. Since national and inter-agency coordinating bodies have a critical and catalytic role in this respect, their capacity to address food and nutrition issues will need to be strengthened in many countries.

72. In the wake of the ICN, countries are adopting broad-based nutrition strategies which now need to be translated into concrete, precise and targeted actions. Through their plans and progress reports, many developing countries are requesting assistance to build necessary local capacity to formulate, implement and monitor such activities, particularly in the area of food and health security. Technical development agencies have an important responsibility to support countries in developing relevant skills and strengthening institutional arrangements and infrastructure to address these issues in a comprehensive way. Their guidance on project formulation and evaluation will also be required, as well as assistance in establishing the impact of development activities on nutrition.

73. In line with countries' need for comprehensive food security programmes, FAO is promoting broad-based agricultural development both as a source of food to meet the nutritional needs of a rapidly expanding world population and as a means to improve access to food and other basic goods through income and employment generation. Recognizing the particular needs of a large number of developing countries, FAO has initiated a Special Programme on Food Production in Support of Food Security in Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs). The main goal of the programme is to assist LIFDCs in rapidly increasing their food production, farm productivity and access to food through employment generation. The programme, initiated on a pilot-basis in a limited number of countries, focuses on promotion of improved production technologies and better water control for major staple crops.

74. The need to address world food security in a comprehensive way at the highest level, in order to raise awareness and political will and secure concerted international action, has led the Director-General of FAO to propose the convening of a World Food Summit where world leaders would have the opportunity to examine the present situation and the future outlook, and agree on appropriate policies and actions. The FAO Council, at its 108th Session, supported the initiative and recommended that the Conference approve the convening of the Summit in 1996. The Summit should address food security as a strategic, political and economic issue, with the ultimate aim of protecting and promoting the nutritional well-being of all people. Issues of particular importance include: the ethical basis of food security; linkages between poverty, food insecurity and under-development; determinants of physical and economic access to food; biodiversity, indigenous foods and natural resource management; external debt; commodity diversification; the role of agriculture and rural development in national economies; research and technology transfer; and the overriding importance of peace and political stability.

75. The World Food Summit is expected to make more explicit and operational the obvious but not always straight-forward linkages between agricultural development, food production and nutrition. This will greatly enhance efforts to make policy makers and planners more aware of the impact of their decisions and actions on nutrition and enable them to develop comprehensive plans and programmes to bring about long-lasting improvements in food security and nutrition. Building on the momentum of the ICN and other international conferences, the World Food Summit should provide a timely opportunity to turn plans and declarations into action.

76. As we come to the close of the century, WHO has been conducting, in the light of profound political, economic and social and health changes that have been taking place, a thorough review of its policy and past action and will unveil a renewed health for all strategy by the time of its 50th anniversary celebration in 1997. WHO'S Ninth General programme of Work (covering the period 1996-2001) clearly identifies Nutrition as one of its major priorities and states the implementation of plans of action in countries based on the World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition as one of the major outcomes of world action. Thus, it is clear that nutrition will remain an integral part of WHO'S Health-for-All efforts across the globe. There will need to be continued high level political commitment from all Member Governments in order to ensure full implementation of the Plan of Action for Nutrition and the achievement of the ICN goals.

77. In order to achieve mil implementation of ICN recommendations, FAO and WHO efforts will be concentrated in two main functions: technical cooperation with countries; directing and coordinating international health and nutrition work. Technical cooperation with countries will stress efforts to attain national food security, health and nutrition goals defined by countries in line with agreed global goals and strategies. Instead of the traditional programme-by-programme approach, the activities of FAO and WHO programmes at different levels - country, regional and global - will be integrated so as to contribute to clearly defined results in countries, and allow for better coordination of efforts, particularly within countries, by the various United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, multilateral and bilateral donors, development funds and nongovernmental organizations involved in development work. Emphasis will be placed on coordinated and sustained support to improving agriculture, national and household food security, agriculture-based national development, national health and nutrition policy development for disease prevention and health promotion, strengthening of the health infrastructure (especially at local level), more effective programme implementation and the development of management capabilities, taking due account of national needs and expertise. FAO and WHO will intensify support to countries in greatest need. They will also promote more effective collaboration between countries, and especially developing countries, to sustain national health and nutrition development.

78. FAO and WHO directing and coordinating functions include the search for international consensus on nutritional problems of global priority and the most effective ways of assisting countries to solve them, and advocacy of measures to mobilize international resources and action for health and nutrition, including humanitarian assistance. They also comprise what is often referred to as the normative function of FAO and WHO, that is: monitoring the nutrition situation and trends throughout the world; proposing norms, standards and guidelines related to nutrition; and stimulating research, the advancement and application of knowledge and the sharing of information in the field of nutrition. FAO and WHO will use their specialized knowledge, experience and the information in data-bases to build up consensus and alliances, especially within the United Nations system and with development partners, to address major global and country nutrition problems. They will indicate where more action is needed, where duplication of efforts and resources exist and where reorientation is appropriate. FAO and WHO will continue to monitor trends through their general food and nutrition surveillance mechanisms and the regular monitoring and evaluation of progress towards health-for-all targets together with ICN goals. They will seek the further improvement of indicators and the development of new ones where appropriate.

79. Assuring improved food supplies and access by all to adequate amounts of good quality and safe foods throughout the year, improved health services and education for all, and sustainable national development and economies are formidable challenges for all. FAO and WHO, as sponsors of the ICN, continue to cooperate closely with all international agencies working to improve nutrition, with international and national non-governmental organizations, academia and industry, and, most important of all, national governments to attain improved nutritional status of all in a sustainable manner.