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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

The Asia Pacific Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition

10/11/2017-11/11/2017 Bangkok, Thailand

 

As Asia Pacific communities and economies develop at an ever increasing pace, the challenge of providing adequate nutrition and healthy diets has also greatly increased, due to constraints posed by resource scarcity, environmental degradation, unsustainable food production and consumption patterns, food loss and waste, food safety concerns and inequitable distribution. This rapidly changing environment has led to a nutrition crisis that demands addressing how our changing food systems are reshaping our food environments and influencing our diets. Though Asia and the Pacific has made significant progress in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals on hunger by halving the prevalence of undernourishment from 1990-92 to 2014-16, in many countries this reduction has slowed down.  If the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 2 on Zero Hunger, are to be achieved by 2030, action in the region must be accelerated now.   

Improving food environments in the region and developing metrics and reporting on their quality are essential steps in meeting these challenges. The Asia Pacific Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems and Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition will directly address this by convening close to 200 participants representing parliamentarians, policy-makers, academicians, researchers, students, civil society, the private sector and development partners from approximately 30 countries from Asia and the Pacific, North America and Europe. This expert group will propose policies and programmes that enable better production, processing and distribution of food, as well as promote sustainable diets and their integration into multisector country action plans.  It will promote regional and global partnerships and networks that foster nutrition-sensitive agriculture, ensuring high visibility for the importance and pivotal role agriculture and food systems play in tackling food insecurity and malnutrition as the region moves toward the SDG 2. 

The Asia Pacific event links to the FAO and WHO International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition held in Rome in December 2016, and is one of four follow-up events focused on specific world regions. These international and regional symposiums build on the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) held in Rome in November 2014, which focused on sustainable food systems as the key to promoting healthy diets. The UN General Assembly has reinforced this call for action by declaring 2016-2025 the Decade of Action on Nutrition. 

Objectives

The Symposium will enhance agriculture and food systems’ visibility, create policy and programme options, promote sustainable diets and build partnerships through taking stock of evidence on transformational change in food systems toward sustainability, and their link to positive health and nutrition outcomes.  It will develop and strengthen information platforms on nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems for countries in the region so that they can share that knowledge amongst consumers, producers and other stakeholders.  Major interventions for good nutrition governance and effective local level implementation will be identified and promoted. The Symposium will also create synergies between regional policy actions and regional networks, including the Sustainable Development Goals, ICN2 Framework for Action, Decade of Action on Nutrition, and national multisector action plans and NCD work plans. 

Realizing these objectives will provide a great leap forward for the Asia Pacific region and its communities as they confront hunger, malnutrition and the challenges of building sustainable food systems in the face of their dynamic growth.  Better nutrition and healthy diets will ensure this growth benefits it communities.