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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Policy outreach and communications - what works for improving food security and nutrition at the country level?

Claudio Schuftan
Claudio SchuftanPHMViet Nam


I refer to your call for case studies on policy outreach and communications for food and nutrition security.

When your call says:

…information is not always used, undermining efforts to improve food security and nutrition.

…how can we improve the uptake and relevance of FSN information for decision making.

…Technical notes, research reports, policy briefs, etc. on food security and nutrition (FSN) are often targeted at decision-makers and aim at contributing to evidence-based policy making. …Their influence remains unclear.

…how info has been used by policy makers and influenced policy dialogue and decisions in your country or region.

the flaw here is that all these ask how these eminently top-down efforts influence decisions. Well, we know they do not! Decision makers know in the back (or front) of their minds what is wrong --and often what can/should be done.. The whole concept of evidence-based is flawed. No evidence will convince politicians to go against what their ideological position is.


What innovative strategies and channels should be used?

Can changed communication or policy outreach strategy get better results?

What should information producers consider when trying to increase the use of their evidence by policy makers?

These are all moot questions. Probably none of the answers will ultimately be of relevance for wide diffusion. Case studies? To what avail? Each will be the exception that confirms the rule...

Why do I have to tell you at FAO –-with a strong right to food working group-- that it is only through the process of empowering claim holders  (and duty bearers) to forcefully demand (and abide by their obligations) that will ultimately be more effective than (or have to replace) ‘old thinking’ policy outreach?

You will compile a list of recommendations for making sure the FSN information we produce contributes to evidence based policy making.

I rest my case.


Claudio in Ho Chi Minh City