Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Ms. Christine Campeau

Organization: United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN)
Country: Italy

Christine Campeau is a Technical Officer at the United Nations Systems Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN). She holds a Masters of International Relations with combined focuses on international diplomacy and climate-induced migration. Christine joined the UNSCN after working as a Policy Advisor at the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Secretariat and for civil society organizations, such as at Caritas Internationalis where she served as a Climate Change and Food Security Advisor.


This member contributed to:

    • Good nutrition is a human right and the foundation of well-being

      Only when a human rights approach is taken will the international community be able to move beyond addressing short term needs to begin tackling the real issues at stake. If the underlying issues are not addressed, sustainable solutions will not be found.

      The Voluntary Guidelines for the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (VGRtF), developed and endorsed by the CFS in 2004, provides a useful tool for States to consider human rights principles when developing strategies, policies, programmes and legislation for achieving food security and nutrition objectives. The VGRtF offers specific recommended actions to improve the nutritional status and well-being of people. These include actions to diversify eating habits, to promote breastfeeding, to disseminate information about the feeding of infants and young children, and to undertake parallel actions in the areas of health, education and sanitation.

      Drivers of malnutrition can intersect and overlap, intensifying the exclusion of certain groups of people. These may be difficult for an external audience to address but are intimately understood by those affected. Therefore, creating enabling environments for people, especially marginalised and deprived people, to empower themselves are essential for them to set their own priorities, be equipped to meaningful participate in decision making processes, advise in their implementation and the monitor and evaluate the outcomes to ensure that the benefits reach the intended targets. If this goes ignored, the international community will fail to utilise the local knowledge and expertise available and continue holding people back from reaching their full potential.

      The progressive realisation of the right to adequate food requires States to fulfil their human rights obligations under international law. There are several international instruments available in which the progressive realisation of the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, is enshrined. These include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (Art 25), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art 2 and 11), UN Charter (Art 55 and 56), the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the four Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols.

      Following the human rights based approach, governments have the prime responsibility in creating an enabling environment for nutrition. The central role of the UN system and its specialised agencies is to support governments in this endeavour. The world now has a complete and comprehensive set of nutrition targets and a sustainability agenda that provides social, economic and environmental context in which these nutrition targets should be met. These targets supplement the human rights agenda; specifically the Right to Adequate Food, indicating the responsibilities of governments and the avenue they should take to respect, protect and fulfil the Right to Adequate Food. In addition, high-level political attention for nutrition is increasing, with many governments committed to developing concrete policies and actions. This momentum must be maintained. Many institutes, organisations and individuals have been mobilised for nutrition in several important and influential initiatives, programmes and networks. More are welcome. (UNSCN, 2017)

      The UNSCN publication Nutrition and Human Rights (UNSCN, 2002) is one contribution to that effort. Traditionally, deliberations have focused more narrowly on how the nutrition advocates can use the human rights law and institutions more systematically to underpin efforts aimed at bettering human nutrition. The publication helps to provide a better understanding of how the insights and tools of the socially oriented nutrition community can support the identification of ways in which the human rights principles can guide development. The ultimate goal of which being to enhance sustainable positive effects for the human being and for society.

      Another contribution from the UNSCN is the discussion paper By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition and leave no one behind (UNSCN, 2017). This text presents the centrality of nutrition in the current sustainable development agenda, of which will only reach the intended target if actions are developed using a human rights framework. It provides an overview of the numerous and inter-related nutrition targets that have been agreed upon by intergovernmental bodies, placing these targets in the context of the SDGs and the Nutrition Decade. It aims to inform nutrition actors, including non-traditional ones, regarding opportunities to be engaged and connected in a meaningful way.

      Every man, woman and child has the right to adequate food and nutrition (CESCR, 1999). Good nutrition (as opposed to malnutrition) is included in the human rights to food, the human right to health and is the foundation of human health and wellbeing. It is a moral imperative to work towards the elimination of malnutrition, considering current knowledge, techniques and means of mobilisation and communication. Malnutrition, which includes undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity, affects all countries regardless of the nature of the malnutrition problem and income levels. Reducing its causes and effects is requisite for achieving the SDGs. Good nutrition is associated with mental acuteness and higher individual earnings. These outcomes in turn support macroeconomic and societal growth. Conversely, malnutrition impairs individual productivity, which acts as a drag on national growth. Malnutrition represents a pernicious, often invisible, impediment to the successful achievement of SDG targets (UNSCN, 2017).


      UNSCN Secretariat

    • Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the conversation. It has been another week of solid input that will no doubt help to shape the breadth and depth of the Decade’s Work Programme.

      Several themes are emerging strongly this week. One is the need for leadership, coordination and implementation, specifically at country level. Ending all forms of malnutrition requires bold, country-led leadership to shine a light on the pathways to coherent actions leading to results and impact. The coordination of these actions will help ensure that the final collective result is greater than the sum of the individual efforts. Through biannual reporting and course correction when necessary, the Work Programme’s strongest added value will be in its clear focus on consolidation and implementation.

      The sense of urgency to act to prevent increases in overweight and obesity due to low quality diets was emphasized. Priority also needs to be given to data collection for effective evidence-based policy making, which would help us understand what people are eating and why. Concrete measures to make our food systems and our direct food environment work better for nutrition are called for. Taxation was suggested as a means to ensure that healthy diets are available on the market, but this was questioned by others. This again highlights the critical importance of better understanding both consumer behavior and the effects of market regulation. Monitoring and evaluation of interventions to ensure that they are cost-effective, sustainable and are reaching their end target is essential.

      The number of commitments being expressed through this consultation shows the universality of the problem and identifies solutions moving forward. The Co-leadership team of the Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme of the UN 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) gave concrete examples of the initiatives they are undertaking to enhance international cooperation across sectors to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production. It would be a missed opportunity if not all of the existing partnerships were encouraged to take part in the Decade because everyone has a role to play. The nutrition community also needs to systematically engage in all relevant fora to ensure that nutrition is mainstreamed.

      Some participants asked for a calendar of events, and on that note, allow me to remind you of the upcoming ones specifically on the Decade’s draft Work Programme. A briefing will be held on 27 February 2017 as an opportunity to informally brief the Permanent Representatives of FAO and WHO Members and seek their views on the main elements of the draft Work Programme. The FAO and WHO will then produce a revised Work Programme to discuss with their Member States during the World Health Assembly (May 2017) and the FAO Conference (June 2017). This Work Programme will remain a living document, building upon and connecting the independent initiatives of governments and their many partners and will be adapted according to needs and lessons learned.

      We very much look forward to the next round of comments in the coming few days. By working together, we can make this Decade a decade of impact for nutrition.

      Kind regards,

      Christine Campeau

    • Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. This is a great start to the discussion.

      There was overwhelming support for the opportunity provided by the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to enhance coordination and cooperation amongst all actors, and drive integrated action across multiple sectors. With this, however, several asked for the lines of responsibility to be better defined, and for more explicit information about who is expected to do what. 

      Some contributors suggested structural changes to make the work programme more coherent and efficient, including the need to better distinguish between aspirations and concrete goals (i.e. “our ends and means”) to avoid confusion. This dynamic was also challenged with questions about what is achievable, such as our ability to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition. Others pointed to essential sectors that are missing, such as water, hygiene and sanitation, the nexus between humanitarian and development, and the challenges posed by climate change on food variability and nutrition security. 

      A strong case was made for a transparent, inclusive, open-ended participatory processes throughout the Decade to ensure that all actors feel a sense of ownership, togetherness and to ensure that the voices and commitments of all actors are heard. Online consultations were given as an example, as was a publically accessible repository of commitments to strengthen accountability. An online dashboard would allow for targets and performance to be tracked. It would also help to ensure that double counting of nutrition sensitive actions are avoided. 

      Today in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security’s Open Ended Working Group on Nutrition is meeting at FAO HQ to discuss its contribution to the Decade. We welcome you to consider an answer to that in the contributions to follow, and on broader observations on the Decade. 

      Thank you again for the thoughtful input and the commitments made to the Decade through this forum. 

      I look forward to continuing the conversation. 


    • Dear Colleagues,

      As our online consultation draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their valuable contributions. I am delighted with the rich exchange that we’ve had over the last few weeks.

      A number of contributors have highlighted the need to develop a common vision of success to be supported by national roadmaps. Examples received from government ministries show us how this can be done.

      Danny Hunter from Bioversity International rightly reminds us that there are two relevant UN Decades in progress: Action on Nutrition (2016-2025) and Biodiversity (2011-2020). It will be important to build synergies between these efforts to maximize the impact of both. Diets, with their environmental and health benefits, can provide a link.

      This consultation served as another building block in the development of the Work Programme of the Decade. The process of consultation will continue, and we welcome your commitments under the six pillars identified in the ICN2 Framework for Action: sustainable food systems for healthy diets; aligned health systems providing universal coverage of essential nutrition actions; social protection and nutrition education; trade and investment for improved nutrition; enabling food and breastfeeding environments; and review, strengthen and promote nutrition governance and accountability.

      Setting out the Work Programme of the Decade will be an inclusive, continuous and collaborative process, building upon and connecting the independent initiatives of governments and their many partners. As we move further into the Decade, UNSCN looks forward to engaging with you in an effort to translate the selected policy options and strategies into country specific commitments for action, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and various regional strategic frameworks.

      While unfortunately we must bring this discussion to a close, I would like to invite you to send any additional contributions directly to [email protected] within the next few days. I will do my best to summarise the general themes and specific ideas generated by this online consultation in a single document over the next few weeks, so keep an eye on the FSN Forum page. We may also reach out to you as potential authors for our upcoming flagship publication, SCN News, which will go more in-depth on some of the issues raised.

      I thank you again for your support and contributions to this discussion. It has been an extremely rewarding and refreshing process.

      Together we can make this Decade a decade of impact for nutrition.

      Kind regards,

      Christine Campeau

    • Dear all,

      We are thrilled with the engagement we have seen over the last few weeks. Over 70 contributions from all regions and stakeholder groups and, according to the FSN Forum, more than 10,000 visits from almost every country in the world—all in less than one month. We’re also starting to hear how you expect to contribute to the Decade; examples included the International International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) offer to help evaluate the effectiveness of nutrition programmes and the commitment from the Grocery Manufacturers Association to limit marketing to children in schools.

      Khairul Zarina Mohd Yusop from Malaysia emphasized the rise of non-communicable diseases in her country, mostly due to unhealthy diets. The National Plan of Action for Nutrition for Malaysia has incorporated a whole-society and whole-government approach to tackle the problem. Clement Goldson from Jamaica raised the idea that unsafe food should be regulated in the same way as cigarettes are, and stressed the need for better labelling and awareness raising.

      We all agree on the universality of the problem and, broadly, on solutions. Examples shared in the discussion show that, despite the progress in reducing malnutrition—specifically undernutrition— progress has been too modest and uneven across regions, populations groups and gender. Meanwhile, the number of overweight people has increased enormously in virtually all countries worldwide demonstrating that the several forms of malnutrition are still on the rise.

      Several of you noted the role our food systems play in providing sustainable, healthy, diverse diets and suggested that increased production is key. You’ve specified that this increase would need to focus on quality production to be able to address micro-nutrient deficiencies and would be geared towards lowering the consumption of ultra-processed foods. The global food system—in other words, the types of foods produced and how they are processed, traded, retailed and marketed—is failing to provide adequate, safe, diversified and nutrient-rich food for all in a sustainable way. Fixing food systems, so that they are sustainable and promote healthy diets will be vital to improving nutrition.

      Food is only one part of the equation to ensure better nutritional outcomes for all, as it also includes care and universal health systems.  Lal Manavado from Norway noted that the success of food production hinges on a local context (e.g. social, trade, transport, politics, education, communication) that is able to support and absorb the supply of wholesome food produced. Rosaline Ntula from Ethiopia echoed this point, highlighting the need to address nutrition in every component of the food system, from production, marketing, purchasing power, consumption and uptake.

      We have heard that different forms of malnutrition can be found in the same country, the same community, the same household and even the same person. With less than a week left for this discussion, I’m looking forward to hearing more excellent examples of your plans to contribute to the success of the Decade.



    • Dear all,

      Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the conversation. We have covered a lot of territory; however, let me try to summarize some of the issues that have been addressed.

      It’s been emphasized that - for the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to achieve longstanding results - we need to be forward thinking and adaptive to the constantly evolving nutrition landscape. Emerging issues include modifications in dietary patterns, urbanisation and the effects of climate change on food availability. We have also heard that these pressures cause the greatest stress to those who are most vulnerable, and that this needs to be considered when designing and implementing policies. Attention has also been drawn to the potential to make significant gains in malnutrition by addressing food waste and post-harvest losses.

      A reccurring theme has been the complexity of malnutrition, as well as the need to involve multiple stakeholders. The UNSCN will do its part to support the UN “delivering as one” by helping to strengthen policy coherence, enhancing dialogue and identifying linkages to foster joint nutrition action, partnership, mutual accountability and advocacy on nutrition.

      Isaac Bayor from Ghana suggested government departments and institutions be supported in order to build capacity to jointly plan, budget, implement, and monitor nutrition related goals. This would help avoid duplications and would ensure that policies are translated into actions that are routinely monitored, evaluated, reassessed and improved.

      Wilma Freire Zaldumbide from Ecuador reminded us of the need to learn from nutrition success stories, such as from Brazil, Peru and Columbia. While solutions need to be context specific, peer-to-peer exchanges are one way to assess how the right policies implemented in the right countries can successfully reduce under nutrition in less than a decade.

      On a similar theme, we have heard that nutrition programs must also be designed with and able to inform a wide range of actors. By building the capacities of front-line workers, food vendors and local practitioners, we ensure that individuals are equipped to regulate against unsafe practices, uncover bottlenecks and create a demand for improved nutritional services. Building the knowledge amongst journalists is important in this respect, as the media has an important role to play in amplifying key messages and promoting healthy eating.

      Contributors have also reminded us of the need for stronger collaboration between the nutrition and agriculture stakeholders to reshape the global food system for better nutritional outcomes. The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) called for “strengthening sustainable food systems”. The Decade takes that one step further by placing its support for the improvement of diet quality through sustainable food systems at the center of global action.

      As our online conversation continues, it would be good to hear more about the roles and responsibilities of the various actors, as you see them. We know the longstanding issues so tell us what commitments you expect from whom to go beyond business as usual. How best, for example, can the Decade support women and girls’ nutrition?

      We very much look forward to the next round of comments in the coming few days.

    • This is a great start to the discussion. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. I see a number of themes emerging.

      One is the fact that policy decisions need to be evidence based. Linked to this is the importance of connecting decision makers with the academic community, empowering local institutions to be agents of change. Examples of academic groups working to make that connection include the Global Nutrition Report and its Independent Expert Group, International Union of Nutritional Sciences and World Public Health Nutritionists Association. The value of disaggregated data and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms were underlined in order to ensure that the nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions are having the desired impact and reach the most marginalized communities and households.

      A strong case was made for rights based policies. As Pat Vanderkooy, Dietitian of Canada pointed out, it is our shared public responsibility to protect the environment and human rights “with dignity and equity, not by charity”. We need to raise awareness about the importance of good nutrition through broad-based campaigns with target groups ranging from primary school curriculums to education of the elderly. Civil society actors continue to be the biggest advocates for nutrition but we all have a role to play. The more informed people are, the better equipped they are to organize, mobilize and work with their governments and businesses towards the necessary changes in their food systems and to safeguard their rights.

      There have also been some references on the need to build the economic case for investing in nutrition. According to the 2015 Global Nutrition Report, every US $1 spent on high impact nutrition actions such as exclusive breast-feeding yield at least US $16 in return. This support can be catalyzed by foreign assistance but, ultimately, nutrition needs to be a national priority supported by domestic finances to ensure long-term, sovereign growth. Thomas Herlehy, Independent Agricultural Consultant expressed it well when he wrote: “future economic development depends so much on future generations and their ability to lead healthy lives, contributing to the growth of the economy and making intellectual contributions to solve local problems”.

      The importance of working together has also been emphasized. The GTSA (Groupe de Travail sur la Sécurité Alimentaire, [Food Security Working Group]) in Cameroon and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement were mentioned as success stories that demonstrate the benefits of working across sectors and stakeholder groups towards a coordinated response to malnutrition.

      Moving forward, I’m very interested to hear more about what you see as the roles and responsibilities of the various actors, both duty bearers and right holders.  How do you think we can accelerate and improve the quality of commitments from the various actors to address all forms of malnutrition and how you see these activities being funded? Comments are of course welcome on all aspects and expectations for UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.

      Thank you again for the thoughtful contributions, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.