Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)


UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025: priority actions on nutrition for the next five years

The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 (Nutrition Decade) proclaimed by the UN General Assembly Resolution 70/259 in April 2016, was established under the normative framework of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) held in November 2014 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Nutrition Decade aligns on-going efforts of countries and all stakeholders to act across six inter linked Action Areas, which have been based on the commitments of the ICN2 Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the recommendations included in its Framework for Action:

  1. Sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets.
  2. Aligned health systems providing universal coverage of essential nutrition actions.
  3. Social protection and nutrition education.
  4. Trade and investment for improved nutrition.
  5. Safe and supportive environments for nutrition at all ages.
  6. Strengthened governance and accountability for nutrition.

As part of the mid-term review process of the Nutrition Decade, the joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat of the Nutrition Decade has reviewed progress made during the years 2016-2020 and suggests a plan forward for the period 2021-2025, which was presented in a Foresight paper and identified through informal dialogues with different stakeholder's groups.

The Nutrition Decade seeks commitments from the highest levels of government to lead all relevant stakeholders for urgent, sustained and coherent nutrition action. The UN Nutrition Secretariat invites stakeholders and the wider public to provide insights on the proposed focus areas for priority action1 within each of the above-mentioned six Action Areas for the next five years of the Nutrition Decade.

This process to seek feedback through the FSN Forum consists of two different components that complement each other: an online consultation available in the six UN languages and a short online survey in English. The online consultation gives stakeholders the opportunity to discuss their views and share suggestions on priority actions they believe stakeholders should be taken in the coming five years to contribute to ending all forms of malnutrition. The online survey aims to collect mainly data in a structured way on this topic. It shall take approximately 10 minutes of your time. We invite you to take part in both activities or to choose the one that allows you to share the most relevant input and expertise.

The online survey can be accessed here

For those wishing to participate in the online consultation, we welcome your input and insights along, but not exclusively, the following questions:

  • What are the top three priority actions on nutrition within each of the six Action Areas that should be prioritized by stakeholders going forward, in order to make a difference in nutrition and contribute to ending all forms of malnutrition?
  • Priority focus areas are being tentatively proposed as per the table below. Please indicate if any key elements are missing. Please note that the online survey inquires more specifically about the priority focus areas.
  • Which are key cross-cutting actions that would facilitate interlinkages and create synergies between Action Areas?
  • What do you think are the top three emerging issues and/or trends likely to hamper the achievement of the global nutrition targets? What would you like to see done to address them?

Your contributions to the online consultation and the online survey results will be compiled and analyzed by the UN Nutrition and the Nutrition Decade Secretariats. The results will inform the next five years of the Nutrition Decade. A summary of the input received will be made publicly available on the FSN Forum website and and may be considered in official reporting mechanisms (e.g. UN Nutrition reports).

The online survey and the online consultation are open until 14th June 2021.

We thank you very much in advance for taking the time to share your feedback with us. Your input will be very important in shaping effective action for the next five years of the Nutrition Decade to address malnutrition in all its forms, leaving no one behind. 

Stineke Oenema

Executive Secretary of UN Nutrition


Proposed tentative priority focus for the next five years of the Nutrition Decade2

Action Area 1: Sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets
  • Scale up the inclusion of nutrition objectives in food and agriculture policies: increase production of context-appropriate fruits and vegetables for domestic consumption, and of legumes and pulses that contribute to healthy diets; raise production of oils in support of the elimination of industrially produced trans-fat in the food supply.
  • Accelerate food reformulation: provide reference ranges for sodium reduction level benchmarks for processed foods.
  • Accelerate strengthening food control systems: implement national programmes for surveillance of food-borne diseases in humans and contamination of food-borne hazards in the food chain.
Action Area 2: Aligned health systems providing universal coverage of essential nutrition actions
  • Scale up the integration of nutrition actions into health systems: integrate essential nutrition actions into national Universal Health Coverage (UHC) plans.
  • Address funding gaps: increase investments for nutrition in UHC, including for integrated data systems for tracking coverage and quality of essential nutrition actions.
  • Accelerate progress on wasting reduction: implement the UN Global Action Plan on Child Wasting and its Roadmap.
Action Area 3: Social protection and nutrition education
  • Scale up the implementation of nutrition-sensitive social protection policies: ensure coherence between social protection and other sector programmes such as with agricultural production, livelihood diversification and local economic development; national supplementary food bank programmes provide weekly vouchers to each user for purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.
  • Better leverage of schools as a platform for food and nutrition education and enabling healthy diets: set and improve nutrition standards for school meals.
  • Accelerate building nutrition capacity: increase the number and quality of nutrition professionals; train healthcare workers to better deliver nutrition action across the life-course.
  • Scale up the implementation of nutrition education interventions: implement easily understandable nutrition (front-of-pack) labelling on food products that supports consumers’ choices for healthy diets.
Action Area 4: Trade and investment for improved nutrition
  • Accelerate responsible and sustainable investments in nutrition: a minimum percentage of the overall national governmental yearly budget is set for nutrition interventions.
  • Scale up the implementation of nutrition-sensitive trade policies: establish a national task force represented by different sectors for assessing the coherence between national trade policies and the implemented nutrition actions.
  • Strengthen partnerships for data collection and development of tools: global institutions to continue to improve data collection and develop methods and indicators to better understand trade policy impacts on nutrition.
  • Accelerate investments in local food supply chains: gradual increase yearly public sector government budget for investments in cold chain technology and post-harvest handling of perishable foods.
Action Area 5: Safe and supportive environments for nutrition at all ages
  • Scale up the implementation of regulatory instruments to promote healthy diets: introduce taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages and subsidies for fruits and vegetables; implement legislation of marketing restrictions of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and/or salt to children.
  • Scale up the implementation of nutrition-sensitive public food procurement policies: set food and nutrition-based standards for the food and meals provided in hospitals, care facilities and other public settings.
  • Scale up the implementation of national dietary guidelines: include in national dietary guidelines for children, adults and elderly biodiversity and sustainability considerations.
  • Scale up the implementation of nutrition-sensitive policies for improving local food and nutrition environments: introduce zoning regulations and tax regimes to minimize food deserts and swamps.
Action Area 6: Strengthened governance and accountability for nutrition
  • Enhance political commitment through political dialogue and advocacy at national and sub-national levels: establish and strengthen coordination mechanism through a multistakeholder consultation process for the uptake of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition.
  • Address research funding gap: increase investment for research on the adaptation of global recommendations to the country context to support capacity development for implementation.
  • Scale up investments in national nutrition information system: establish and strengthen a national nutrition monitoring framework in line with global guidance and the SDG monitoring framework in order to identify challenges and gaps for informed and effective policymaking.
  • Accelerate global governance and accountability: use global summits such as the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021 for setting new commitments for action on nutrition and streamlining the global nutrition accountability infrastructure.

1These proposed focus areas for priority action are specified in the table.

2FAO & WHO. 2018. Strengthening nutrition action: A resource guide for countries based on the policy recommendations of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). Rome, Italy. 112 pp. [Cited 25 November 2018].; Joint FAO/WHO Secretariat of the Nutrition Decade. 2020. Mid-term review foresight paper [online]. [Cited 30 March 2021].

This activity is now closed. Please contact [email protected] for any further information.

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Message from the facilitator

Dear participants,

The e-consultation on the Nutrition Decade has come to a very successful closing. We thank you warmly for your engagement and thoughtful contributions. In addition to the ideas and proposals directly provided to the FSN Forum platform, 185 participants from 60 countries from all over the world offered their insights by answering the online survey. The survey results will be compiled and made soon available at the FSN Forum and at the UN Nutrition website.

The joint FAO/WHO Secretariat of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition will review and take full consideration of your opinions when revising table 1 of the Nutrition Decade’s Work Programme for the remaining years of the Nutrition Decade, to accelerate nutrition actions by Governments and relevant stakeholders.

Some of you asked for some stronger UN voice and more coordination leading to joint UN positions on key global emerging issues that impact nutrition. UN Nutrition will work on your needs and requests soon, so please stay tuned. If you are not yet a subscriber of UN Nutrition, we would like to encourage you to do so and sign up for UN Nutrition e-newsletter and e-alerts.

Thanks again and we look forward to a continued dialogue with all of you as we move forward in UN Nutrition.

Stineke Oenema

UN Nutrition Executive Secretary

World Cancer Research Fund International welcomes the opportunity to feed into the revision of the priority actions for the next five years of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 and contribute key approaches that best address tackling all forms of malnutrition, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Please find our comments attached.

Thank you.

Dear Madam/Sir,

Attached please find the comments of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition Proposed Priority Actions for 2021-2025.

We are a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations collaborating on bold action to transform food systems. The recommendations expressed in this document are built after years of consultation with our members and based on strong collaboration with a wide range of partners supporting transformations towards healthy, equitable, renewable, resilient, inclusive, diverse, and interconnected food systems.

Thank you,

Matheus Zanella

Flexible diets are one of the priority actions on nutrition for the next five years. A flexible diet is a healthy diet with adjustable dietary energy density.  A balanced diet is healthy. A balanced diet should provide around 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates, about 10-15% from proteins and 20-30% from both visible and invisible fat. Dietary Energy Density is defined as food energy in Kcal (Kilocalories) per unit mass (gram).  Dietary energy density can be modified according to the need by increasing or decreasing the ratios of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fatty acids within the limits of recommended dietary allowance.  A healthy diet is an ideal diet if it meets the needs of a person. Dietary energy requirement of a healthy adult depends on the level of physical activity and type of work. Dietary energy requirement of a child or teenager depends on the level of physical activity and participation in games and sports.

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans and other animals as food. Vegetables refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. Vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked and play an important role in human nutrition, being mostly low in fat and carbohydrates but are bulky and filling.  Many nutritionists encourage people to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, five or more portions a day often being recommended. It is necessary to review the emphasis on increasing the global consumption of fruits and vegetables to double by 2050 to meet global nutrition targets. Vegetables and fruits consumption should be based on palatability and taste of the individual, not driven by nutrition. Protein, fats and dietary energy density in vegetables and fruits is far less than the human requirement. The minerals and vitamins that are present in most of these vegetables and fruits is a small fraction of the daily values. In most of the countries, food is fortified with micronutrients. Other plant products such as nuts and seeds are rich in many nutrients present in vegetables and fruits. Cost of the vegetables and fruits is very high compared to other food groups. Reducing the consumption of vegetables and fruits will reduce the global green-gas emissions and fresh water use. Modifying processes in making long shelf life plant products like soya meal to suit human consumption (retaining nutrients intact) will increase the availability of affordable nutrients to vulnerable people in low and middle income countries.


As I review the briefing material and current comments on the forum for UN Decade of Nutrition from the perspective of an agronomist with the biggest concern producing sufficient food to support an ever increase global populations in as sustainable manner as possible with an emphasis on smallholder production in developing countries, I have several concerns mostly falling under Action Area 1: Sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets.

Is what I fear will compromise the acceptability of most of the current work on improving nutrition. That is the need to consider the nutritional requirement to optimize economic opportunities. To often those with the greatest need for improved overall nutrition are those who also have the menial economic opportunities requiring heavy manual labor. This will require upward of 4000 kcal/day when often they will only have access to 2500 kcal/day, which is typical for smallholder farmers. This limited diet severely restricting the hours per day of diligent work, prolonging the time required for various farm management activities, and reducing total production below that needed for family food security, let alone extensively participate in any value chain marketing. This makes the ability to produce or acquire improve nutrition unfeasible. Unfortunately optimizing economic opportunity will take priority over improved nutrition. Thus, there is a need carefully review the affordability of improved diets after providing sufficient calories to meet economic opportunities. If not, then most of the work on improved diet will be academic with limited development prospects, even when followed by an extensive education extension program. For a detailed review on problems of dietary energy balance please review the following webpages:……

Feel free to copy and distribute the poster as feel appropriate and take hour or so to try and balance the 4000-kcal energy requirement with any records you can find on casual labor wages, either as declared by governments or actually paid by farmers or other employers. It does not take long and the result mind-blogging. An undercurrent in the webpage is the need to provide a egg a day per child as promoted by an World Bank seminar/webinar I attended a couple years ago. For the price of the egg, you can purchase enough grain for about 3 hours of diligent labor. Which is more critical for those on the economic margin?

The real need here is to reduce the drudgery of smallholder famers which quickly translates to the need for access to mechanization for basic land preparation. Expediting land preparation and crop establishment, should have a major impact on family food security, ability to extensively participate in market value chains, and affordability of improved nutrition as experience with the shift from water buffalo in paddy production in Asia. Please review the webpage:…

On other issues please check for some of the major global trade off between land required for agriculture production vs. land reserves. Also, the total availability of organic nutrients vs. plant nutritional needs to feed the total populations. Finally, beware of condemning GMO as most the GMO development is intended to reduce chemical application and thus protect the environment. Thus, you cannot promote fewer chemical applications and condemn GMOs. Please review these webpages:… ;…


Excessive food consumption in the world is one of the reasons for increased global warming and increased global burden of diseases. It is necessary to reduce the food consumption immediately to halt further damage to human and planet health and meet global nutrition targets. FAO 2019 statistics indicates that there is nearly 8% increase in per capita consumption of dietary energy in the world between 1997 and 2017. There is more than 50% increase in the adult obesity rate during the same period.  Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) of the dietary energy used all over the world for the past several decades is an over estimate. Empirical equations are used for estimating EER. Weight, height and age data are included in the formulation of these equations. Increase in height or weight increases the EER irrespective of the work or learning environment. Increase in EER made people increase food intake, which in turn increased weight. This spiraling pattern of weight increase resulted in obesity, overweight and other non communicable diseases in the children as they become adults. Some of the countries reduced protein intake levels in their national level dietary guidelines . Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. Dietary Energy is expended from the body through excretory organs or retained as chemical energy in the body. Excreted thermal energy is diffused into the surrounding environment causing global warming. Retained chemical energy is deposited in various organ tissues of the human body resulting in chronic Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Sustainable healthy food systems are a priority of today. Though it is quite vague however we need to address some crucial issue such as availability and accessibility of safe and good food all- year round is quite important. Developing countries where agriculture farming are primary activities need to make aware those farmers to sale whatever remaining farm products only after consumption. On top of these a very high thing is the need of strong governance who could handle the matter very artistically.

Most Important Initiative for Global Nutritional Security for the coming decade

  1. A focused WHO/FAO/UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank joint program to reduce the pandemic of micronutrient deficiency in low, medium and high income countries;
  2. WHO to urge member states to implement mandatory fortification of basic foods as high priority in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (2030);
  3. WHO urgent issuance of Class I Recommended Guidelines for national mandatory fortification of basic Foods, e.g., salt with iodine; flour with iron , vitamin B complex, including folic acid and vitamin B12; milk and milk products with vitamins A and D; or alternative basic manufactured foods and possible additional exssential trace elements;
  4. International Technical and financial Fortification Initiative Grants.
  5. Standards for monitoring micronutrient status in selected population groups;
  6. High profile linkage of promotion of nutritional security for micronutrients as essential for improved response to infections including pandemic corona virus eg. COVID-19, influenza and others e.g., vitamin D.