Despite significant advancements in recent years, many countries in Southeast Asia still face the triple burden of malnutrition – undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.
To address the long standing problem of malnutrition, the Philippines’ National Nutrition Council (NNC) will host the 2nd ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance Workshop-Conference to pursue the establishment of an ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance System, where delegates from the 10 ASEAN member-states are set to meet on 24-28 February 2015 in Makati City.
The objective of the project under the program “ASEAN Collaborative Project on Nutrition,” is to promote the sharing of information along challenges and good practices in improving nutrition condition, measuring progress using key indicators, and harmonized methodology toward attainment of regional and global goals through an ASEAN Nutrition Surveillance System Strategic Plan.
This process of nutritional surveillance can facilitate decision-making in relation to current and future policies, and direct targeting for health, nutrition and general development programs. Surveillance information can be utilized to promote actions that will alleviate or prevent malnutrition in the population on the individual, family, community, national and within the ASEAN region.
Participants of the said workshop-conference will include delegates from the ASEAN member states namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Representatives from the United Nations and the ASEAN Secretariat will also be part of the delegates to the workshop-conference, where resource persons from UNICEF, World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will provide technical updates on global nutrition goals, strategies and indicators.
The establishment of the nutrition surveillance system in the ASEAN is only one of the few events in the global and regional arena that has renewed its commitment for nutrition improvement. Among other events are the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition and the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering both held in Rome in November 2014, and the ASEAN Task Force Meeting on Maternal, New Born and Child Health (ATFMCH) on 11-12 December 2014 in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.
These programs have identified nutrition as one of their priority concerns for policy advocacy to address today’s major nutrition challenges and priorities for enhanced international cooperation on nutrition.