In response to the emerging challenge of conflicts of interest in nutrition, the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at WHO headquarters convened a WHO technical consultation on “Addressing and managing conflicts of interest in the planning and delivery of nutrition programmes at country level” in Geneva, Switzerland, on 8–9 October 2015.
The consultation on this complex issue is the beginning of a process with the aim of developing risk assessment, disclosure, and management tools to safeguard Member States against conflicts of interest in nutrition programmes. The ultimate goal is to help promote the Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition as part of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The outcomes of this consultation informed the WHO Secretariat report which was presented to the Executive Board at its 138th session in January 2016 and which will be discussed at the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly in May 2016. In early April 2016, the United Nations General Assembly in New York adopted a landmark resolution which proclaimed 2016–2025 the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. WHO will work with governments and other relevant stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector, to actively support the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. In this context, WHO’s role is to provide evidence-based policy advice to its Member States, to disseminate examples of best practice, to encourage political commitment and to lead international action. Appropriate handling of conflicts
of interest is also needed and WHO is committed to assisting with practical tools, based on the outcomes of this consultation and the wealth of experience that countries are now developing.