Finding a Better Way Together on Non-Communicable Diseases

April 6, 2017

Eric Trachtenberg, Chair, Alliance for Food and Health

The Alliance for Food & Health (AFH) is pleased to join the Alliance the End Hunger as a participant in its new Alliance Incubator Program.

As a nascent partnership-focused organization, we look forward to working together to fight the triple burden of malnutrition. While our focus is on obesity, we see great overlap between these diverse but related causes of human suffering that include both micronutrient deficiencies and hunger. Factors such as malnutrition, obesity, and food insecurity all contribute to the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD).

Eric Trachtenberg, Chair of AFH, addresses the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

Eric Trachtenberg, Chair of AFH, addresses the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).

AFH is a multi-stakeholder coalition that integrates the food and agriculture community in the global health community’s efforts to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in order to develop actionable recommendations to combat and prevent food and nutrition-related NCDs. With over 200 expert participants from the food and agriculture sector, and from the global health community, AFH convenes its participants to discuss and develop integrated, effective, and actionable policy recommendations for governments, the private sector, and civil society, to address food-related NCD challenge. These recommendations will be delivered in the form of White Papers that will be widely disseminated with topics chosen by AFH participants.

AFH’s goal is to find a better way – together. It seeks to collaborate with other like-minded groups, amplify existing initiatives, and build upon and distill current evidence-based research. Participants represent a broad range of civil society, (including international organizations, academia, scientific bodies, and associations), government, and the private sector. AFH’s model encourages cooperation to address critical global malnutrition and health issues.

The first White Paper on encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption will be completed this spring.

The AFH is distinctive in several ways:

  1. It is diverse. With participants ranging from farming groups to public health experts, the AFH is designed to look at the food and health system as a whole – instead of just its isolated parts.
  2. It is based in science. AFH White Papers will be data-driven and evidence-based and will draw from participant subject matter expertise and from peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  3. It is balanced. AFH’s system of checks and balances increases the chances that our group consensus will minimize interest group biases and advance the common good.
  4. It values learning. AFH participants educate themselves and each other toward common goals of reducing NCD morbidity and mortality to create better health for all.
  5. It values trust. In order to build confidence in the AFH process and engender openness, AFH follows Chatham House rules, where participants can share ideas in confidence and commit to solving problems together.
  6. It is transparent. Volunteers created and manage AFH. As it evolves and obtains funding, AFH will ensure both transparency and parity among kinds of donor sources.
  7. It is action-oriented. AFH White Papers will deliver actionable proposals to governments, the private sector, and civil society.
  8. It is mission-focused. AFH’s vision is of a better world with fewer people harmed by NCDs through more effective interventions.

While bringing together a broad range of stakeholders from multiple sectors can be both challenging and time-consuming, this inclusive approach is critical to understanding and addressing the root causes of food and nutrition-related NCDs. As we look to transform the debate on NCDs, we encourage you to join us in finding a better way forward – together.