The Permanent Representative of Italy to the International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, took part today to an informative meeting convened at the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to present the text of the annual “Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH)” resolution, which will be negotiated in New York for later adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, and revolves this year around the theme of nutrition.
He had previously sent a letter to all Permanent Missions in Geneva to highlight profound concern over the language used in the resolution, and especially in OP7. This paragraph refers to, among other things, urging member states to “adopt fiscal and regulatory public policies, such as taxation of unhealthy foods and beverages, effective front-of-pack labelling etc.”.
The Permanent Representative of Italy recalled that just one month ago, on September 27th, the Third High Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases took place at the margins of the UN General Assembly, and representatives of member States’ governments agreed on the text of an outcome document, the political declaration, that was long negotiated by our colleagues in New York. He also stressed that the text of the declaration – later incorporated in the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/73/2, adopted last October 10th under Agenda item 119 – is a positive and balanced outcome, that allowed to reach consensus thanks to the constructive approach of all delegations involved in the negotiations, with Italy being one of the most active.
There is no mention in the September 27th political declaration of “unhealthy foods and beverages”, “effective front-of-pack labeling”, “restrictions to the marketing and commercialization of unhealthy foods”. Furthermore, the “Foreign Policy and Global Health Initiative” member States refer in their draft resolution to a generic expression such as “unhealthy food and beverages” while it has always been agreed by the scientific community and in United Nations Resolutions that there are no healthy or unhealthy foods but rather healthy and unhealthy diets.
Ambassador Cornado highlighted the divisive character of the draft resolution proposed by the “Foreign Policy and Global Health”, which doesn’t take into account “the decisions made by the Heads of State and Government only one month ago and is therefore unacceptable for the Italian Government”.
With regards to interventions in nutrition domain, Italy strongly believes that the appropriate and most effective way to prevent and control non-communicable diseases require multi-sectoral strategies. These include the promotion of a balanced, healthy and sustainable diet, without excluding a priori any food and, at the same time, limiting the total intake of energy while encouraging the intake of fruits and vegetables and promoting physical activity.