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EPHA supports response to the WHO Draft Implementation Plan to End Childhood Obesity jointly prepared by the World Obesity Federation, NCD Alliance and World Cancer Research Fund International.
The joint response commends the WHO draft plan for closely following the final report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity and welcomes the role attributed to civil society. The major concern with the plan however, is that recommendations lack specificity to be genuinely helpful to national governments and that they lack a clear position on the role of the food and drink industry and self-regulatory schemes.
In particular, the main concerns are:
1) Lack of specificity: Many of the steps that are being recommended for Member States lack specificity. The implementation plan needs to provide more detailed, clear guidance to support Member States in the implementation and effective delivery of the recommendations made by the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.
2) Monitoring and accountability: The lack of a robust monitoring and accountability mechanism and the lack of SMART objectives are of concern. Without a clear monitoring framework at global and national levels it will be difficult to track progress, make course corrections, and to hold Member States and other relevant stakeholders accountable.
3) The role of the food and beverage industry: There is an urgent need for a greater emphasis of the need to protect policy making and policy makers from corporate influence. The Plan needs to expressly acknowledge how industry actions can prevent, delay or reverse the implementation of public policies, regulation and legislation to address childhood obesity. Adoption of voluntary measures or dependence on industry self-regulation has limited value unless there is active government involvement in setting the standards required and the time-frame for achievement, and establishing sanctions for non-compliance. This should more strongly feature in the guiding principles and underlying tone of the document and translate into more nuanced guidance on how to engage with the private sector.

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