Center For Food And Adequate Living Rights

Justice For Adequate Living

Plot 66-67 Kiriwawanvu Lane, GACCETA Estate, Gayaza-Kalagi Road, Wakiso District, Uganda. P.O Box 16414, Wandegeya.

+256 414 660813 | +256 772 480179 | Toll-Free: +256 800 111433

We advocate for: Food Justice | Economic Justice | Climate Justice


Promote healthy diets through legal empowerment and social accountability mechanisms, using a human rights-based, participatory, and multi-sectoral approach.

1. Background and Rationale.

The Uganda Parliamentary Nutrition Week is a follow up activity to the training held with the Members of Parliament (MPs) on using the law and the right to adequate food to address the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) challenge in Uganda. Following this training, the MPs of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition have requested CEFROHT’s support in conducting a Parliamentary Nutrition Week to create further awareness for legislators on using the law to address NCDs. It is upon this background that CEFROHT seeks to hold a Parliamentary Nutrition Week to sensitize MPs on their role in promoting regulatory and fiscal measures for promoting healthy diets and physical activity to prevent NCDs in Uganda. This week will not only target Parliamentarians, it will also bring together government bodies (the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Uganda Communications Commission, National Planning Authority, academia, media, and Civil Society Organization) as well as academia, media and CSOs as part of the multi-sectoral key players that have been engaged in the Global RECAP1 programme implementation in Uganda, in promoting laws, regulations and policies for healthy food environments and diets, engaging them to make contributions to the Public Health Bill currently under discussion in Parliament. The week also targets other key stakeholders particularly media and communities to broaden cross-sectoral knowledge sharing and advocacy for the role of law in promoting healthy diets and physical activity for preventing NCDs. This is also intended to increase understanding of the Parliamentarians and the public of the regulatory framework and best practices to foster a healthy food environment via the law.

During the week, different sessions (covering one RECAP policy area per day) will be organized, in which multi-stakeholders engaged under RECAP will sensitize MPs on the legal and regulatory measures related to the specific policy area of the day as well as on the MPs role in promoting legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity promotion for addressing NCDs. The sessions will also serve the purpose of disseminating the policy briefs developed by CEFROHT under RECAP and promoting multi-stakeholder collaboration.

2. Justification.

NCDs have become a global concern with increasing deaths both globally and countrywide. The economic impact, including loss of income by people harmed by NCDs, the costs of treatment and the impacts on families threaten international development. The prevalence of NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes have been linked to diet-related risk factors. According to the WHO an unhealthy diet is one of the major modifiable risk factors for NCDs in low- and middle-income countries. NCDs account for an estimated 63% of mortality globally and 80% occurs in low- and middle-income countries. It has been established that unhealthy diets containing energy dense nutrient poor foods, high in fat, salt, and added sugars now contribute to more NCDs than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. There is an expert consensus internationally that government policies that support healthy food environments are thus needed to address dietary risk factors for NCDs. Many countries in sub- Saharan Africa, including Uganda, are experiencing rapid urbanization, associated with increasing levels of overweight, obesity, and nutrition-related NCDs. In Uganda an estimated risk of mortality from NCDs was 22% primarily due to cardiovascular disease and cancer, along with underlying risk factors of hypertension, tobacco use, and alcohol. A nationally representative household survey conducted in 2014 revealed that nearly 80% of Ugandans diagnosed with NCDs were unaware of their own status. To reduce dietary risk factors, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends several “best buy” interventions such as limiting salt and sugar intake and implementing front-of-pack labelling and taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages. At the national level, additional efforts aimed at addressing NCDs include the development of a Multisectoral Health Plan for NCDs and several collaborations with local and global Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and development partners who support the government in developing trainings, implementing public awareness on NCDs and their risk factors, and strengthening the capacity of the health system to prevent and manage NCDs. CEFRHOT is implementing the Global RECAP programme in Uganda and has been at the forefront of training and raising public awareness on legal measures to prevent diet-related NCDs. Thanks to the training delivered to them, Parliamentarians recognized the need for a healthier food environment within the Parliamentary premises. It is on this basis that CEFROHT has been approached to lead the organization of the Parliamentary Nutrition Week for 2022 with the hope that this engagement will equip Parliamentarians with legal and regulatory means to improve the food environment not only in and around the House but also in the constituencies they represent, within the broader aim of addressing NCDs in Uganda.

Strategic objectives of the Parliamentary Nutrition Week.

Main Objective:
• To enhance the understanding of Parliamentarians about their role in advancing legal and regulatory reforms to promote a healthy diet and prevent NCDs.

Specific objectives:
✓ To sensitize parliamentarians with knowledge on the technical aspects regarding legal and regulatory measures that promote healthy diets and physical activity.
✓ Assess the MP’s needs and capacity building support on legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity promotion.
✓ Create public awareness on the need for legal, fiscal and regulatory measures on promotion of healthy diets and physical activity to prevent NCDs.
✓ To further a coordination of multi-stakeholders with members of parliament on the promotion of healthy diets and the prevention of NCDs.

✓ Increased multi-sectoral cooperation among the relevant stakeholders (strengthened partnership) on using legal and regulatory measures to promote healthy diets and physical activity.
✓ Commitments by legislators to address NCDs through using the law to promote healthy diets and physical activity in Uganda.
✓ Increased awareness among Parliamentarians and other stakeholders on the use of legal and regulatory measures on promotion of healthy diets and physical activity as a response to NCDs.
✓ A needs assessment report summarizing the capacity building needs by parliamentarians.

Format The event will include several outdoor and indoor activities involving different stakeholders. Several groups like Parliamentarians, Ministries and government departments will be engaged to create awareness and commitments to promote healthy diets in Uganda. The event will include presentations by selected speakers, question and answer sessions, after which there will be interactive panel discussions, including over the policy briefs and their recommendations. During the Parliamentary Nutrition Week, selected community members will attend to gallery in Parliament as the role of law and regulatory framework for healthy diets and physical activity promotion will be discussed on the floor of Parliament for the general house. This week will also serve to assess parliamentarians’ needs for capacity building on legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity promotion. A principal investigator with two research assistants will be involved in the week for this purpose. The results and recommendations will be used as evidence in advocacy by MPs for effective laws and regulations to promote health diets and prevent non-communicable diseases. The discussions will also be framed in a way to generate actions points upon which a follow-up mechanism or plan will be developed for further engagements. The policy briefs developed by CEFROHT under Global RECAP will be disseminated throughout the week. The media professionals will take part and report both online and on TV. In brief, each day will be dedicated to a specific policy area and relevant stakeholders will take the lead in the discussions as follows:
o Day 1: Nutrition Labelling. The Commissioner from MoH in charge of nutrition labelling will lead the discussion on the first day. The Parliamentary Nutrition Week will be officially launched through a short event at the Parliament’s premises that will be officiated and launched by a Commissioner from the Ministry of Health and the Chairperson of the Committee of Health. Advocacy Working Group (AWG) members, lawyers, academia from schools of law will sensitize the MPs on the urgent need for nutrition labelling and the laws recommended under the policy brief on nutrition labeling. They will also be sensitized on the right to health special rapporteur’s recommendation on nutrition labelling. CEFROHT will also hold television talk shows to inform the general public about the Parliamentary Nutrition Week and nutrition labelling.
o Day 2: Restriction of marketing of food high in fat, sugar and salt to children. The plan is for the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to lead the second day. The policy brief on marketing restrictions will be presented and discussed by MPs. Secondly, CEFROHT plans to lead a discussion on the floor of Parliament in the afternoon. This is key as not all MPs are members of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition. Sensitization will therefore target all the 542 MPs Uganda. A public statement by the chairperson of the parliamentary alliance on food and nutrition on the use of law and regulations to promote healthy diets and physical activity to prevent NCDs will be held. Community advocacy will be enhanced by mobilizing and supporting community members to attend this plenary discussion in the parliamentary gallery.
o Day 3: The use of fiscal measures. The Uganda Revenue Authority, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade will be in the lead of the discussion. The Excise Duty Act will also be discussed, and MPs sensitized on the need to increase taxation on the Sugar- Sweetened Beverages (SSB).
o Day 4: Physical Activity and final day. The MoH Commissioner on NCDs will lead this discussion. The policy brief on physical activity will also be disseminated. This will be preceded by a march of one kilometer from the independence monument to parliamentary gardens organized by CEFROHT and the Alliance. This will be the last day of the Nutrition Week. The march will be presided by an official from Parliament and MoES. Then the Minister of Agriculture and MoH will sensitize the public on governments commitments on nutrition. Lastly the week will be concluded with a statement by a speaker of the Parliament.
Participants Participants at the Parliamentary Nutrition Week will be selected from a pool of sectors upon validation by the AWG including government departments/agencies, academia, CSOs, intergovernmental organizations. The legislators will draw from experiences, presentations and technical expertise provided by the participants and the event will provide a forum for discussion on the proposed regulatory reforms for a healthier food environment. Participants include:
o Parliamentary fora including the Parliamentary Forum on NCDs and the Parliamentary Forum on Food Security, Parliamentary Committee on Health, Parliamentary Commission, MPs, and workers of Parliament.
o The academia/research institutions (School of Law and Public Health)
o Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS)
o Kampala Capital City Authority, public health, and legal directories
o Ministries i.e., Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
o Uganda Law Reform Commission,
o UN agencies like UNICEF, UNDP and the Human Rights Commission
o Civil Society Organizations
o Media
o Development partners
Conveners and mode of participation The event will be supported by CEFROHT and convened by the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition in collaboration with the Parliamentary Commission, the AWG, the Uganda RECAP Country team, Global RECAP Partners, MoH and multisectoral partners. The mode of participation will be in-person, with the venue being the Parliament in Kampala, but online engagement will also be ensured.