The Global Health Advocacy Incubator, a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, held a Global Obesity Prevention Legal Workshop in Ivins, Utah, on 14-19 January 2018. Participants in the workshop were from civil society organizations involved in advocacy initiatives, particularly in the area of law, to address NCDs and obesity, they came from countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Participants from the Caribbean were Vincent Atkins, Advisor on trade to the HCC and Trade Policy Advisor at the CARICOM Secretariat; Mr Danny Gill, Head of the Policy Planning Unit of the Ministry of Health of Barbados and Ms Barbara McGaw, Project Manager – Global Health Advocacy, Heart Foundation of Jamaica and HCC Tobacco Control Advisor.
The principal objectives of the Workshop were:
- To develop advanced legal skills and knowledge around obesity prevention policies
- To improve legal strategic plans and implementation based on best practices from global experiences
- To develop a framework of legal elements necessary for comprehensive, innovative, and effective policies
- To anticipate and prepare for potential legal challenges to these obesity prevention policies
- To build a network of attorneys that can assist and support country legal needs on an ongoing basis
The workshop was highly interactive. Participants shared their experiences on various aspect of law with relevance to obesity prevention including:
- legal measures to protect policies from industry interference;
- legal groundwork for nutrient profile models in obesity prevention;
- the role of lawyers in developing mass media campaigns (understanding issues of defamation, parody, trademark, copyright, approval bodies and their other procedural and substantive issues);
- UNICEF and WHO recommendations for marketing to children;
- approaches to marketing restrictions;
healthy food as a human right- how to establish an international right to healthy food and translate that into national level policy action;
- legal issues around tax and price-based measures.
In addition, several sessions were held enhanced the legal skills of participants in areas such as:
- plain language drafting;
- technical writing;
- structuring a law for better implementation, rule-making and compliance.