The Bloomberg Philanthropies Food Policy Program launched the Healthy Food Policy Legal Defense Fund (LDF) this week to help governments defend strong, evidence-based healthy food measures against legal challenges brought by well-resourced companies or industry bodies. The LDF is managed by the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

The food and beverage industries are actively opposing public health measures to address chronic disease around the world, including by using legal actions, or threats of legal action to dissuade governments from moving forward with strong public health measures. As the tobacco control community has experienced for decades, powerful industry players or associations have the capacity and resources to deter governments from pursuing their public health agenda.

The objective of the LDF is to support countries in defending legal challenges to evidence-based public health measures that align with the policy goals of the Food Policy Program. These include taxes on sugary beverages and/or ultra-processed food, front-of-package nutrition labeling, restrictions on marketing of unhealthy food and beverages, and healthy public sector food environments, including schools. Preference will be given to low- and middle-income countries.

The measure being defended may be national or subnational and should ideally have a broader regional or global impact. The LDF will assist governments that are already committed to defending a strong public health measure, and that have a robust implementation plan, through additional funding for legal counsel fees. Governments receiving LDF support will lead the litigation strategy, and can draw upon GHAI and the Food Policy Program for technical support.

For more information, please contact op@advocacyincubator.org.

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