The Global Health Advocacy Incubator supports advocacy campaigns calling for healthy food policies at the national level.
For the last five years, we’ve worked with civil society organizations in Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Jamaica and South Africa to mobilize citizens to call on their governments to pass these policies. Through our Advocacy Fund and Legal Defense Fund, we help organizations and governments promote and defend their healthy food policy initiatives. We support advocacy efforts to:
- Enact taxes on sugary drinks and unhealthy foods.
- Add mandatory Front of Package Warning Labels to help consumers identify unhealthy food and choose healthier alternatives.
- Remove unhealthy food and beverages from public sector facilities, especially schools.
- Restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.
Where we work:
Our focus countries: Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica and South Africa
Our Advocacy Fund countries: Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Uruguay and Vietnam
Advocacy and Legal Defense Funds
In addition, our Advocacy Fund expands the reach of the program globally by supporting organizations outside of the focus countries. The fund identifies policy initiatives
that require short-term advocacy support to pass promising healthy food policy legislation or regulations.
Our Healthy Food Policy Legal Defense Fund helps governments defend strong, evidence-based healthy food measures against legal challenges brought by well-resourced companies or industry bodies.
- 2020: Brazil mandated front-of-package warning labels for processed foods and strengthened restrictions on ultra-processed foods in schools.
- 2021: Argentina and Colombia mandated front-of-package warnings; Argentina’s law also restricts marketing to children and regulates food procurement for the government schools.
- 2022: Nigeria adopted a new sugar-sweetened beverage tax and Barbados increased its sugar-sweetened beverage tax to 20%.
Success Story: Taxing Sugary Drinks to Improve Health
Sugary drinks contribute to a South African health epidemic in which obesity-related diseases like heart attack and stroke account for more than half of the country’s deaths. Diabetes alone takes more than 25,000 lives a year.
The Global Health Advocacy Incubator supported local partners to develop a comprehensive campaign strategy to advocate for a sugary beverage tax proposed by the Finance Minister. Evidence shows that taxing sugary beverages drives down consumption and improves health.
Parliament passed the new Health Promotion Levy, and the President signed it into law in 2017. The tax went into effect in April 2018. GHAI continues to work with local partners to push for a broader set of policies to address obesity and its related diseases. Taxes on sugary drinks have been an effective way to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks as evidenced by similar taxes in other geographies.
Funding for this program provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
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