Government is collaborating with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN)Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummingsto revise the Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Guyana.The objectives of the two-day workshop which commenced on Tuesday at the Cara Lodge Hotel in Georgetown, are to preserve the health and nutrition situation of Guyana; present the findings from the evaluation of the existing food based dietary guidelines; determine priority issues to be addressed, through the revision of the FBDGs; and to establish a national FDBG task force.FAO’s representative in Guyana, Reuben Robertson said while the Organisation has been widely known for its close association with the agriculture sector, it has over the last four years seen to need to reconfigure and connect with the public Health Ministry and place significant emphasis on food, by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has a right and access to good, safe and nutritious food.This commitment on food and nutrition, he said, has been heightened within recent times. Speaking directly to the representatives of Government Ministries, civil society and agencies, Robertson said each has an obligation to ensure that the commitments given are achieved.“All civil society and organisations, we have an obligation to ensure that the commitments are achieved. We would recognise that we as countries just last year, give a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (one and two), where number two focuses on ensuring that food and nutrition security for all. We have an obligation to work together to ensure that we achieve these objectives,” he said.FAO, as an international organisation within the UN, is cognisant that nutrition is the mandate of the Public Health Ministry. However, it is too great an issue to be left for the Public Health Ministry alone. He said it requires an inter-ministerial, inter-sectoral collaboration.“… We have to meaningfully address the issues affecting our countries in terms of stunting, malnutrition, undernourishment and the ugly faces of non communicable diseases. We have been promoting good governance of food and nutrition security, it embraces the concept of all institutions, agencies, civil society and Private Sector, working together to achieve a common goal.”Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings said Government, through her Ministry, is committed to seeing Guyanese eat healthily. According to Dr Cummings, essential to enjoying the good life, is being fit and healthy enough to enjoy it to the best of your ability.“Therefore, as a Government and a Ministry, we have placed great emphasis on nutrition and are committed and determined to ensuring that every Guyanese, not only understand the importance of eating healthy, but recognise that it is vital to practice healthy eating on a daily basis.Giving an overview of the exercise, FAO’s Regional Consultant, Dr Pauline Samuda said back in 1992, the FAO along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) established the World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition and called upon Governments to promote appropriate diets and healthy lifestyles. Later in 1996, 180 countries approved the Rome Declaration on World Food Security. She said the UN and Governments across the world had declared that all people have a right to a nutritionally adequate diet at all times.Dr Cummings advanced her discussion, relating the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and productive life. This, she said, include growth and development, energy production and the maintenance of cellular and muscular integrity.While, underscoring the importance of nutrition and FBDGs, Samuda also pointed out that the Guidelines vary from country to country. In Guyana, the process for developing FBDGs began in 2002 and were finalised and launched in 2004. The process which was spearheaded by the Food Policy Division of the Health Ministry and assisted by a multisectoral Task Force, also received support from the Pan American Health Organisation.