The formulation of consensus on nutrition policy: policy actors' perspectives on good process

Food Nutr Bull. 2011 Jun;32(2 Suppl):S92-104. doi: 10.1177/15648265110322S206.


Food security and nutrition are ascendant issues on global and national policy agendas in recent years, as a result of the global food crisis and growing recognition of the magnitude and consequences of these problems for human and economic development. The translation of this attention into effective action at the country level will require multistakeholder agreements concerning priority problems, interventions, delivery strategies, roles and responsibilities, and other matters, but this has proven to be a difficult and contentious process in many countries. This study explores stakeholders' perspectives on the characteristics of a good process in Guatemala, a country that has encountered difficulties deciding such matters in recent years, as well as their views on decision acceptance and the feasibility of implementing a good process. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 20 participants in earlier policy deliberations who were identified through snowball sampling. The constant comparative method was used for analysis. These participants attach great importance to the quality of decision processes, have strong support for decision principles derived from theory and experience elsewhere, would be willing to participate in such a process and accept the resulting decisions, and feel such a process would be challenging but feasible in the Guatemalan context. These findings, together with experiences elsewhere, suggest that countries would do well to seek agreement on the design of a multistakeholder decision-making process before they seek agreement on priority nutrition problems, target groups, interventions, delivery strategies, and other matters that have proven contentious in many settings.

MeSH terms

  • Consensus*
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Government Programs
  • Group Processes*
  • Guatemala
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*