Seventh meeting of the WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG)

Subgroup on Diet and Health

09 – 12 September 2014
Geneva, Switzerland

Scope and purpose

In response to a call from the 58th World Health Assembly (May 2005), World Health Organization (WHO) established the Guidelines Review Committee (GRC) in 2007 with the purpose of developing and implementing procedures to ensure that WHO guidelines are developed in ways consistent with best practices, emphasizing the appropriate use of evidence. The processes described in the WHO Handbook for guideline development have been adopted as of 1 January 2009.

Additionally, as part of implementing the outcomes and recommendations of the WHO Nutrition Programme Review undertaken in 2008, the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) has been strengthening its role in providing evidence-informed policy and programme guidance to Member States, in partnership with relevant internal departments and partners and guided by the new WHO guideline development process.

This normative mandate was reaffirmed through a request from the 63rd World Health Assembly (May 2010) “to strengthen the evidence base on effective and safe nutrition actions to counteract the public health effects of the double burden of malnutrition, and to describe good practices for successful implementation”. To implement the strengthening of evidence-informed nutrition guidance, NHD established in 2010 the WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) guided by the WHO Steering Committee for Nutrition Guidelines Development, which includes representatives from all Departments in WHO with an interest in the provision of recommendations in nutrition.

Membership in NUGAG is for two years and NUGAG includes experts from various WHO Expert Advisory Panels as well as experts from a larger roster including those identified through open calls for experts, taking into consideration a balanced mix of genders, breadth in areas of expertise, and representation from all WHO Regions.

The NUGAG implements a biannual programme of work on these areas, and has face-to-face meetings up to twice a year and will provide advice to WHO on the following:

  • The scope of the guidelines and priority questions for which systematic reviews of evidence will be undertaken
  • The choice of important outcomes for decision-making and developing recommendations
  • The interpretation of the evidence with explicit consideration of the overall balance of risks and benefits
  • The final formulation of recommendations, taking into account the quality of evidence generated and compiled as well as diverse values and preferences, costs, and feasibility