This paper reports on the findings from studies in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru and Vietnam which sought to identify the challenges in the policy process and ways to overcome them, notably with respect to commitment, agenda setting, policy formulation and implementation. The key findings were as follows:
• Strengthening the full spectrum of policy activities is necessary if large-scale and sustained reductions in undernutrition are to be achieved.
• Within this policy spectrum, high priority should be given to strengthening strategic capacities because these are fundamental for advancing commitment-building, agenda setting, policy formulation, capacity-building for operations, and all other aspects of a long-term nutrition agenda at country level.
• These conclusions are especially relevant for major global initiatives currently under development that seek to address nutrition through country-led processes and convergence among multiple organisations.
• The extensive investments in documenting the efficacy of nutrition interventions are unlikely to produce sustainable reductions in undernutrition unless or until these weaknesses in the policy spectrum are better understood and addressed.