Capacity development in nutrition is a process whereby individuals, groups, institutions, organizations and societies enhance their abilities to identify and meet challenges in a sustainable manner. To address these issues, in 2001 the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN) established a Working Group on Capacity Development under the joint coordination of the United Nations University (UNU) and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences. Several regional professional networks have developed under this working group, the latest for the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries. Ten CEE countries formed a network in 2006 and identified major nutritional challenges in the region, which included: irregular meal patterns; low consumption of fruits/vegetables, milk products and fish; low intake of some micronutrients; and high intakes of fat, sugar and salt. Public policies in nutrition were either weak or absent. Some countries had recently developed nutrition plans. Higher education in nutrition was seen as very important for public nutrition work by professionals in the region, who considered it a prerequisite for reversing the negative trend of the nutrition transition. The network will continue to work on issues that are still not covered adequately. Its activities to date and prospects for the future are assessed against ten principles for good capacity development suggested by the United Nations Development Programme.