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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Maximizing the Impact of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

Florence Lasbennes
Florence LasbennesSecretariat of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Switzerland

Dear Christine and colleagues

Many thanks for this interesting consultation.

I am delighted to share the contribution of the Coordinator on behalf of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

We look further to continuous collaboration

Best wishes


Director of SUN Movement Secretariat



The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement’s contribution to the Decade of Action on Nutrition – 16 October 2016

1. What are your expectations for the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and how could it make a significant difference in improving nutrition and food security of the people in your country within the next ten years?
2. What critical activities need to be included in the Work Programme for the implementation of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to reach the 2025 global nutrition targets? Which activities would need to be accelerated in your country to reach these targets? How could these activities be funded?
3. What can be done to accelerate and improve the quality of commitments from the various actors? What role(s) should public and private actors play in monitoring their implementation?
4. How can other relevant forums, such as the CFS and the UNSCN, contribute, and how can other movements (e.g. human rights, environment) be involved in the Decade?

1)  The goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 is as ambitious as it is urgent, but above all, it is achievable. In 2010, when the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement was launched, there were 165 million stunted children. Figures released in September 2016 show that that number is now 156 million.

2)  We have a long way to go: every nation in our world is affected by malnutrition. Poor nutrition stunts cognitive development and educational success, has devastating consequences for the social and economic potential of individuals and undermines the peace and prosperity of societies. With more than 3 million deaths of children under 5 every year as a result of under-nutrition and a rapid rise in non-communicable diseases caused by overweight and obesity, the complex, overlapping and inter-related multiple burdens of malnutrition affect people living in every country in the world, across the socio-economic spectrum. Whilst women and children in the world’s poorest countries bear a disproportionate share of the global malnutrition burden, marginalised groups in all countries and communities, are particularly vulnerable. The Decade of Action on Nutrition is timely: it can help communicate the human, social and economic impacts on nutrition and amplify the focus on implementation in countries, for results.

3)  The Movement’s new Strategy and Roadmap 2016-2020 – From Inspiration to Impact- seeks to accelerate the achievements of results through the strengthening of in-country capabilities to a) improve country planning and implementation, mobilise; b) advocate and communicate for impact; c) collaborate cross sectorally and with multiple stakeholders and d) ensure equity, equality and non- discrimination for all. As such, the members of the SUN Movement will have an important contribution to make towards the goals of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.

4)  Lessons from the SUN Movement’s experience to date shows that attention to several areas is needed to improve nutrition. These relate to encouraging an enabling environment for scale up to happen at country level, working across sectors and with multiple stakeholders, aligning with national plans and priorities, increasing access to, and effective use of, financial resources for nutrition, and building on and sharing experiences learned to date.  The experience of those countries in the SUN Movement will be invaluable in achieving the goals of the Decade of Action on Nutrition. Their experiences indicate that:

5)  First and foremost, ending malnutrition is a political choice. With governments accountable for the nutrition of their citizens, political leadership, at all levels, is essential. With nutrition being a cross - sectoral issue, the convening power of the country’s top leadership can encourage convergence and collaboration. The involvement of Ministries of Planning and Finance alongside those responsible for improvements in agriculture, social protection, education, water and sanitation, health can leverage impact not just in nutrition but for sectoral outcomes too, in a virtuous circle of development and nutrition wins. The Decade of Action on Nutrition has the opportunity to elevate and sustain a focus on good nutrition at the highest-levels, guided by data and shared learning. The SUN Movement will work to amplify the progress and highlight the challenges faced by those that are scaling up nutrition.  

6)  Secondly, whilst national ownership is essential, efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms will also require innovative alliances and engagement from all stakeholders, young and old, women and men, and from all in society. These alliances will include civil society and social movements, business, parliamentarians and local authorities, the UN system and multilateral institutions - working together for measurable and scalable impact. Their partnering will be different in each country, in each community and in each context, and open dialogue is essential. The Decade of Action encapsulates this approach, offering a truly inclusive space for countries to share their progress and challenges, and seek ways to collaborate together to translate dialogue into action for all people everywhere. The SUN Movement will play its part encouraging each national Movement to focus on the issues that will have the best results for them, and encouraging the actors at the regional and global level to adapt their support accordingly. This collaboration is being built on 10 guiding principles of engagement that have been developed and adopted by stakeholders in the SUN Movement are also being adopted by other global partnerships and will help transform our ways of working[1].

7)  Thirdly, the alignment of stakeholders with national priorities and plans will increase efficiency, improve efficacy and maximize collective impact. As the Decade of Action galvanizes SMART Commitments that can translate the outcomes of the ICN2 Framework for Action into concrete outcomes, experiences in the SUN Movement indicate that commitments to action must also be aligned, and that all stakeholders must be mutually accountable for achieving results, facilitated by clear expectations, and measurable achievements. The SUN Movement will seek to encourage this alignment, and commitment to SMART actions.

8)  Fourthly, the type of knowledge required to meet the challenge of ending malnutrition is as much about experience as it is about evidence, building upon what already exists, implementing actions and course correcting as we learn. In the SUN Movement we will encourage and facilitate the sharing of experiences across sectors, countries and stakeholder groups.  In doing so, we will contribute to the implementation of national policies, programs and investments under the ICN2 framework in line with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

9)  Fifthly, increased resources are needed, but efficient use of these resources is also required. Improving financing for nutrition is a collective responsibility and will require national government, donors, innovative financing mechanism, business and consumers to act in solidarity behind shared goals to collectively accelerate progress. But financing is also linked to results. The Decade of Action, through showcasing the results of efforts to improve nutrition can help drive forward further investments, and the SUN Movement will share the learning and experiences of its members, and will mobilise our members to do so.

10) Finally, if we are to end malnutrition in all its forms, we must ensure that we leave no-one behind and reach the hardest to reach first. This means we must be prepared to adapt our ways of working to assist those in fragile contexts, failed states, and humanitarian situations and build resilience to climatic, political and economic shocks. And in all countries, we must ensure continued attention to women and children, to marginalised groups, and to those for whom nutrition justice must be served in order to leave no-one behind.  

11) The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is not an institution programme or fund. It is a voluntary Movement whose stakeholders are bound together by a collective vision to end malnutrition in all its forms. The 57 Member States in the Movement, with the 3 Indian States and the 2,500 civil society groups, 200 businesses, donors, scientists, and UN system agencies will have their own ways of contributing to the Decade of Action on Nutrition. As the SUN Movement we will share our experience and our progress and our challenges in ways that support coordinated action, strengthen collaboration, and monitor impact within the shared framework of the ICN2 outcomes, the SDGs, and the global nutrition targets.

12) In conclusion, nutritional status is both a driver and marker of inequity. If the full ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to be realized, improved nutrition of all people, everywhere will be essential. The 2030 Agenda is everyone’s agenda. It guides us towards a better future for us all now, and for future generations, on a healthier planet. The international community is committed to eradicate poverty and hunger, build resilient societies, address climate change and put the world on a path for sustainable development. The United Nations’ Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 can be an invaluable contribution to this agenda and an unprecedented opportunity to increase the world’s attention to the individual, social and economic impacts of malnutrition. More importantly, it is an unprecedented opportunity to further galvanize action to achieve results so that children, families and communities thrive.

Gerda Verburg
United Nation’s Assistant Secretary General
Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Coordinator

[1] Partnerships Playbook 1. Be country led; 2. Be rights based; 3. Be inclusive; 4. Be transparent about intentions and impact; 5. Be predictable and mutually accountable; 6. Be evidence – based; 7. Communicate conscientiously; 8. Act with integrity and in an ethical manner; 9. Be mutually respectful; and 10. Do no harm.