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High-level UN group aims to help countries improve nutrition

Photo: IRIN/Siegfried Modola
IRIN/Siegfried Modola
Photo: IRIN/Siegfried Modola

High-level UN group aims to help countries improve nutrition

High-level officials tasked by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with promoting good nutrition have today agreed to focus on ensuring that support to countries produces tangible results, and that resources for country-led actions are coordinated, aligned, transparent and accountable.

The first meeting of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement was chaired by Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and brought together 27 leaders of countries, organizations and sectors working to improve nutrition.

The group was appointed by Mr. Ban to serve as “strategic guides” for the SUN Movement, a global initiative that aims to improve maternal and child nutrition. Among the group’s members are the leaders of Mozambique, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Namibia, Nepal and Nigeria.

“Never before have so many leaders, from so many countries and fields, agreed to work together to improve nutrition,” said Mr. Ban, adding that the SUN Movement gives everyone, including the UN, an opportunity to support countries in their efforts to end hunger and malnutrition.

The SUN Movement focuses on the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, when proper nutrition can mean the difference between health and sickness, life and death. Poor nutrition during this period can lead to stunted growth and impaired cognitive development, among other consequences.

“It is time to recognize nutritional status not only as a marker of progress in development, but also as a maker of progress – and a key to more sustainable development,” said Mr. Lake.

“We must invest now in programmes to prevent stunting or risk diminishing the impact of other investments in education, health and child protection.”

So far 27 countries have joined the SUN Movement, with more set to join in the coming months.