UN Network Secretariat leads two events at the SUN Nutrition Hub with a focus on action

UN Network Secretariat leads two events at the SUN Nutrition Hub with a focus on action

Capitalizing on the presence of Health Ministers and other participants at the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, a series of events were hosted by the SUN Movement Secretariat between 21-24 May 2018 to raise awareness about nutrition and push for increased impact at the country level. The events covered a series of hot topics and provided a space – the “SUN Nutrition Hub” – for learning and exchanges across the SUN networks. Both an opportunity to showcase the UN’s technical expertise and to exercise its convening power, the UN Network Secretariat seized the occasion to lead two key events. In both cases, the events benefitted from a solid turnout as well as the engagement of multiple stakeholders, including Government, the UN, civil society, donors and business.

The first event on Nutrition in Fragile and Conflict-affected Contexts featured a lively panel discussion that was moderated by Purnima Kashyap, the UN Network Global Coordinator. Panellists included key figures such as: (1) the UN Assistant-Secretary General and Coordinator of the SUN Movement Secretariat; (2) the Global Nutrition Cluster Coordinator; (3) the Special Advisor on Health and Nutrition and SUN focal point from the Federal Government of Somalia; and (4) a neonatologist from the SUN Civil Society Alliance in the Philippines. Insights were shared on strategic issues, including: funding flexibility, the role of country multi-stakeholder platforms in strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus and investment in the institutional capacities of national and local responders. Attuned to the issues, the moderator was also able to draw upon her own experiences in Yemen and Ethiopia, where she held UN leadership positions.

The UN Network Secretariat also coordinated a second event devoted to Nutrition for Adolescent Girls – Reaching the Furthest behind First. The event underscored how adolescent girls are increasingly targeted for nutrition interventions in their own right and to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. It also pointed to the need to address data gaps. The Director General of Health and Nutrition from Global Affairs Canada gave opening remarks, highlighting how adolescents act as change agents in their families and societies as well as the value of giving them greater voice. WFP’s Director of Nutrition presented highlights from a recently released, four-country study (Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya and Uganda), commissioned by WFP and Anthrologica to better understand the needs, priorities and perceptions of adolescent girls as well as how to reach them. A panel discussion ensued, engaging the Deputy Country Director from HKI Cambodia, Guatemala’s Vice Minister of Primary Healthcare and a Senior Hunger Policy and Research Advisor from Save the Children as the moderator. Closing remarks, provided by the UN Network Global Coordinator, reiterated the role of innovation and technology in reaching adolescents as well as the need to engage in their groups and platforms. Purnima Kashyap, in her closing remarks, acknowledged the ‘generation gap’, echoing the importance of understanding how adolescents perceive themselves. She also noted that the UN Network is working hard to expand its membership to other agencies (e.g. UNFPA, UN Women) at the country level, which it considers to be crucial to addressing adolescent nutrition.

LEARN MORE about the WFP Adolescent Report launch

VIEW the full event programme of the SUN Nutrition Hub