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Nutrition in the Post- 2015 Development Agenda: seizing the opportunity

Issue No. 41 of SCN News, published in July/August 2015, considers the opportunities are for nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda and the emerging challenges. The articles in this issue bring together a diversity of views and perspectives on the importance of nutrition to the SDGs agenda, the ways in which the SDGs could elevate and focus attention on the urgency of eliminating malnutrition, the opportunities to be seized and the challenges to be addressed to deliver on the promise to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms. They include perspectives from Pope Francis, who spoke at the ICN2; Member States, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, the Republic of Peru, and the USA; the Parliamentary Front against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean; civil society organizations, including Save the Children and SUN civil society alliances in Myanmar, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia; the Gates Foundation; the private sector; academia; the SUN Movement; UN agencies and intergovernmental bodies. There is broad agreement among the contributors that the SDGs offer an opportunity to be truly transformative. The universal and sustainable nature of the goals underscores the interconnectedness of countries, people and planet. Universality and sustainability will require fundamentally changing the way in which the international community views success and approaches the nutrition challenge — including a stronger focus on human rights, gender equality, and social inclusion; and mustering the political will to address a dysfunctional global food system and climate change. Many articles focused on the need for “partnerships” across sectors, stakeholders, and institutions, building on the experience and platforms of the SUN Movement and the Committee of World Food Security (CFS). Save the Children highlights the underexplored possibilities to improve nutrition outcomes through through well-designed social protection programmes. Archbishop Tomasi reminded us of Pope Francis’ message to Member States and others gathered at ICN2, that it is the person who is hungry and malnourished, the mother and child, that should be at the centre of policies and decisions; a theme that is indeed picked up by the First Lady of Peru, who advocates to increase efforts to educate and empower women and girls and support family farmers. Both these leaders urge us to not only use our brain and hands but also to care and let our hearts speak. Various contributors pointed to emerging challenges: climate change and its impact on nutrition; the rapid rise of noncommunicable diseases in the developing world, where health systems are weak; and others pointed to these challenges as being an opportunity to reimagine a global food and agriculture system that can help lift smallholder farmers out of poverty, deliver healthy diets for all in a sustainable way to a growing population, while remaining profitable and attractive to the private sector. Others focused on the issue of accountability. Metrics and indicators were very important in driving accountability, alignment and resource allocations in the MDGs. In this issue there is a proposal of indicators to measure progress towards the goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. The proposal adds women’s dietary diversity and the percentage of the national budget allocated to nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive actions to the package of indicators represented by the WHA 2025 global nutrition targets. Together, these indicators capture the multisectoral nature of nutrition. 

SCN News is a publication issued yearly by the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition

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Sarah Cummings
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8 September 2015

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