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Quarterly Update: UN Network for SUN Q4 2016

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This Quarterly Update shares the progress made by the UN Network for SUN from October to December 2016 in accelerating the scale-up of efforts to improve nutrition.

UN Network for SUN documents, communications & materials

  • The UN Network for SUN Strategy (2016-2020) is being disseminated by the Directors of Nutrition of the five partner agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO) through their agency channels. The document has also been shared with UN resident Coordinators across the 57 SUN countries.  The strategy can be accessed via the REACH and SUN
  • The Compendium of Actions for Nutrition (CAN) is now available following the official launch by the SUN Global Coordinator on 30th November in Rome. The compendium is a practical facilitation resource to help foster multi-sectoral dialogue at the country level, particularly on nutrition-related policy formulation and planning. It includes matrices of potential multi-sectoral nutrition actions (both nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive actions), classified by the type of evidence available for them, as well as accompanying narratives and bibliographies. A webpage has been created on the REACH website where the CAN materials may be downloaded, including the full CAN document and a promotional flyer.
  • The UNN/REACH Secretariat, jointly with the SUN Movement Secretariat (SMS), has facilitated the development of a checklist of criteria to guide the formulation of ‘good’ quality nutrition plans, liaising with a small working group of experts. This Checklist has been designed for policy makers in national planning bodies and line ministries and nutrition stakeholders involved in planning processes as well as independent reviewers.
  • The UN Nutrition Inventory has been completed in Haiti, Rwanda and Senegal, while the exercise remains ongoing in Bangladesh, Chad, DRC, Guinea, Mali and Tanzania.
  • The UN Network capacity assessment guidance package for nutrition is now available. The package has two parts: (1) a guidance note; and (2) supporting tools and resources. It is a living document, and will evolve as new experiences emerge from its use.
  • The new data collection tool for the UNN Annual Reporting Exercise has been piloted in Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Sudan. The new tool is web-based and includes a questionnaire and dashboards to visualize results. In addition to this tool, the UNN M&E materials include a concept note for a common UN financial tracking methodology and a user manual to guide annual reporting, as well as mock-up global and country annual reports. The full roll-out of these tools is envisioned for January 2017.

 Other key UN developments

  • FAO released a new online course on Improving Nutrition through Agriculture and Food Systems in collaboration with the World Bank and EU as part of its e-learning initiatives. It is a resource for supporting the UN Decade of Action for Nutrition and the implementation of the ICN2 Framework of Action, covering the basics of nutrition and food systems before looking at nutrition-sensitive principles, interventions, and programme and policy environments.
  • FAO released its annual The State of Food and Agriculture This year’s theme is Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
  • FAO released the Compendium of Indicators for Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture which provides a compilation of indicators that may be measured for identified outcomes of nutrition-sensitive investments.
  • A new global report from UNICEF, From the First Hour of Life: Making the case for infant and young child feeding everywhere was It provides a global status update on infant and young child feeding practices and puts forth recommendations for improving them. The report is divided into two parts: part one focuses on breastfeeding and part two looks at complementary feeding practices. Each part reviews the most recent evidence on infant and young child feeding practices and provides updated global and regional estimates and trends, where available, as well as disaggregated analyses.
  • On behalf of the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative, UNICEF developed a brief highlighting the strong links between breastfeeding and early childhood development. The brief was disseminated at a Nutrition/ECD event on 6 October organized by the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Network, the ECD Action Network and the International Coalition on Advocacy for Nutrition (ICAN).
  • UNICEF, along with the World Bank and WHO, launched the Lancet Series Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale, on 4 October, during a high-level event co-hosted by these partners in Washington D.C.  Nutrition (diet diversification, reducing macro and micronutrient deficiencies, complimentary feeding and breastfeeding) is part of a nurturing care package, highlighted as integral to the healthy development of a child.  The series also presents new evidence for interventions, building on the previous Lancet Series on child development.
  • WHO issued a new series of recommendations to improve the quality of antenatal care in order to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications. The guideline, “WHO recommendations on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience” covers recommendations in various areas including nutrition, maternal and fetal assessment, preventative measures, interventions for common physiological symptoms and interventions to improve antenatal care utilization and quality of care.
  • A new WHO publication is available on Accelerating nutrition improvements: best practices in scaling up nutrition actions: examples from Ethiopia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • A joint statement was issued by the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food, Right to Health, the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in law and in practice, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child in late November, which called for increased efforts to promote, support and protect breastfeeding.

Recent meetings and events        

October       

  • On 18th October, an SCN side-event was held on Ensuring Nutritious Diets in a Climate Constrained World, where examples based on country and regional diets were shared.
  • The 43rd session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was held on 17th-21st October in Rome at FAO Headquarters. Additional information about the proceedings, including the report, is available on the CFS website.
  • An FAO/AFROFOODS Food Composition Training was held on 9th October in Marrakesh.

November        

  • A workshop on Repositioning Nutrition as a Development Factor took place on 3rd-5th November in Brazzaville, where the International REACH Facilitator from Chad presented REACH as part of a panel on nutrition initiatives. The panel was also comprised of an SMS representative and the following UN Representatives in Congo: FAO, UNICEF and WHO.
  • A face-to-face meeting with the UNN/REACH Steering Committee was held on 9th November at WFP Headquarters in Rome. Participants discussed the roll-out of the UNN strategy, focusing on key priority areas, including funding needs, provision of TA, communications and annual reporting.
  • WHO convened the second meeting of the WHO guideline development group – nutrition actions 2016-2018 in Florence, Italy from 7 to 11 November. The main objective of the meeting was to finalize the global guidelines for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in maternity facilities and to scope the vitamin A supplementation guidelines.
  • FAO held a capacity development workshop in Lomé, Togo (8-11 November) for Francophone countries on the “Development and Implementation of Food Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) for the Promotion of Healthy Diets and Sustainable Food Systems”. The workshop followed the FAO capacity development workshop organized in Gauteng, South Africa (9-12 May). The objective of the workshops was to strengthen capacities of national institutions and sectors to develop and use FBDGs in a multi-sectoral way. Each workshop involved the participation of 12 countries; country delegates represented the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and/or Education, and academia. Civil society was present for some countries.
  • A joint-meeting, organized by FAO, IFAD, WFP, UN Women and OHCHR, on Empowering rural women to achieve food security and nutrition was held on 22nd November. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss how CEDAW and GR34 can promote gender equality in agriculture and rural development and guide efforts towards the achievement of the SDGs on gender equality, poverty reduction and food security and nutrition.
  • The annual REACH workshop took place on 28-30th November in Rome, serving as an opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss strategic issues. Representatives of the UNN/REACH agencies, UNSCN, the SUN Movement Secretariat – including the SUN Global Coordinator, SUN Civil Society Network, and donors joined the REACH team from 11 countries and the UNN/REACH Secretariat during selected sessions to foster further learning.

December                                              

  • The Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition jointly organized by FAO/WHO – took place on 1 and 2 December. The high-level international conference on nutrition stressed the importance of promoting healthy diets and ensuring adequate nutrition for everyone in order to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. It brought together more than 600 country representatives, parliamentarians, researchers, health and nutrition experts from civil society, private sector, academia and other stakeholders.
  • A nutrition seminar on ‘Weighing up the evidence: impact and challenges of treating obesity in children and adolescentswas organized by WHO on 13 December.
  • The Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) convened on 14-15th December in Geneva to discuss and develop the draft GNC Strategy for 2017-2020.

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