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Report of the first Conflict of Interest Learning Exercise

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN Lead Group and Secretariat

Following on from the development of the Conflict of Interest Toolkit for the Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest in the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, the first Learning Exercise was held in Accra, Ghana on 1-2 April 2014.

The objectives of the event were to bring together SUN Focal Points and partners to discuss their experiences in relation to preventing and managing conflict of interest, and to assess how the Reference Note and Toolkit produced in Phase I of the project can be applied and used to support work in this area at country level. There were over fifty participants representing Ghanaian networks of civil society, academia, business, donors, UN agencies and government.  In addition, there was participation by focal points and other SUN Movement stakeholders from Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. With deep appreciation for the organizational efforts of Edith Tetteh, the SUN Focal Point for the government of Ghana, and her Planning Committee, the event was a well-rounded and balanced multi-stakeholder experience, with a high level of engagement by all of the participants in discussions specifically addressing the prevention and management of conflict of interest in the SUN Movement.

The interactive format included several panels drawn from and moderated by the participants, and two rounds of small-group “learning circles” with facilitators and rapporteurs to enable inclusive involvement by all participants. The programme was structured around a locally produced case study and was further enhanced by integrating a local ethical perspective on conflict of interest. Lessons learned included recognition that the SUN Principles of Engagement are central to the process and should serve as a guide for leadership in the prevention and management of conflicts of interest.  Another key message was the importance of linking a conflict of interest policy to existing laws and mechanisms.  There was a lot of emphasis on integrating a local community focus and traditional cultures but also on the importance of a wide dissemination of knowledge and information about what conflict of interest actually means in practical settings. Financial auditing and management oversight, protection of whistleblowers and developing terms of reference for each network as well as for the national platform were also discussed.

More information about the meeting can be found on the GSO website at www.gsogeneva.ch.

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