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SUN Movement Coordinator visits Pakistan to boost policy into action

  |   SUN Country Network

SLAMABAD: April 11 – UN Assistant Secretary General Ms. Gerda Verburg called on Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in Parliament House. APP

From 9 to 12 April 2017, SUN Movement Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General, Ms Gerda Verburg, joined high level decision makers in Pakistan to reflect on progress made and the road ahead in scaling up nutrition. The schedule encompassed a wide range of meetings and activities including workshops, ministerial meetings and a television talk show.

During an exclusive interview with Radio Pakistan’s Special Correspondent Javed Khan Jadoon of NCAC, she said that nutrition is of crucial importance for children to develop brain and body. She said that there are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals and that good nutrition is a foundation for all of them.

In a meeting with Ms. Verburg, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb emphasised the need for a coherent communication strategy for mass awareness about the issue of malnutrition and its dissemination to the masses through different arms of the mass media. She said she would utilise different media outlets and employ all available resources to promote this cause in her capacity as the minister for information and broadcasting and also as convener of the Sustainable Development Goals.

A national consultative meeting on ‘Fill in the Nutrient Gap (FNG) Analysis,’ organized by Pakistan SUN Secretariat, and the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform with support of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other other ministries and partners brought about thematic discussions. The participants were divided into groups around agriculture and food security, health, education, WASH and gender/safety nets to deliberate on strategies required to address challenges. Major steps for achieving strategies were identified and provinces agreed on dates and timelines for replicating these consultative meetings in the provinces.

A meeting with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) led to the agreement to join hands in the fight against malnutrition through advocacy and promotion of research on nutrition. Present at the meeting were a team of the Committee on Nutrition with Executive Director, HEC Dr. Arshad Ali, Director General, Planning and Development, HEC, Dr. Mazhar Saeed, Research and Development, HEC, Dr. Latif, Adviser, member Council for Nutrition Dr. Ashraf and other senior officials. Dr. Arshad Ali said that HEC has been promoting research based on solutions to social issues, adding that nutrition and food security are very important areas which need to be focused in research activities. He assured the SUN team of full cooperation in advocacy and promotion of nutrition through the higher education sector and stressed the need for coordination between academia and private sector with regard to awareness about importance of nutrition particularly for women and children.

Pakistan has been a member of the Movement since 2013 and has since made great strides in bringing people together around the common goal of ending malnutrition. A Donor Network, UN Network and Civil Society alliance rally behind national nutrition policies. The SUN Civil Society Alliance is active also at the provincial level and a SUN Business Engagement Strategy has been endorsed and an Academia and Research Network created.

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