The work of many United Nations System agencies and other international organizations, funds and programs has a direct bearing on nutrition, both at the policy and norm-setting level and through direct interventions in countries, for example through capacity development. UN agencies work complementary and coherently and effectively in the areas of nutrition. The UN System Network harmonizes and coordinates UN agencies involvement in the SUN Movement to improve efficiency and maximize opportunities for impact, so that the system wide response for the improvement of nutrition will indeed be greater than the sum of the individual efforts.
The UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) is the interagency platform for furthering and supporting joint nutrition efforts across the UN System. Currently the UNSCN includes four UN agencies – UNICEF, WFP, FAO and WHO – and other key agencies and international organizations contribute to it (IAEA, Bioversity, UNDESA and UNHCR) through technical dialogue and inputs as well as annual financial contributions.
The UNSCN, together with the REACH-partnership, forms the UN Network. Whereas the UNSCN is the global level UN normative platform for policy and technical harmonization, the REACH-partnership is a country level coordination mechanism supporting national nutrition plans and joint UN efforts. Both work in close collaboration. The UNSCN has started to broaden its network and advocates for an increased number of actively-engaged UN agencies and international organizations in the SUN Movement that have specialized expertise in nutrition or indirectly contribute to reducing malnutrition and support SUN participating countries in their efforts to achieve their national nutrition goals.
To improve the efficacy and impact of SUN countries’ scaling-up nutrition efforts, the UN System Network will continue to:
• Convene the dialogue of the UN system agencies and international organizations on nutrition and on how to interact as a group with the SUN Movement and its stakeholders,
• Harmonize the response of the UN system in terms of coherent policy and technical guidance on nutrition,
• Foster and contribute implementable solutions and guidance on nutrition – both nutrition specific actions as well as nutrition sensitive development approaches,
• Build and maintain the evidence base: Document lessons learnt and knowledge gaps in SUN countries and others,
• Develop capacity within Governments and in collaboration with partners to effectively design and implement direct nutrition and nutrition sensitive strategies, policies, plans and programs,
• Influence International Forums: Coordinate input into intergovernmental mechanisms such as the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and international forums such as the G8 or G20.
The UN System Network helps coordinate activities in SUN countries by aiming to appoint in-country conveners and creating a system to respond to country requests. The Network supports the Country and Donor Networks by developing financial plans and updating estimates for the worldwide cost of nutrition interventions and the development of nutrition policies. Overall, the UN System Network aims to streamline and increase the effectiveness of national and international work to effectively scale up nutrition.
• UNSCN Chair
• Dr Francesco Branca, UNSCN Executive Secretary a.i.