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Côte d’Ivoire launches first SUN national youth network for nutrition

  |   SUN Movement

Abidjan, 5 May 2022 – Côte d’Ivoire Vice-President H.E. Tiémoko Meyliet Koné today officially launched the country’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Youth Network, making Côte d’Ivoire the first country with an official SUN network for youth.

The country’s new SUN Youth Network brings together 37 youth organizations, with a total membership of 5,000 youths,  working on nutrition, food and sustainable development. It is led by its President Mr. Ange Yothio, and has as its mission the implementation of advocacy activities for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of hunger and malnutrition.

While other youth networks exist across the SUN Movement in countries such as Cambodia, Peru, the Philippines, and Zambia, among others, the Côte d’Ivoire national SUN Youth Network is the first official national SUN network for youth – paving the way for the establishment of others in SUN Countries.

The launch event, hosted by Vice-President Koné, was attended by 12 ministers; Ms. Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the SUN Movement; heads of UN agencies; youth organizations, as well as partners from civil society and the private sector. 

In his remarks, Vice-President Koné reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to strengthen the fight against malnutrition in the country, saying, “Côte d’Ivoire has made the fight against malnutrition a priority and, while we recognize we have a lot to do, by working together we have made remarkable progress. For instance, the implementation of the multisector, multistakeholder strategy has reduced the prevalence of chronic malnutrition from 29.8% in 2012 to 21.6% in 2016.” 

Addressing the youth leaders at the event, Ms. Verburg said, “Adolescence is a critical period for health development – without access to good nutrition, you will experience setbacks in your health, your educational abilities, your future work and incoming generating capacity. And your community and country will also feel the impacts because stunted youth create a stunted economy, which will hold back the country’s development. But you, the youth of this country, have the power and ability to make a change – and to be part of this change. In fact, we need you to be part of this change. We can not do it without you.” 

Mr. Mamadou Touré, Minister for the Promotion of Youth, Professional Integration and Civic Service, also emphasized the involvement of young people in the development of social inclusion and development policies as key for the future of Côte d’Ivoire.

Reaffirming his support of the SUN Youth Network, Mr. Touré said, “I would like to congratulate the leaders of this new network for the commitment that you have just made and invite you all to rally as many youth organizations as possible to this cause.”

This is not the first time the country has led by example. Côte d’Ivoire joined the SUN Movement nine years ago, and since 2013, the country has made strong progress towards achievement of its nutrition targets, as highlighted by Vice-President Koné at the launch event. This includes the country’s reduction of the prevalence of chronic malnutrition from 29.8% to 21.6% in four years. The country is also leading at the African continent level, as demonstrated by Côte d’Ivoire President H.E. Alassane Dramane Ouattara in his proposal of “nutrition” as the African Union theme for 2022, which was endorsed at the 2022 African Union Heads of State Summit.  

The country’s Vice President, Prime Minister and several ministers also scheduled high-level meetings with Ms. Verburg during her official mission to Côte d’Ivoire, demonstrating the Government’s firm commitment to bring nutrition to all people in the country. Additionally, Ms. Verburg, had the opportunity to see the strong commitment of the in-country SUN Networks and their members representing UN agencies, civil society, the private sector and the donor community, through meetings with these valuable stakeholders. 

This multisectoral and multistakeholder commitment to nutrition by Côte d’Ivoire has reinforced the important role it plays as a champion of the African Union 2063 Agenda.

 

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