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New Year Letter from the SUN Movement Coordinator ad interim

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Dear colleagues,

In 2014 we welcomed nine more countries into the SUN Movement. Hundreds more organizations and thousands more individuals have been inspired by the commitments made by governments to scale up nutrition, to end malnutrition in all its forms and to work together to realise the rights of all to nutrition justice.

We saw some notable progress over the last year, and this was showcased at the Global Gathering in Rome in November and captured in the Movement’s annual Progress Report. High level political commitment is encouraging a focus on policies that address nutrition across multiple sectors, utilising the expertise and capacities of multiple stakeholders. These stakeholders are beginning to work better together, aligned behind national common results frameworks for nutrition. We are confident that further domestic and international financial resources will be committed and that there is a common understanding that these resources will need to be better monitored for impact to ensure their effective and efficient use.

2014 was also a year where nutrition was placed firmly on the agenda of member states. At the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), the world’s governments endorsed the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action. Leaders committed to establishing national policies aimed at eradicating malnutrition and transforming food systems to make nutritious diets available to all. This meeting was hugely significant, and I hope that we can all work to ensuring follow up to this declaration while the momentum for nutrition is in full force.

The Global Nutrition Report was also launched in 2014. It served to further highlight the impact that can be made when the right environment enables political commitment to be translated into action. The report provides countries with an evidence base for advocacy that can inform decision makers of policies that must be put in place. It also came with its own warnings about the fragility of hard won gains. One area where we need a collective focus will be on the accountability for results – accountability which rests not only with governments, but must be shared by all those with interests in ensuring nutrition justice for all – across development partners in civil society, business, and the UN System.

So as I look forward to the year ahead I am inspired by the progress we have made together, yet also reminded of the challenges that thousands of families still face in claiming their right to adequate nutrition, every day. 2015 will be immensely important for us, as we engage with one another to achieve our common goals, and reach for the leaders we hope to inspire.

The Independent Comprehensive Evaluation of the Movement will enable us to see where we can be more relevant, efficient and effective. We will be able to strengthen our Movement and secure sustainable impacts on nutritional status. There will be a number of important opportunities this year to locate nutrition firmly in the development agenda for the decades to come. Events at all levels, from local communities to international forums, will be crucial moments for multi-stakeholder engagement and represent opportunities for nutrition champions to shine. Key events include the Finance for Development Conference in July in Addis Abbaba and the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda at the UN General Assembly in September. In-country launches of the Global Nutrition Report will also aid in generating national awareness for nutrition.

We clearly have much more to do, and whilst we prepare ourselves for the future, we must not take our eyes away from the current challenges. We have all heard the urgent need expressed by SUN Government Focal Points and members of the multi-stakeholder platforms and we know that technical and practical expertise exists across SUN countries and networks. 2015 must be the year where the Communities of Practice (COP) become the Movement’s mechanism to ensure that in-country capacity is strengthened, actions to scale up nutrition are accelerated, and accountability is reinforced. We need to enable better access to support and create more opportunities for best practice to be shared, a core value of the Movement. Indeed the COPs are already generating a global knowledge repository and consensus that are proving invaluable in addressing bottlenecks in support.

I am proud to be a part of a Movement that is open and engaging. We continue to find ways to share ideas on how to maximize the opportunities and while our tasks ahead are daunting, we are not afraid to challenge and be challenged. We know that we can achieve a great deal by working together effectively. Scaling up our efforts more and more every day is imperative to accelerate the progress towards turning national and global commitments into action. Our messages must touch every stakeholder that can make a difference. That difference will mean that more children are well nourished and more children will have the opportunity to grow up and reach their full potential.

Sincerely,
Tom Arnold
SUN Movement Coordinator ad interim

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