Nutrition action scaled up for Latin America and the Caribbean at first-ever SUN Movement regional gathering
More than 170 nutrition leaders from 10 countries across the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region have today wrapped up a three-day Regional Gathering of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement designed to raise the ambition for nutrition action.
Organized 13–15 December in Panama City, Panama under the theme “One region, one goal: better nutrition for all”, the event was convened by the region’s six SUN countries—Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru—and had Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Panama participating as observer countries.
During the three-day event, participants engaged both live and virtually in more than 10 sessions covering key topics related to the effective implementation of nutrition action. These topics include nutrition finance and resource mobilization, the role of the private sector, implementing Nutrition for Growth commitments, multisectoral information systems for nutrition, systemic change through food system pathways, development and implementation of a knowledge management plan, high-level advocacy and stakeholder mapping, linking social protection and nutrition, and leveraging regional bodies.
The Regional Gathering was also an opportunity for national nutrition leaders to exchange experiences—both challenges and successes—and to build closer collaboration across the region. This included the definition of priorities and agreement of the SUN Movement LAC Regional Hub roadmap and agenda for 2023 and beyond, which comes at an important moment as countries’ nutrition security continues to be impacted by the global food and nutrition crisis, climate change, COVID-19 and the cost-of-living crisis.
The Regional Gathering saw the participation of stakeholders from all walks of life: representatives of governments, UN agencies, civil society, academia, donors and the private sector.
Ms. Francisca Gomez Cisterna, SUN Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, said of the event, “This SUN Regional Gathering brought together a rich array of nutrition stakeholders, including representatives of government, civil society, the private sector, youths, academia and more. Through the unique SUN Movement country-led, multisectoral and multistakeholder approach demonstrated over the last three days, and the rich knowledge exchanged, SUN Countries will be even more empowered to achieve the nutrition targets they have set for themselves. The region is now poised to scale up healthy nutrition for everyone, everywhere.”
Key energizing moments of the event included the issuing, from members of the SUN Civil Society Network in Colombia, of a call on the National Government to consider its adherence as a member State of the SUN movement and take action against the policies and plans formulated by the country in relation to: food security and nutrition and attention to the nutritional condition of pregnant and lactating women and children of early childhood.
Participants were also invited to showcase their best practices in a “Regional Gallery”, where they exchanged ideas to advance their country’s national nutrition objectives, learning from one another and working multi-sectorally in the true spirit of the SUN Movement.
Ms Gerda Verburg, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, said: “Participants of this SUN Regional Gathering have demonstrated strong commitment to nutrition. This first Regional Gathering represented an opportunity to set the priorities for the SUN Regional Hub for 2023 and beyond. It will serve to both scale up national levels of ambition and support for nutrition action, as well as to strengthen regional cooperation sharing and learning. Together through the power of “WE”, working as one region with one goal to bring nutrition to everyone, this can be achieved.”
The event was also an occasion to bid farewell to the outgoing SUN Coordinator, Gerda Verburg, and the outgoing SUN Focal Point for Costa Rica and SUN Executive Committee Focal Point for the region, Dr. Cecilia Gamboa. Dr. Gamboa welcomed Ms. Eugenia Villabos, who will succeed her in both roles.
This is also another reason why this meeting was a crucial opportunity for the participating delegations to meet with the SUN Coordinator and discuss their main challenges and proposed way forwards.
This SUN Movement Regional Gathering was the first such event supported by the newly launched Panama-based SUN Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean.
About the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is a country-led and country-driven network of member stakeholders working to support 65 SUN Countries and 4 Indian States to develop and achieve their nutrition targets. It is founded on a multistakeholder and multisectoral approach that harnesses the broad capacities of key players working to bring healthy nutrition to everyone, everywhere. It is facilitated by the SUN Movement Secretariat and four SUN Networks – the SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Business Network, SUN Donor Network and UN Nutrition – representing +4,000 organizations, +1,400 businesses, 16 UN agencies, and leading public and private sector donors.