Panama joins SUN Movement, raising the total to a record 66
The Government of Panama has joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, confirming its commitment to improving nutrition within its borders and around the world.
The addition makes Panama the sixty-sixth member country of the SUN Movement, which brings together representatives from civil society, business, United Nations agencies and governments to end malnutrition in all its forms. Joining SUN will grant Panama strategic support to establish partnerships with key stakeholders inside the country and allow it to benefit from the experiences of other member countries.
Panama has made progress against key nutrition indicators in recent years, according to the 2023 report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. The prevalence of undernourishment in Panama dropped to 5.3 per cent in 2020–2022 from 21.6 per cent in 2004–2006. The proportion of children younger than 5 unable to reach their growth potential (stunted) fell to 13.8 per cent in 2022 from 19.9 per cent in 2012. Panama also has made gains in anaemia among women aged 15 to 49 years and in the prevalence of low birth weight, according to the report. Yet, adult obesity and child overweight have increased.
“By joining the SUN Movement, Panana is paving the way towards healthy diets for all,” said Elmer Miranda, SUN Focal Point for Panama and Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat for the Food and Nutrition Security Plan (SENAPAN), which promotes food and nutritional security through intersectoral and inter-institutional coordination. It includes a section on overweight and obesity.
Panama is no stranger to the SUN Movement, having hosted SUN’s first-ever Regional Gathering in 2022. Panama also is home to the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Hub, which coordinates partnerships in the region and works in collaboration with the SUN Networks – including the SUN Civil Society Network, the SUN Business Network, UN-Nutrition and the SUN Academia Network – from its base in Panama City.
Panama is in the process of updating its six-year Food Security and Nutrition National Plan (2023–2028), which lays down actions to embed nutrition across multiple public ministries and interventions, and is committed to establishing long-term policies to increase the production of healthy foods, optimize the agrifood system and promote the population’s access to healthy diets.
The third country to join the SUN Movement from Latin America and the Caribbean in the past five years, Panama follows Ecuador, which joined in 2020, and Honduras, which joined in 2019. This will help strengthen SUN’s presence in the region, which now spans seven countries (Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Peru) out of 33.