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The 2016 Micronutrient Forum positions women’s nutrition at the centre of sustainable development

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN Lead Group and Secretariat


From 24-28 October 2016, the 2016 Micronutrient Forum was held in Mexico, providing a common ground and collaborative space for professionals, organisations and stakeholders who share an interest in reducing micronutrient malnutrition. Because women are both a prime focus of nutrition interventions and key partners in the delivery of programs, the Conference focused on the importance of placing women’s nutrition at the center of sustainable development.

There is no doubt that ensuring good nutrition for all is one of the biggest challenges facing countries, the world over. Eliminating malnutrition is not just a moral imperative. It is an economic, social, human, nonnegotiable. Undernutrition contributes to 45% of the 16,000 children under five who die each day. Stunted girls and boys, who survive, are permanently disadvantaged throughout their lifecycle. They perform worse at school and are less likely to be healthy and productive as adults. Making malnutrition history is also the best investment a country can make. For every dollar invested in nutrition, the return is 16 dollars.”

Gerda Verburg, SUN Movement Coordinator

From left: Patrixzia

From left: SUN Movement Coordinator Gerda Verburg and Patrizia meets with SUN Government Focal Points at the Forum

The forum was organised to foster dialogue and collaboration between researchers, policy-makers, program implementers and industry, promoting the application of up-to-date research to improve the design and implementation of scalable programs, and supporting the identification of evidence gaps for the purpose of filling them. Approximately 40 scientific sessions were held, which provided the opportunity for close to 200 speakers to focus on different aspects related to the science and practice of micronutrients.

Snapshot of events with highlight to SUN Government Focal Points and members of the SUN Movement Executive Committee.

  • Sponsored Symposia: Initiatives to address data gaps in nutrition.
  • Sponsored Symposia: Implementation Research to improve delivery outcomes (coverage, adherence, quality and equity) with Daisy de Marquez, National Council on Food Security and Nutrition (CONASAN; El Salvador) and SUN Government Focal Point and Meera Shekar of the World Bank and a member of the SUN Movement Executive Committee.
  • Closed Workshop: From Implementation to Impact: Modalities for Supporting and Strengthening Implementation research in SUN Countries.
  • Parallel session: Country ownership and leadership in working with multiple actors to promote policies, enable innovation and fund effective national micronutrient strategies with Ariela Luna, former SUN Government Focal Point in Peru and Uma Koirala, Nepal Civil Society Alliance Coordinator and member of the SUN Movement Executive Commmitee.
  • Plenary: Transforming the enabling environment to forge a future for micronutrients – what will it take? Moderated by Gerda Verburg.
  • Plenary: Implementation Science in Nutrition: purposes, forms, functions and country examples with German Gonzalez, SUN Government Focal Point for Guatemala.

We are witnessing the convergence of two global phenomena that are creating an unprecedented moment in time: a spike in conversations about the importance of women and girls’ health, rights, and empowerment for the world to move forward – and increasing global concern, momentum, and action on nutrition. ”

Joel Spicer, Micronutrient Initiative President

The specific setting of the conference in Mexico provided a chance for interested participants to take part on Educational Visits, including a visit to a health centre where the successful cash-transfer program implemented by the Mexican government to improve health care utilization, nutrition and education of vulnerable populations groups takes place.

Useful links: Detailed programme schedule // official conference website

The 2016 Forum builds on the success of the 2014 meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which brought together 1000 participants from 65 countries, providing them with a wealth of knowledge and insight into the science and delivery of micronutrients.  The Forum is led by an International Steering Committee and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Micronutrient Initiative and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The Conference is sponsored by Nutriset, Sight and Life, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Awards were sponsored by The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI).

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