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The ‘Next 1,000 Days’: Civil Society Comes Together to Transform Commitments and Momentum Into Action on Nutrition

  |   SUN Civil Society Network

Representatives from the National Food and Nutrition Commission, Parliament and Civil Society share their views on what it takes to scale up nutrition in Zambia

10-11 June, 2013: Two years on from civil society’s gathering to build commitment for the 1,000 Days Call to Action and just two days after the Nutrition for Growth event in London, civil society from across the globe came together in Washington DC to solidify ways to ‘Sustaining Political Commitment to Scaling Up Nutrition’.

On 10th June, Bread for the World and Concern Worldwide opened a day-long event to secure a recommitment from a broad base of supporters to ‘the next 1,000s days’ featuring high level speakers including USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Irish Minister of State Joe Costello and the heads of both host organizations, David Beckmann and Joe Cahalan. Professor Robert Black shared the results of the recently launched Lancet Series on Nutrition and representatives from SUN Countries including Tanzania, Kenya and Guatemala shared lessons learned from their own countries’ experience in scaling up nutrition.

A unique joint presentation in the afternoon demonstrated a ‘whole of society’ approach in action with representatives from Zambia’s National Food and Nutrition Commission, Parliament, the national Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance sharing their unique perspectives on the roles they each play in scaling up nutrition. Smaller group sessions then allowed space for the conference participants to debate some of the most pressing topics for nutrition including capacity development, best practices in nutrition-sensitive approaches and nutrition-specific interventions as well as civil society’s role in advocacy and monitoring progress.

Head of Medecins Sans Frontieres Marie Pierre Allié “As a SUN Lead Group member I thank you again for opportunity to be with you today and it’s important for me to carry the ideas you have shared to future LG discussions.”

The following day, civil society representatives kept the conversation going with a packed agenda of information sharing, priority setting and action planning at the Inaugural SUN Civil Society Network meeting. With participation of two Lead Group members, Tom Arnold and Marie Pierre Allié, and representatives from Asia, Africa and Latin America, civil society was encouraged to realize their full potential in transforming commitments into action. This meeting represented a crucial milestone for the SUN Civil Society Network to identify the key priorities of national Civil Society Alliances, understand how best to support countries who are all in different phases of organizing and mobilizing civil society and crystalizing opportunities to work together as effectively as possible.

A compelling panel of representatives from Peru, Malawi and Uganda shared their experiences in mobilizing the potential of civil society to support the implementation of national plans to scale up nutrition. Each shared unique perspectives, successes and challenges but several themes were clear: focus and clarity of purpose is essential; professionalism and commitment to work together is critical to gaining recognition as a key partner in national efforts and in order to be successful, organizational interests must give way to the collective aims of improving nutrition.

Carina Ismael from Mozambique shares her priorities for action

To close the meeting, Brendan Cox, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children UK and SUN Civil Society Network Chair reminded the group that “All too often we forget the very human face and very human problem that is at the core of what we are trying to achieve. We have the core components to achieve success.”

Brendan Cox, SUN Civil Society Network Chair and Tom Arnold, SUN Movement Lead Group Member urged civil society to realize their full potential to help transform recent commitments into action.

Brendan Cox, SUN Civil Society Network Chair and Tom Arnold, SUN Movement Lead Group Member urge civil society to realize their full potential to help transform recent commitments into action

Declaration of Commitment

The Washington DC. Civil Society Network meeting resulted in a declaration reaffirming civil society’s commitment to support national efforts to scale up nutrition.
View the final declaration (English | French | Spanish)

Additional Resources

View a full summary of the meeting (English | French | Spanish)
IDS/Development Horizons blog by Lawrence Haddad: Civil Society: The Need to do More to Make Malnutrition Visible

Global Day of Action

In the run up to the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science meeting on the 8th June, SUN Civil Society Alliances have take part in campaign actions around the world.

These actions highlighted to political leaders the importance of investing in nutrition, and were part of efforts happening all around the world as part of the Global Day of Action,

Scaling up Nutrition Civil Society Alliances led campaign efforts in Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia – holding round tables with politicians, public rallies, concerts and debates – all with the aim of asking their own national governments to do what’s necessary to tackle hunger and malnutrition. READ MORE ▶

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