The SUN Civil Society Alliance launches in Pakistan and adopts a declaration to mark the occasion
On the 23rd December 2014, the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN-CSA) was launched in Islamabad, Pakistan during a two day national conference on the State of Nutrition in Pakistan. The milestone event was boosted with the newly established SUN-CSA adopting a Civil Society Declaration on Nutrition and Food Security. SUN Government Focal Point, Aslam Shaheen, praised the Alliance’s contributions and efforts to make scaling up nutrition a reality. He said “The government’s un-wavering commitment to lower the staggering child & mother mortality rates in Pakistan stems out of up scaling nutrition through multi-sectoral nutrition policy”. Participants from multiple stakeholder groups included high level government officials, the media and development partners.
Successful establishment of the SUN-CSA was a process which spanned throughout 2014 beginning with membership advertisements in three leading national newspapers. In response to the advertisements, 79 member organisations were confirmed from all federating units of Pakistan. Voting took place and 11 members were elected for the Executive Council with key members including;
- Tanvir Sheikh, Executive Director, Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) as Chair,
- Arshad Mahmood, Director Advocacy and CRG, Save the Children as Secretary
- Aman Ullah Kakar, CEO, SOCIO Balochistan as the Co Chair
The Executive Council is scheduled to meet in January to come up with its Action Plan for 2015.
Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, attended as a Chief Guest and keynote speaker on day one. He spoke about the initiatives related to nutrition and government’s commitment. He answered participants questions about the need for actionable plans and highlighted Pakistan’s commitment to reduce malnutrition by 50% by year 2015 under the government’s Vision 2015.
Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for the National Food Security and Research, was the Chief Guest on the second day. He informed the participants about the steps being taken by the Government in the arena of Food Security and called upon the SUN-CSA for their recommendations on the Draft National Food Security Policy.
New Secretary of the SUN-CSA, Arshad Mahmood, stressed on enactment of “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding Bill” and called other provinces and federal government to take necessary steps for implementation of breastfeeding laws such as re/activating infant feeding boards and breast feeding committees.