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Nutrition Year of Action

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Building forward better with the Nutrition Year of Action

Like any crisis, the one we face now is a turning point. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed profound systemic failures in the systems that support nutrition. Sustaining investments in essential life-saving nutrition interventions and food security programs will be key to protect hard-won nutrition gains. But we must also draw the lessons from the pandemic and build forward better, more resilient and efficient food, social protection and health systems in support of nutrition – as recommended by the UN Secretary General in the Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition (watch his video address here).

On December 14th 2020, the Governments of Canada and Bangladesh, in partnership with the Government of Japan, hosted a virtual launch of the Nutrition Year of Action . This has set in motion a year-long effort that will be punctuated by major global events in 2021, including the UN Food Systems Summit (alongside the UN General Assembly in September) and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit (in Tokyo, Japan, in December). This global momentum is much-needed. But we must remember there is no one-size-fits-all for countries. Systemic solutions must be country specific and country-owned if to get the results we all hope for.

Building on SUN’s multisectoral work in countries, this Year of Action presents a unique opportunity to align global players and financial incentives behind country-led actions to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, while priming the systemic transformation needed to achieve the nutrition goals and catalyze progress towards the SDGs.

Learn more on the SUN Movement’s approach:

Recommitting to nutrition as a central component of COVID response and recovery, and as a long-term development priority, is the only sure way to deliver on the World Health Assembly Nutrition Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals. The time to act is now!

Hon. Karina Gould,
Canada’s Minister of International Development,
and Lead Group Member of the SUN Movement

SUN Countries take action!

Recent/Upcoming National dialogues in SUN countries

  • Congratulations to the Cambodia SUN Focal Point who was appointed as National Convener for in-country Food Systems Dialogues! Cambodia’s first national dialogue happened on January 18th.
  • Congratulations to Bangladesh for organising the first National Food Systems Summit Dialogue on January 21st 2021! Read its full report
  • Congratulations to Ethiopia for holding a High Level Roundtable on Ethiopian Food Systems –a major milestones of this year of action for Ethiopia which has put together an excellent roadmap to track action and progress towards the UN Food Systems Summit.
  • Congratulations Nigeria! On February 23, the Government of Nigeria has rolled out its first National Food Systems Dialogues (NFSD) across the country. See full details here.
  • Congratulations to Guatemala for organizing its first National Dialogue on February 26! More details here.

Click below to learn more on the different components of this Nutrition Year of Action:

  1. transforming food systems with the Food Systems Summit and Food Systems Dialogues;
  2. building momentum and commitment towards nutrition with the Nutrition for Growth Summit ;
  3. and sustaining nutrition financing behind country-led priorities throughout the year and beyond.

Country-driven, country-owned food systems transformations

Global awareness is rising on the need to transform our food systems if we are to achieve nutrition targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit in September 2021 that aims at launching bold new actions to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food. It is a summit for everyone everywhere – a people’s summit. It is also a solutions summit that will require everyone to take action to transform the world’s food systems.

Along this journey, it is critical to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution at the country level. Every country needs a tailor-made approach. This will require dialogues across multiple sectors to reach a confluence of perspectives and develop a collective, systemic, and sustainable path forward. Global stakeholders must facilitate this process and align behind country-owned solutions for results and impact. This focus on country-led systemic change is fully aligned with the SUN 3.0 strategy.


The Food Systems Summit Dialogues will offer one of the most dynamic ways to engage SUN stakeholders at the country level to engage in national-level dialogues, bringing food system stakeholders together and engaging them in considering how they can unite around transformative actions in support of the SDGs. The aim is to collectively define national pathways towards more resilient, nutrition-sensitive, and climate-smart food systems at the country level.

SUN Stakeholders are invited to engage in these Dialogues actively, building on the SUN multi-sectoral/multi-stakeholder work and bringing the SUN priorities to the table. As such, Dialogues can kick-start the SUN 3.0 strategy, revitalize ownership of the nutrition agenda at the highest political level and initiate commitments to transformative action in order to achieve sustainable impact for people’s nutrition, in the lead up to the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit.


Building Momentum for the N4G Year of Action

The Government of Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021 (N4G 2021). The summit is an unprecedented opportunity to set the world on a pathway towards achieving the SDG targets – in particular, to end malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 and strengthen the link between diet, food systems and health. Its timing is key, with 5 years to achieve the 2025 World Health Assembly targets, and 10 years to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. At N4G 2021, the Government of Japan aims to work with partners to galvanise commitments from governments, civil society, private sector, donor agencies and the UN to end malnutrition in all its forms.

The Global Nutrition Report and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement will co-host the first in a series of regional roundtables to mobilize key actors at the regional and country level around the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Year of Action and Tokyo N4G Summit 2021.

The Tokyo N4G Summit comes at a critical time, midway through the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition – with only four years left to achieve the global nutrition targets on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, and nine years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Bringing together a diverse range of actors from across the Asia-Pacific region, this first roundtable will create space for group discussion of the N4G Year of Action, the Tokyo N4G Summit and the commitment-making process.

If you would like to attend, please register through this link:

Key documents

Nutrition For Growth Commitment-making page. New N4G commitments made during the Year of Action before September should be recorded in the commitment registration guide and Form

• The Nutrition Accountability Framework

Mobilizing ambitious and impactful commitments for mainstreaming nutrition in health systems: nutrition in universal health coverage – global nutrition summit

Global Breastfeeding Collective – Nine SMART Breastfeeding Commitments

• The ICN2 resource guide is a useful source to review examples of appropriate commitments

Supporting documents

• Vision and Roadmap – English (2021) / Français (2020) / Español (2020)

• Commitment-Making Guide – English / Français / Español / Pусский

• SUN Movement & N4G – English / Français / Español

Secure and sustain new nutrition investments

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to roll back our hard-won global progress on fighting malnutrition over the last decade with massive disruptions of health services and a negative impact on jobs, food security, and livelihoods. Recent financing estimates show that an additional 1.2 billion USD is needed annually to combat the effects of COVID-19 on stunting, wasting, and maternal anemia. This amount should complement the Global Nutrition Investment Framework financing estimates of 7 billion USD per year (between 2016 and 2025) for which the world was already not on track. The pandemic has exacerbated the capacity of national governments to mobilize additional resources for their national development plans implementation – including their multi-sectoral nutrition plans.

The ability of emerging and developing economies to sustain nutrition programming is highly questionable in the medium and long term. Because securing domestic and external financing is at the core of the 2021 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Compact, it is urgent that comprehensive, innovative and faster financing mechanisms are put in place if we are to achieve the SDGs. The upcoming 2021 financing commitments will therefore involve innovative financing mechanisms and catalytic funds, an increased focus on nutrition sensitive financing while improving data and efficiency of spending for nutrition will be critical. National governments, donor agencies, and philanthropists and other financing institutions are encouraged to double their efforts despite the gloomy economic context.

Investments in Nutrition are among the best value-for-money. They are essential in achieving the SDGs and will contribute to a more resilient, prosperous, and peaceful world.


“COVID-19 has already undone one decade of progress on nutrition. Our data reveals that unless the world steps up its effort, children under 5 in under-resourced settings will bear the brunt with an estimate of 9.3 million additional children at risk of wasting in 2020-2022. Failure to act now means we put an entire generation at risk,”

Saskia Osendarp, Executive Director Micronutrient Forum,
Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
(co-conveners of Standing Together for Nutrition consortium)

Nutrition is everyone’s business: together, this Year of Action is our chance to emerge stronger from this crisis.