SUN Newsletter

UN Network for SUN

Home / SUN Supporters / UN Network for SUN

The UN Network brings together all United Nations agencies working in nutrition to support SUN Countries with breaking the cycle of malnutrition across generations, leaving no one behind

The UN Network for SUN, officially established in June 2013 by the Principals of FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO, is responsible for translating and achieving UN nutrition commitments in SUN countries. The UN Network elevates the nutrition dialogue through its senior leadership and helps to leverage the collective strengths of the UN agencies, to foster innovations, find efficiencies and enhance complementarity across agencies and with government and SUN networks. This enables the UN to work more effectively to deliver nutrition actions at scale and to achieve value-for-money and results.

In addition, the UN Network leverages the nutrition resources, skills, expertise and knowledge of its member UN agencies, programmes and funds to support convergence along the six pillars of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 in support of national nutrition efforts.

Read Other Articles
See More Country Cases

Latest progress

In November 2014, REACH was requested to take on the leadership for the UN Network for SUN Secretariat by the Principals of UNICEF, FAO, WFP and WHO. TOR’s have now been finalized for the UN Network at global and country levels which outline the expectation of the UN Network for SUN at country level and include 7 key deliverables (joint UN inventory, strategy, messaging, resource mobilization, programming, accountability (through the use of a UN dashboard).

Support for SUN processes at country level continues at a considerable pace, particularly through the efforts of national and international REACH facilitators. The UN Network for SUN through REACH has now provided direct facilitation and coordination support to governments in 17 countries. It is expected that the UN Network for SUN will eventually be formed in all SUN countries. The UN Networks for SUN at country level are now engaged in identifying concrete actions to strengthen joint support for country’s priorities in scaling up nutrition. These include conducting a joint inventory of nutrition actions, developing a joint country support strategy/agenda for nutrition and a joint common narrative.

Efforts in action: REACH has supported efforts to achieve government approval for the establishment of a nutrition coordination cell in Mali and the launch of high-level coordination platforms in Burundi and Chad. Functional capacity development plans to address challenges of scaling up nutrition in a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach were completed in Ghana and Nepal while plans are underway to support other countries that have expressed interest.

Through improving collaboration at country level, the contributions of global knowledge and setting of international standards for nutrition by the UN agencies is being operationalised.

  • WHO and UNICEF collaborate on the maintenance and updating of global data for tracking the World Health Assembly targets and informing the Global Nutrition Report.
  • WHO, UNICEF, FAO and others also worked together on the Global Monitoring Framework on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition.
  • FAO, WFP, IFAD closely collaborate on harmonised tools and database platform for the tracking of the food-based food security indicators.

The convening of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in November 2014 in Rome, jointly by WHO and FAO, was a milestone event under the theme “Better Nutrition, Better Lives”. Member states endorsed the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action, that outline commitments and recommendations to preventing malnutrition in all its forms, including hunger, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity. In 2015, the elaboration of a joint UN position for greater accountability for nutrition in the Sustainable Development Goal Framework was led by the UNSCN and included related advocacy efforts.

In June, the UNSCN in collaboration with the UN Network for SUN organised a UN Regional Nutrition Meeting for Asia and the Pacific under the theme of Strengthening UN joint country support for improved nutrition programming. The meeting addressed the main outcomes of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and the new directions of the UN Network for SUN, including the UNGNA and the UNDAF. Also in 2015, UNICEF on behalf of the UN Network for SUN, in collaboration with the SUN Movement Secretariat, organised and facilitated four regional workshops on costing and tracking investments in nutrition (Bangkok, Entebbe, Abidjan and Guatemala City).

• At the country level, membership increasingly includes additional UN agencies, and, in December 2017, all SUN Countries had UN Networks. 42 countries – five more than in 2015- 2016 – have appointed UN Network Chairs. REACH (Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Undernutrition) was engaged in 17 SUN countries in 2016-2017, and continues to be a service, provided through the UN Network, in response to country demand to bring momentum to and build capacity for multi-sectoral nutrition governance processes;

• In 2016-2017, the United Nations has taken vast strides to call attention to nutrition, starting with the proclamation of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025.71 In January 2017, its work programme was launched, following the proclamation of this Decade in April 2016. Since then, Norway has become the first country to establish an action network, whilst Ecuador and Brazil have been the first countries to pledge their ambitious commitments;

• The reporting period has also seen other strategic global developments, such as the formulation of the UN Network for SUN Strategy (2016-2020) – developed in tandem with the SUN Strategy and Roadmap 2.0 – which provides a guiding framework for UN Network activity in the second phase of the SUN Movement;

• The Network has SUN supported countries set and/or review national SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound) nutrition targets and other follow-up actions, as per the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICUN2);

• The regional Asia UN Network for SUN was set up in 2016-2017, in addition to capacity development support with Regional Economic Commissions.

• The UN Network has also developed resources to support work at the country level and to better understand how the UN Network is performing. These include: A Compendium of Actions for Nutrition; the UN Network Capacity Assessment Guidance Package for Nutrition; the Checklist of criteria to guide the formulation of ‘good’ quality nutrition plans (jointly facilitated with the SMS); and the UNN Reporting Exercise tool.

In November 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) agreed that the UN REACH Partnership (Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Nutrition) will serve as the UN coordinating and focal body on nutrition in SUN Countries. Since then, the REACH Secretariat has also acted as the UN Network for SUN. The Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) focuses on global level nutrition policy matters. The UN Network for SUN/REACH is governed by a Steering Committee of the 4 agencies mentioned above along with IFAD which is acts as in an advisory capacity. While the membership of the UN Network for SUN currently includes the above mentioned agencies, other UN agencies engaged in nutrition at country level are encouraged to join the Network. Other agencies engaging in nutrition are UNHCR (Ghana, Rwanda), UNDP (Bangladesh), UNFPA (Mozambique, Myanmar, Uganda), UNAIDS (in Ghana and Tanzania) and ILO (Philippines).

Learn about the commitment made by the Principals of five UN agencies in 2013.

The Commitment

On June 8, 2013 the Principals of five UN Agencies with a mandate in nutrition met in London during the Nutrition for Growth high-level event where they endorsed the UN Network for Scaling Up Nutrition’s 2013 Workplan. The signatories include José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of WFP.


Key documents

UN Network Results Framework

Click to enlarge graphic.

Click here to download a detailed version of the UN Network Results Framework (Annex 3 of the UN Network for SUN Strategy).

UN Network tools and resources

A series of tools and resources are available to guide the work of the UN Network for SUN at the country level. Some of these materials have been developed explicitly for the UN Network for SUN, whereas other materials refer to the UN more broadly.

See the tools

UN Network for SUN logo

Colour JPG: English Français Español

Colour PNG: English Français Español 

Black & White JPG: English Français Español 

Black & White PNG: English Français Español

Global Network Facilitation

Purnima Kashyap

Global Coordinator

Members of the Steering Committee

Victor Aguayo


Lauren Landis


Francesco Branca


Juliane Friedrich


Anna Lartey