The Global Nutrition Cluster, commonly known as the GNC, was established in 2006 as part of the Humanitarian Reform process, which aimed to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response programmes by ensuring greater predictability, accountability and partnership in order to reach more beneficiaries, with more comprehensive, need-based relief in a more effective and timely manner. 'Clusters' were created at this time in eleven sectors as well as in cross cutting areas of the humanitarian response, as shown in the image below, in order to facilitate this process. The Cluster Approach seeks to clarify the division of labor among organizations by better defining roles and responsibilities within the different technical sectors of the response; UNICEF is the cluster lead agency (CLA) for Nutrition.
The Nutrition Cluster operates at both national and global levels and also has a regional level engagement from the cluster lead agency, with a focus on a) coordination, b) capacity building, c) emergency preparedness, assessment, monitoring, surveillance, and d) supply.
Nutrition Clusters are currently activated in 20 countries (as of September 2012). More details on Country Nutrition Clusters can be found on country pages.
The GNC Vision
To safeguard and improve the nutritional status of emergency affected populations by ensuring an appropriate response that is predictable, timely, effective and at scale.
The GNC Strategic Areas
There are four strategic areas that provide the foundation for the work of the GNC, specifically:
1. Coordination, advocacy, policy and resource mobilization,
2. Standards, guidelines and technical developments,
3. Capacity developments, human resources and operational support (including preparedness), and
4. Information/knowledge management (including monitoring & assessment).
These strategic priorities have recently been revised; the strategic areas are further detailed in the GNC Strategic Framework [PPT] in terms of their operationalization at global level in 2011-2013. The current GNC Work Plan [PDF] reflects the revised strategic areas. During the face-to-face meeting in January 2013 it was agreed to revise the Work Plan, the revised version will be uploaded soon.
The GNC Structure
UNICEF is the Cluster Lead Agency for the IASC Global Nutrition Cluster and has assigned a Global Nutrition Cluster Coordinator and a Deputy Coordinator. At global level, the GNC has a total of 37 Core partners drawn from International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), Research and Development Groups, Academic Institutions, UN agencies, Public-Private Alliances, donor and individuals. There is an Interim Strategic Advisory Group established for a period of six months (from March 2013). Within the GNC, there are currently two active Working Groups, the Capacity Development Working Group (CDWG) and the Assessment Working Group (AWG). Each of the Working Group has two Co-chairs and about 10-15 members who volunteer additional time in technical areas and activities in nutrition in emergencies (NiE). Periodically, ad-hoc Task Forces are formed to address emerging technical issues and to facilitate liaison with existing technical groups outside of the GNC. These are time-bound group with clearly defined outputs. Additionally, the Food Security & Nutrition Working Group has been created within the Global Food Security Cluster (gFSC) as an inter-sectoral initiative between the two clusters.
The GNC Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) [pdf] concretely and transparently outlines the GNC structure, vision, strategic priorities, as well as the manner in which GNC core partners and other relevant stakeholders collaborate and interact.
There are various levels of GNC partnership, as detailed here:
To become a GNC partner, consult the section "Levels of GNC Partnerships" within the SOP [pdf] (p3) which explains the structure and membership procedure in more detail, or download the application letter for Core Partners [pdf] (Annex B of the SOP, p17) or Resource Persons/Individuals/Special Invitees [pdf] (Annex C of the SOP, p18).
There is Rapid Response Team (RRT) within the GNC structure as a means to provide high quality, rapidly deployable capacity to support an emergency response for a period up to 8 weeks. This mechanism is a collective effort through secondments from member agencies. Currently, the GNC has one RRT partnership agreement with IMC, funded by ECHO, with one Cluster Coordinator; opportunities are currently being explored to expand the RRT with additional team members for both Cluster Coordination and Information Management.
What does the GNC do?
The Global Nutrition Cluster and its partners work together to identify and develop key activities aimed to ensure that emergency response is predictable, timely, effective and at scale. The GNC has a commitment to share information and engage its partners to review its progress on a regular basis. At the same time, GNC members benefit from respective partners' lessons-learned and programmatic updates in order to improve practice and inform decision-making. To this end, the GNC typically meets twice per year, which includes one big annual meeting and one smaller meeting held for Core Members, producing and revising its biannual Work Plan. Additional meetings throughout the year are typically conference calls. Projects are then developed by the GNC and partners based on the work plan, either within the GNC structure or as independent initiatives. All meeting reports, including the presentations are available on the page dedicated to GNC Meetings.
Other Global Clusters