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Nutrition takes centre stage at United Nations headquarters

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, United States of America, 27 September 2012 - Nutrition was the focus of a high-level event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations headquarters, New York.

27 September 2012: UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on a high-level nutrition event at United Nations headquarters.  Watch in RealPlayer


The issue is being tackled by the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. SUN brings together a broad coalition of 30 countries, 27 global leaders and more than 100 organizations.

Momentum for change

Globally, an estimated 165 million children under the age of 5 are stunted because of malnutrition, and that poor start in life means they will never achieve their cognitive potential.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake is Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group. Mr. Lake told the meeting that SUN was generating real momentum for change.

“SUN has given the world a focal point, a home for pooling our experience, resources and expertise and developing targeted strategies to help the world’s most vulnerable children get the nutrition they need,” he said.

In aiming to end malnutrition, SUN is working to increase the effectiveness of existing programmes and to create sustainable improvements in all aspects of global health and development.

“The SUN Movement has not required any new institution, fund or programme. Instead, it has proposed an entirely new way of thinking. SUN is rallying governments, civil society, the private sector and international donors. It is breaking down barriers and separating different disciplines and galvanizing experts in agriculture, health, social protection and finance,” said Mr. Ban.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1247/Markisz
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives the keynote address at the high-level nutrition meeting at United Nations headquarters, New York.

Meaningful difference for the malnourished

The meeting heard that: the SUN Movement needs to focus on proven solutions such as vitamin A, zinc and iodized salt; and the impact of its investments should be measured and accountable.

“We need to ensure commitments translate to actions that make a meaningful difference for people suffering from malnutrition,” said Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino.
Mr. Lake told participants that stunting is the most unrecognized development issue, and that taking action on malnutrition is the single most cost-effective way to meet development goals.

“The momentum behind the SUN Movement is powerful. And the circle of support is growing. But now, our commitment must be matched by practical results for children,” said Mr. Lake.



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