UN Agencies Meet in Nairobi to Enhance Cooperation Against Malnutrition

Scaling Up Nutrition

The UN System Network for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) held its first meeting in Africa from 26-28 August in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together experts from various UN agencies working on the continent to drive forward the fight against under nutrition. 

Of the 34 countries that account for 90 percent of the global burden of stunting, 22 are in Africa, a study in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, found earlier this year. Eighty percent of the world's stunted children live in just 14 countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

There is now increasing recognition that a lack of nutrients can cause irreversible damage to children's minds and bodies, as well as affecting their future economic prospects,” said David Nabarro, the SUN Coordinator . 

He continued, “Countries are giving increasing importance to nutrition as a development priority, encouraging different sectors to ensure that their programmes are nutrition-sensitive. They seek responsive and well-coordinated external support that helps them enable all people – especially women and children – to enjoy good nutrition."

In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of children under 5 years of age are stunted. More than 100 participants from 17 African countries, as well as regional and global representatives from various United Nations agencies, will share their knowledge and discuss ways of strengthening joint action at country level to tackle nutrition deficiencies across Africa.

The meeting will also mark the official regional launch of the UN System Network for SUN, an interagency platform that facilitates joint UN action in nutrition. This network will bolster ongoing UN efforts to share expertise with countries that request help in addressing undernutrition. The partnership is part of the broader SUN Movement, which is founded on the principle that all people have a right to food and good nutrition.

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