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Nutrition November: making the most of this important month

November is set to be a busy month for the nutrition community with, amongst other things, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering, the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and the launch of the first ever Global Nutrition Report.

‘Nutrition November’ takes place at a time when every day 805 million people are chronically undernourished and 162 million children under the age of five are stunted, meaning that their physical and cognitive development has been restricted because they have not received the nutrients they need.

Over two billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies and the number of overweight or obese children (up to five years old) has increased from 31 million globally in 1990 to 44 million in 2012.

Here’s what these initiatives are hoping to achieve, and why they are so important…

SUN Global Gathering

The SUN Global Gathering is a chance to reflect on the huge amount of progress that has been made in efforts to scale up nutrition and to look at how the movement can continue to address the needs of the 54 countries that have joined to date. To support these efforts, the SUN movement has developed four ‘Communities of Practice‘ which will form the basis of discussions at the gathering.

Second International Conference on Nutrition

ICN2 is taking place 22 years after the first ICN and is a rare opportunity for all UN Member States to demonstrate greater commitment to ending malnutrition in all its forms. Heads of state, ministers and officials from 193 governments will come together for ICN2 with the aim of advancing policies and actions in order to more effectively address the world’s major nutrition challenges.

Member States have been negotiating two outcome documents – a political declaration and a framework for action. The documents contain a number of voluntary commitments which Member States will hopefully sign up to in November, but to ensure implementation the policies and actions put forward in the ICN2 Framework for Action must be specific and time-bound.

Global Nutrition Report

Finally, the first Global Nutrition Report – an outcome of the Nutrition for Growth Summit held in London in 2013 – will be launched during ICN2 on 20 November.

The report is a comprehensive effort to accelerate progress in reducing malnutrition by improving our collective ability to monitor ongoing efforts and promoting accountability for commitments, actions and outcomes. It will cover nutrition status outcomes and programme coverage, as well as underlying determinants such as food security and water, sanitation and hygiene, resource allocations, and institutional and policy transformations.

The many nutrition-related activities taking place in November offer an important opportunity to share experiences and knowledge of what works in efforts to address malnutrition. To make the most of these opportunities we need more than just ambitious commitments – we need a clear vision for implementation.

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