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At today’s AgriKnowledge ShareFair in Addis Ababa, Bibi Giyose (Senior Food Security and Nutrition Advisor at the Africa Union) facilitated a panel session on the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

SUN is a country-led movement that brings organizations together across sectors to support national plans to scale up nutrition by helping to ensure that financial and technical resources are accessible, coordinated, predictable and ready to go to scale. The SUN movement promotes the implementation of evidenced-based nutrition interventions, as well as integration of nutrition goals into sectors including health, social protection, development and agriculture.

At the center of the movement is national level leadership that coordinates both national and international efforts, with the SUN movement aligning financial and technical support with country plans. Leadership at the national level ensures that priorities and programs are designed and implemented to meet the needs of regions and populations within the country and to enable the scale up of sustainable efforts.

The ‘Thousand Days’ partnership supports the SUN movement by focusing attention on the 1,000 day window of opportunity for impact: Engaging government, civil society, and the private sector in efforts to improve early nutrition; and promoting partnerships across these sectors to achieve a scale change in improving early nutrition.

Juliawati Untoro (UNICEF), Martin Ahimbisibwe (WFP) and Juliette Aphane (FAO) explored ways to integrate nutrition in related sectors, using indicators of under-nutrition as one of the key measures of overall progress.

In her summary, Bibi highlighted 4 main points:

First, the session focused on how to actively promote and scale up nutrition in different countries. In East Africa there are six countries that are committed to scaling up nutrition; they include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. Second, the group looked at how to best improve a multi-sectoral approach for better nutrition and better food security.

Second, looking at how best nutrition can be managed within countries, nutrition coordination has to be at the highest level, nutrition has to be coordinated from ministries, or the offices of the prime minister, or the office of the president because only they have the authority, the mandate and the clout to hold all the other sectors accountable.

Third, we need to build capacity so the various sectors are able to deliver according to their mandates, from the highest levels all the way down to where the action is.
Fourth, it is clear that there need to be sustainability mechanisms built into these programs. Through the SUN movement, the emphasis is on a country-led and country-owned approach. “This means that resources have to be mobilized from within the government so that programs can be started and programs can be sustained, while at the same time agreeing that it is important to work across sectors, to work with the development partners to deliver on the best food and nutrition security.”