A whole-of-society approach helps create an “enabling environment” to improve nutrition, according to David Nabarro, coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

Reflecting on a series of significant nutrition events in June, including the Nutrition for Growth event in London and the inaugural SUN Civil Society Network meeting, Nabarro noted the importance of “strong commitments and follow-up by national leaders” in improving nutrition. These events saw the participation of several SUN countries as well as world leaders from governments and civil society, business and the science community.

Nabarro commented that these events reinforced the commitment of global leaders, civil society and the private sector to the SUN Movement.

The SUN Movement, launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010, is a unique initiative that brings together the public and private sectors to put nutrition in all developmental efforts. It looks to implement both specific nutrition interventions, and nutrition-sensitive approaches such as the fortification of foods and making nutritious food more accessible to everyone.

Today, eight of the 41 countries participating in the Movement are in Asia and work is already underway in these countries to ensure a wide range of stakeholders are focused on local nutrition issues. For example, in Sri Lanka a multi-sectoral National Steering Committee for Nutrition has been formed by the Sri Lankan president to look into the nutrition issue.

While in Indonesia, the ‘First 1,000 Days of Life Movement’ brings together government and development partners, non-governmental organisations, professional associations and the business community to look specifically at interventions on maternal and infant nutrition.

Over the next half of the year, Nabarro emphasised that the Movement will continue to work collectively “across sectors and continents” to pursue joint efforts that will result in “better nutrition, communicating successes, encouraging others and demonstrating results”.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, agreed the SUN initiative is an excellent example of what can be achieved when intergovernmental organisations team up with each other and forge proactive partnerships with the private sector and civil society. “This is a global role model for effective public-private partnership and it’s encouraging to see an increasing number of initiatives where the public sector is working hand-in-hand with the food and beverage industry to address complex health challenges in Asia.

“Policy makers, industry and communities are recognising that the growing ‘dual burden’ of over and under-nutrition cannot be solved by one group alone. Nutrition is a complex issue and requires a proactive, responsible, multi-stakeholder response.”

“I look forward to seeing how we can listen to all stakeholders in this important debate and continually apply the learnings from successful programmes like SUN to scale up our own work with the food and beverage industry and other partners in Asia.”

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