A reflection on the 2017 SUN Global Gathering

Presentation at the SUN Global Gathering

Last week, Abidjan hosted the 2017 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering to highlight the nutrition progress and challenges experienced by SUN countries in 2017. A look back at the year found that progress has indeed been made; in 2012, 165 million children were at risk of stunting, declining to 155 million in 2017. Additionally, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Mauritania reported that the number of stunted children in their countries had decreased.


Plans for the coming year were also a key focus for attendees such as SUN Government Focal Points and their partners from civil society, United Nation agencies, private sector partners, academia and governments. Attendees discussed the current state of nutrition and shared innovations, solutions and tools to improve nutrition globally.

Since 2010, the SUN Movement has worked collaboratively with a number of stakeholders, across a number of sectors, to end malnutrition. SUN is a country-led movement, uniting people from 2,000 organisations in 39 countries to strengthen advocacy, raise awareness and build political will to improve global nutrition.


Gerda Verberg meets with Afghanistan delegation

Integrated approaches to nutrition

A recurring theme at the gathering was the importance of an intersectional approach to nutrition. SUN has created alliances between nutrition, women’s empowerment, sustainable food systems, healthcare, education, and water and sanitation to ensure nutritional progress drives forward other key development issues.

SUN champions this approach through their own country programmes; 24 SUN countries have implemented a 14-week fully-paid maternity leave and 45 SUN countries have put in place legal measures relating to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes; both of which are a step forward when it comes to gender and nutrition.


Infographic on nutrition and other SDGs

The Importance of data collection

Currently, 37 SUN countries document national nutritional activities across sectors through a common results framework (CRF). Similarly, SUN is developing the Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) system, which uses globally agreed indicators to monitor progress.

Find out more about Global Gathering outcomes and plans.


Useful Resources Shared 

Can be found at the 2017 SUN Global Gathering Knowledge Management (KM) and Technical Assistance (TA) resource page.

The collection was prepared by nutrition KM and TA providers. The resources support 2017 SUN GG attendees as well as the broader international community working on nutrition policy and programs. Here is a summary of a few of the resources in this link.

  • Field Exchange’s Special Focus on Nutrition-Sensitive Programming by Emergency Nutrition Network. This issue acts as a snapshot of field experiences and relevant peer-reviewed research to provide an idea of current knowledge and action for nutrition-sensitive programming. While not representative of all current nutrition-sensitive programmes, it gives an idea of some of the initiatives addressing the underlying determinants of malnutrition.
  • Wash Nutrition: A practical guidebook on increasing nutritional impact through integration of WASH and Nutrition programme by Action Against Hunger discusses the link between poor WASH conditions and malnutrition. Poor care practices and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) related diseases are two of the main causes of undernutrition. The report provides examples of interventions that improve WASH and nutrition from household to national level.
  • Food Systems and Diets: Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century by Global Panel discusses the challenges decision-makers face when attempting to integrate nutrition into food systems and agricultural policies, and addresses how to approach these challenges so that policies can result in healthy, safe and nutritious diets. Some of the raised action points include:
    • The need for global stakeholders to prioritise nutritional progress
    • The role of the international community in facilitating healthy diets for all
    • Cross-sector work between governments and the private sector to align individual food systems with healthy diets and improved nutrition.
  • Diet Dimensions: A Case Study on Sustainable Diets Policy Game by Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy has developed a live social game that highlights key issues around sustainable food systems with the aim of bringing together people from differing disciplines (agriculture, environmental science, nutrition, food environments research etc.) to brainstorm projects and policies to improve food system sustainability.