KATHMANDU, Nov 6: Kathmandu, the first country to host the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in South Asia, welcomed delegates from 73 countries across the world on Monday.
Nepal is hosting high-level representatives and around 1000 participants from governments, development partners, academia, the United Nations, civil society bodies, donors and business communities over the next three days in the SUN gathering. The meeting is expected to examine progress and identify the actions and commitments required to drive faster results in countries fighting malnutrition-related crises.
Since the launch of SUN movement in 2010 by the UN Secretary-General, the prevalence of stunting among children below five years has decreased globally from 171 million in 2010 to 149 million in 2018. Nepal has set a target to reduce the rate of malnutrition to 24% by 2025 and 14 % by 2030.
Vice president of Cote D' Ivore Daniel Kablan Duncan, Executive Director of UNICEF and chair of the lead group of SUN movement Henrietta H Fore and Coordinator of Scaling up Nutrition Gerda Verburg attended the press conference along with National Planning Commission Vice Chairperson Dr Pushpa Raj Kadel and member Dr Usha Jha on Tuesday where each speaker briefed the theme of SUN Gathering 2019.
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the SUN movement Gerda Verburg said good nutrition is at the heart of economic and social development of the nations and is the key to eliminating poverty as well.
“Nutrition guarantees the future of our children, our future workforce and our economies. Nutrition drives the achieving of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), averting malnutrition will help achieve all 17 SDGs,” he said. “I am pleased to say that the SUN movement has the growing momentum to defeat the malnutrition challenge: 61 member countries, 4 states of India, over 3000 civil society organizations, 600 small, medium, large enterprises, 5 UN agencies and a coalition of international donors and foundations.”
Similarly, Vice President of Republic of Cote D'Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan expressed his thoughts on malnourishment explaining the need of dietary food in children's diet giving the example of Cote D'Ivoire.
Executive Director of UNICEF and chair of Lead group of the SUN movement Henrietta H. Fore said they gathered in Kathmandu because they believed in shaping the world where every child's right to adequate food and nutrition is protected and fulfilled, and where good nutrition provided the building blocks of healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy futures and a healthy planet. “We can all contribute, especially during the unparalleled windows of opportunity- the crucial first 1000 days of life during adolescence,” she said.
NPC member Jha said that the issue of malnourishment cannot be solved without the involvement of people and private stakeholders. “Engagement and Investment are the plans chief factors of the plans formulated by planning commissions to deal with the current situation of malnutrition in Nepal,” she said. “There is an important role of private stakeholders to minimize malnourishment in the nation since there is a large takeover of private enterprise in compared to public if we look into the market dominance in Nepal.”
The SUN gathering is expected to be a key opportunity to announce commitments in tackling challenge posed by malnutrition, looking forward the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) summit, to be held in December 2020.