Let’s make sure a world with no malnutrition is still within reach together

Dear SUN members and partners,

It is my great pleasure to share some thoughts with you at this important but difficult time.

I am proud to be part of a Movement that has done so much over the last years to improve people’s lives. Millions less children are stunted and wasted because of our efforts. If we can meet global nutrition targets 65 million fewer children will be stunted in 2025 compared to 2015.

For me the Movement approach continues to be fundamental to our success. It’s a real game changer. We must never forget how innovative and empowering our country-driven approach is. We must build on it, as only through collaboration, inspiring each other and sharing and learning, will we be able to make the progress needed

Gerda Verburg | English

SUN Coordinator launches the 2020 SUN Movement progress portal and report

Gerda Verburg | Français

SUN Coordinator launches the 2020 SUN Movement progress portal and report

Gerda Verburg | Español

SUN Coordinator launches the 2020 SUN Movement progress portal and report

Nutrition is a game changer. Its central to the Sustainable Development Goals and without increased investment in nutrition we will not achieve them.

Gerda Verburg
Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

Sound nutrition is the investment needed to provide the best chance for us all in life, not just physically but cognitively. Nutrition is not a standalone issue. It is part of, and interlinked with, so many parts of our lives – human and planetary health, economics, and conflict and much more.

Nutrition is a game changer. Its central to the Sustainable Development Goals and without increased investment in nutrition we will not achieve them. The harsh reality is we need USD 7 billion per year above current levels to achieve the global targets for stunting, anaemia, and breastfeeding, and scaling up treatment of severe wasting among children.

We need an enormous step change in behaviour and financing. Nutrition still falls between the gaps in the minds of many decision makers. We need to change that.

We have a new SUN strategy for 2021 to 2025 which can inspire us to further catalyse nutrition impact in countries. The next months will see us all putting it into practice. We have always prioritised the leadership of countries and this will be further accelerated, with us all getting behind their priorities in a more effective and joined up way.

The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that a SUN Movement approach is needed to keep nutrition on the global and local agenda , to link health systems, food systems and social protection to work for nutrition, to prioritise evidence-informed actions and make the case for investing in nutrition. Children, women, girls and gender equality, must be at the core of all actions. Youth must be enabled to step up on nutrition. I would like to see young people stepping up for investing in people’s nutrition as they do for investing in our planet.

Understanding and fighting all forms of malnutrition is vital. Many of the root causes are similar. We need to share, and learn from, our experiences including in dealing with crises like COVID-19, and, to be clear, such crises could easily reverse all the gains we have made. Nutrition must be an essential pillar of crisis preparedness and emergency packages and to build forward better for people and communities.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to be learnt from COVID19 is that we need better systems in place to help build forward better from a country and community perspective. The pandemic will affect us for many years to come and history shows we can expect more crises. We must be prepared. People want global leaders to put forward, and consult widely and act properly on, concrete action to protect us and our planet.

It is crucial to advocate for putting nutrition at the centre of investments for recovery and prosperity. All of us – policy advisors, decision makers and leaders need to get the distinction between food security and nutrition right. Calories are not enough. Only investment in sound nutrition can produce healthy, smart, productive, and happy people.

It is always the most disadvantaged that suffer most in a time of crisis. As we struggle to deal with the impacts on our loved ones, communities, and nations, let us face facts. This is a crisis on top of a crisis in many parts of the world – a crisis that puts those living in already fragile conditions, including the 1.6 billion who work in the informal economy, in a particularly precarious position. Millions of women, men and their families survive from day to day, and the pandemic has hit them very hard.

In this third phase of the SUN Movement, we all need to ‘build back’ but also forward better, not just from COVID but in general. Eliminating hunger and fighting malnutrition requires a multifaceted and collaborative response from numerous stakeholders across sectors to get policies and systems right.

This is the very purpose of the SUN Movement. We have much to build on, not least the Nobel Prize received by the World Food Programme, a global recognition of the food and nutrition as essential to global peace and stability.

The next phase of SUN will be judged a success if members across our Movement can demonstrate that their individual and collective effort contributes clearly to an acceleration in nutrition results at the national and subnational levels. If global players are serious about supporting a country owned and driven approach, we have to be honest about what that means. It means alignment behind country priorities and a willingness to streamline and not using different sets of tools and data which can confuse and make it more difficult to measure and articulate progress.

We need to change how we work at every level with a special focus on strengthening health systems, food systems and social protection systems and making them nutrition sensitive.

The strategy should be the springboard by which nutrition is stronger elevated as a multisectoral political priority, a main driver of food system transformations, a prevention in health, economic development, and a prerequisite to achieve all SDGs.

To do so we must use events over the next year such as Nutrition for Growth and the Food Systems Summit to contribute to elevate nutrition as a political priority at global, regional and national level and contribute to renewed alignment and commitment of national nutrition stakeholders.

We also need to engage effectively at events like the G7, G20, COP 26 and the World Health Assembly. For example, food systems, nature-based systems and rural transition are all high up the agenda for COP 26. Let us make the linkages.
As we have started implementing of the strategy, we must ensure that every step supports countries to improve nutrition impact. We have much to build on and I know that all members, including the Global Support System are ready for the next challenge.

As SUN Movement Coordinator, I see tremendous challenges going forward, which we can transform into opportunities. Our SUN Movement is exceptional. It brings us all together in a way that otherwise would not be possible.

Gerda Verburg
Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

We are bigger and better than our constituent parts. We have tremendous Focal Point and in-country platforms and networks, colleagues, champions and leaders with the ability and influence to drive systemic change in their networks and institutions to support progress at the country level.

I look forward to working with you all on delivering our strategy to make our vision – a world without hunger and malnutrition – a reality.

Gerda Verburg
Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement