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UNSCN is the food and nutrition policy harmonization forum of the United Nations.

The mandate of the UNSCN is to promote cooperation among UN agencies and partner organizations in support of community, national, regional, and international efforts to end malnutrition in all of its forms in this generation. It will do this by refining the direction, increasing the scale and strengthening the coherence and impact of actions against malnutrition world wide, and raise awareness of nutrition problems and mobilize commitment to solve them at global, regional and national levels. Read more

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2025 nutrition targets policy briefs: stakeholders’ input. Deadline: 8 October 2014

Countries are facing complex overlays of connected malnutrition burdens that need concentrated action at the policy, health system and community levels. The World Health Assembly (WHA) universally agreed in 2012 to endorse a set of six global nutrition targets for improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition by 2025, specifically to: 

• Reduce by 40 percent the number of children under 5 who are stunted;
• Achieve a 50 percent reduction in the rate of anemia in women of reproductive age;
• Achieve a 30 percent reduction in the rate of infants born low birth weight;
• Ensure that there is no increase in the rate of children who are overweight;
• Increase to at least 50 percent the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months; and
• Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5 percent. 

Currently, the world is off track to meet all six of the WHA global nutrition targets. Hence and as part of its efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a series of six policy briefs linked to each of the global targets that can guide national and local policymakers on what actions should be taken at scale in order to achieve the targets. In developing the first draft of the briefs a wide range of practitioners and technical experts were consulted. However, for the briefs to be most effective a wide range of potential users must also feel they reflect their own current realities and challenges. Therefore, WHO wants to hear from more potential users of the policy briefs. It is your chance now to download the policy briefs and provide comments: 

 1. Stunting
2. Anaemia
3. Low birth weight - to be added shortly
4. Overweight
5. Breastfeeding
6. Wasting

In addition to general comments on the briefs, WHO would particularly like to know: 

• How can these policy briefs be made useful and the actions recommended adopted at country and community levels to achieve all six of the WHA nutrition targets?
• Do the policy briefs provide sufficient guidance to accelerate progress on the six WHA nutrition targets?
• What additional policy actions would you like to see included? Which policy actions are most important to achieve the WHA nutrition targets?
• Are the links between all six global targets clear and presented in a manner that will be easy to understand by policymakers and advocates?
• Are the policy actions presented in a consistent manner across all six briefs? 

 Please take some time to read all six briefs and submit comments no later than 8 October 2014 to:

 To have more information please click here.   

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The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) released 16th September 2014

A new UN report, the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) released today, raises hope that reaching the MDG target to halving the proportion of world's hungry is still within reach by the end of 2015; 63 developing countries have reached the MDG target, and six more are on track to reach it by 2015.

The report assured a positive trend in the decline of the number of hungry people globally by more than 100 million over the last decade and by more than 200 million since 1990-92. However, 805 million are still chronically undernourished. 

 With the number of undernourished people remaining "unacceptably high", the heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP stressed the need to renew the political commitment to tackle hunger and to transform it into concrete actions. In this context, they welcomed the pledge at the 2014 African Union summit in June to end hunger on the continent by 2025. 

The report will be discussed by governments, civil society, and private sector representatives at the 13-18 October meeting of the Committee on World Food Security, at FAO headquarters in Rome, and will be highlighted during the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome from 19-21 November, which FAO is jointly organizing with the World Health Organization. For more information and to download the report, click here.  

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The State of the World’s Children 2014

UNICEF just released their flagship report, The State of the World's Children 2014 in Numbers. The report titled, Every Child Counts: Revealing disparities, advancing children's rights highlights the importance of data in making progress for children and exposing the unequal access to services and protections that mars the lives of so many.

The statistics in the report bear witness to ongoing violations of children's rights. It adds that innovations in data collection, analysis and dissemination are making it possible to disaggregate data by such factors as location, wealth, sex, and ethnic or disability status, to include children who have been excluded or overlooked by broad averages. The report urges increased investment in innovations that right the wrong of exclusion.

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Briefing Paper: Impact of climate change on hunger and under-nutrition

Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has recently released a briefing paper on the impact of climate change on hunger and under-nutrition. Even in the most optimistic global warming scenario, the effects of climate change on under-nutrition would be devastating, and would undermine current efforts to reduce hunger and ensure good nutrition. Despite the obvious critical situation and strong interconnection, food and nutrition security is still markedly absent in climate change negotiations. 

ACF calls on climate negotiators, governments and donors to focus their attention on the consequences of climate change on under-nutrition, and commit urgently to help the most vulnerable to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable climate and world. Bold and immediate actions are required to address the causes of climate change and the adverse consequences of climate change on hunger and under-nutrition should be recognized when sealing a crucial international agreement.

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New guidelines for treating severe acute child malnutrition, 2013

19 million children younger than 5 years had severe acute malnutrition (SAM) worldwide in 2011, most of whom lived in Africa and southeast Asia. Furthermore, more than 7% of all deaths in this age group were attributable to this disorder. These shocking numbers-calculated as part of the 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition highlight how seriously the global problem of SAM should be taken.

World Health Organization (WHO) has just released new treatment guidelines for severe acute malnutrition in children under-five. Almost 20 million children worldwide have severe acute malnutrition and are considered as the most vulnerable population.

"The guidelines are critical because many national health plans currently overlook children with severe acute malnutrition. This can be fatal. If these children don't get the right medical and nutritional care, very often they die," says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

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New Policy Brief: Food, Diet, Nutrition and Non-Communicable Diseases

The World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) and the NCD Alliance have launched their new policy brief: Food, Diet, Nutrition and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The brief sets out the key reasons why NCDs should be considered in policies to address global nutritional challenges. It summarises the state-of-the-art-science on the connections between nutrition and NCDs and provides recommendations for priority actions by international agencies, governments, donors and research funders, civil society and researchers.

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Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies

This technical background paper and Report of the Round Table at the European Community Humanitarian Office (DG ECHO) in Brussels on 12 November 2013, summarises current evidence, on what is required to support maternal nutrition in general and where the gaps in knowledge are in addressing maternal undernutrition in emergencies. 

The paper focuses on support for maternal nutrition in its own right (an area that appears to be neglected in current policy and programming), as well as for the objective of improved infant and child survival, growth and development. The paper takes the approach that improving nutritional status can be achieved in a number of ways, not all of which require a change in consumption, and therefore it attempts to review a broad set of nutrition, health and other sector interventions.

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The prevention of obesity and NCDs: challenges and opportunities for governments

The International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) has recently published a 10-point action plan for governments to tackle obesity. The IASO Policy Briefing comes at a time when there is increasing need to tackle the rising levels of obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in virtually all countries of the world.

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Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012

Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012  - Desk Review of Literature
By Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid, Heather Stobaugh, Jeeyon Janet Kim, Jacqueline Lauer, Eliza Paul

On July 20, 2011, the UN declared a famine in South Central Somalia, which killed some 260,000 people (Checchi and Robinson 2013). Though Somalia was the worst affected country, the crisis was region-wide in its impact.  This Desk Review covers the contents of some 180 documents on the crisis that were reviewed in detail, out of a total of over 500 documents initially screened. These include reports, evaluations, assessments, and in some cases, peer-reviewed journal articles and books. Topics covered in the Review include: the history and political economy of aid; political constraints, access and humanitarian space; early warning and response; the impact of the famine; the humanitarian response; community and diaspora responses; emerging or non-traditional humanitarian actors; the role of Al-Shabaab and the post-crisis policy agenda and resilience. The weighting of this review is generally towards Somalia, given the severity of the crisis there, and the overall level of funding for the response. The available litera­ture is much more substantial for Somalia than for the Somali National Regional State (SNRS) in Ethiopia or for Northeastern Kenya. This Review is one output from a study enti­tled, "Lessons Learned from the 2011-2012 Horn Of Africa Crisis," funded in part by the Bill & Me­linda Gates Foundation and in part by the USAID Office of Foreign Assistance (OFDA).

To read the report, click here.

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