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Welcome to the UNSCN website

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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Call for Contributions for the upcoming SCN News 41

SCN NEWS is the peer reviewed publication of the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) that is published yearly with a focus on trending themes every year.The next issue of SCN NEWS will focus on nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda. Nutrition is a considered both a key determinant for and an outcome of development. Thus, as the international community moves forward from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is essential to recognize that malnutrition, in all its forms will represent an impediment to the successful achievement of the SDGs and its targets by 2030.

The SCN NEWS 41 is intended to constructively contribute to the global discussion about the key roles of nutrition in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the potential benefits of realizing the SDGs on nutrition. We welcome contributions from the various sectors, and particularly encourage papers with different perspectives and approaches to the issue (e.g. a human rights lens), and those that support and provide clear guidance to countries and fieldworkers on what can be done in terms of policy and action on the road to 2030. The contributions categories are the following:

Feature articles: 3,000 words articles related to the general topic of the publication. The articles will be submitted to peer review, and can include conceptual contributions or practical examples of policies and programmes.

Programme News: 400 words briefs with information from partners and agencies on programme developments, such as initiatives at regional or national level, NGO programmes, new tools to be used in nutrition programmes, etc. Abstracts of scientific papers are not accepted.

Publications: recent publications of relevance to nutrition, including manuals, tools and guidelines that are usually not found in regular bookstores. Max. 200 words per submission.

Bulletin Board: announcements of upcoming meetings, conferences, trainings, scholarships, etc. Max. 100 words per submission.

Speaker's Corner: 1,500 words articles with the authors' views regarding a particular hot topic in nutrition policy or programme. The section sometimes features a counterpoint by another author holding an opposite opinion to stimulate debate on important issues.

Please click here to find out how you can contribute and what we are looking for.
Deadline for submission of papers: 5 January 2015
Please send your contributions electronically to the SCN News Editor at scn@who.int 

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Global Nutrition Report 2014

The first-ever Global Nutrition Report provides a comprehensive narrative and analysis on the state of the world's nutrition in all its forms. To download, click here.

The Global Nutrition Report convenes existing processes, highlights progress in combating malnutrition, identifies gaps and proposes ways to fill them. At its core, the Report aims to empower nutrition champions at the national level to better inform policy decisions and to strengthen the case for increased resources. The Report also provides civil society organisations (CSOs), donors, governments, the business sector, researchers, the media and engaged citizens with evidence of the current scale of malnutrition, the measures being taken to combat it, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. 

 The Report aims to guide action, build accountability and spark increased commitment for further progress towards reducing malnutrition much faster. 

The inaugural Global Nutrition Report will be launched officially on November 20th, 2014 at the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in Rome, alongside the 2014 Global Hunger Index. The event will showcase the main findings of the Global Nutrition Report and highlight key data on the state of the world's nutrition. During the ICN2 side-event, the Report's findings will be reflected upon by members of government, donor agencies, academia and civil society.

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Benefits and Costs of the Food and Nutrition Targets for the Post-2015 Development Agenda Post-2015 Consensus

In an early release for the upcoming research papers focused on Food Security and Nutrition, Susan Horton, CIGI Chair in Global Health Economics at University of Waterloo, Canada, and John Hoddinott, Professor of Food & Nutrition Economics and Policy at Cornell University present a cost-benefit analysis of nutrition interventions. The outcome document of the Open Working Group calls for the adoption of two WHO nutrition goals on stunting and wasting: Reduce by 40 per cent the number of children under 5 who are stunted, and reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5 per cent.

Ultimately, the paper argues that addressing stunting in children is an ideal target for the post-2015 development agenda. "Stunting is a better goal than underweight. It is an excellent measure of the health, diet and care provided to children during the 1000 days from conception to age two. Although it is not quite as predictive of mortality as underweight, it is much more predictive of economic outcomes (cognitive scores, education and wags). Stunting data need to be complemented with additional information provided about the extremes in weight for height, namely wasting in countries facing short-term crises, and overweight/obesity in all countries, even the low and middle income ones." 

Economic models suggest that the returns to investments in nutrition have high benefit cost ratios, and that this should be a top development priority. A very rough estimate suggests that reducing numbers stunted by 40% by 2030 globally would be a "stretch" goal - optimistic, but possibly achievable with strong effort. A higher target might prove problematic unless trends in Sub-Saharan Africa change. 

For more insight, click here.

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2025 nutrition targets policy briefs

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 WHA global nutrition targets. Hence, 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 policy-makers on what actions should be taken at scale in order to achieve the targets. Recognizing that the six targets are interlinked, the purpose of the briefs is to consolidate the evidence around which interventions and areas of investment need to be scaled-up and guide decision-makers on what actions need to be taken in order to achieve real progress toward improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
The six policy briefs will be followed by an upcoming series on seven issues relative to the implementation and equity considerations; it will be aimed at programme managers and project implementers, but equally interesting for policy-makers who need to maintain a dialogue with the programmers and implementors. Below are the briefs:

 To have more information please click here.   

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The State of Food and Agriculture 2014 is released!

The new released report "The State of Food and Agriculture 2014: Innovation in family farming" analyses family farms and the role of innovation in ensuring global food security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. It argues that family farms must be supported to innovate in ways that promote sustainable intensification of production and improvements in rural livelihoods.

The report states the need for family farms to ensure global food security, to care for and protect the natural environment and to end poverty, undernourishment and malnutrition. Goals can be thoroughly achieved if public policies support family farms to become more productive and sustainable; in other words policies must support family farms to innovate within a system that recognizes their diversity and the complexity of the challenges faced.

For more information contact: esa-publications@fao.org

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2014 Global Hunger Index Launched

The 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report which has just been released on the 13th of October 2014, states that ending hunger in all its forms is possible and that it must now become a reality. 

The report indicates that the overall state of hunger in developing countries has improved since 1990, falling by 39 percent, according to the 2014 GHI. Despite progress made, the level of hunger in the world is still "serious," with 805 million people continuing to go hungry, according to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 

The report brings new insights to the global debate on where to focus efforts in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The global average obscures dramatic differences across regions and countries. Regionally, the highest GHI scores-and therefore the highest hunger levels-are in Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia, which have also experienced the greatest absolute improvements since 2005. South Asia saw the steepest absolute decline in GHI scores since 1990. Progress in addressing child underweight was the main factor behind the improved GHI score for the region since 1990. The report provides more insight on countries' progress and levels of hunger.

The 2014 GHI report reflects on the hidden hunger problem-also called micronutrient deficiencies-. This shortage in essential vitamins and minerals can have long-term, irreversible health effects as well as socioeconomic consequences that can erode a person's well-being and development. The report then offers possible solutions to hidden hunger including: long term food-based approaches: dietary diversification, fortification of commercial foods; and bio fortification. Short term, vitamin and mineral supplements can help vulnerable populations combat hidden hunger. Along with these solutions, behavioural change communication is critical to educate people about health services, sanitation and hygiene, and caring practices, as well as the need for greater empowerment of women at all levels. Moreover, governments must demonstrate political commitment to prioritize the fight against malnutrition. Governments and multilateral institutions need to invest in and develop human and financial resources, increase coordination, and ensure transparent monitoring and evaluation to build capacity on nutrition; governments must also create a regulatory environment that values good nutrition. This could involve creating incentives for private sector companies to develop more nutritious seeds or foods.

Overall, transparent accountability systems are needed in order to ensure that investments contribute to public health, while standardized data collection on micronutrient deficiencies can build the evidence base on the efficacy and cost effectiveness of food-based solutions. These and other recommendations set out in this report are some of the steps needed to eliminate hidden hunger. To start reading, click here. 

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