Twenty-Eight Session of the Standing Committee on Nutrition
SCN Working Group on Capacity Development in Food and Nutritionheld during the ACC/SCN's 28th Session in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday 4 April 2001
Chair: Cutberto Garza, UNU Co-Chair: Barbara Underwood, IUNS Rapporteur: Fre Pepping, UNU
Follow-up on last year's recommendations
Progress over the one-year existence of the Working Group was reviewed. Based on recommendations of the 27th Session (Washington DC, 2000), focus was placed in capacity building/development efforts in Africa. Africa faces many challenges with 47.3 million preschool children stunted. More than 50% of deaths are related to undernutrition. The nutrition situation in many parts of the continent is deteriorating in part due to the economic downturn, HIV/AIDS, reduced public sector spending, as well as limited capacity to plan and implement effective programmes.
Three workshops corresponding to the three geographic areas (Southern, Eastern and Western-Central) and a wrap-up meeting were held since the 27th Session, with UNU and IUNS as facilitators and with the participation of other SCN members (World Bank, UNICEF, FAO, WHO, IAEA, and WFP). The results of these workshops were pr esented. These workshops addressed the development of learning cooperatives, mechanisms for effective intra- and inter-regional cooperation, and medium and advanced training needs. Action plans were generated through intensive consultation and were driven by African professionals. Common aspects of these action plans are goals and key elements:
Their goals are to:
- Inspire African leadership in nutrition to meet the challenges of combating malnutrition in a sustainable manner
- Drive national-level nutrition agendas
- Mobilize support for the sub-regional action plans and cooperation of stakeholders.
Key elements are:
- A long-term intensive consultation process
- Mobilization of African expertise
- Sub-regional exchanges
- Enhancing programme implementation and effectiveness
- Effective use of available resources and best practices: learning from each other
- Promotion of institutional development where African professionals can thrive
- Upgrade capacity of deal with new problems
- Increase the relevance of nutrition in the development agenda
Other common aspects of the action plans include:
- Improve capacity for advocacy at all levels
- Implement client focused training and action-oriented research
- Harmonize solutions to common problems, promote use of information technology for learning and networking
- Inclusive towards all other initiatives that share the goals, linkages with other groups
- Promote exchange between regions.
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Recommendations for the coming year
1. Continue to implement the sub-regional action plans as presented. Integrate other efforts which are consistent with the overall vision of the African Capacity Development Initiative, such as the IT and the West African Health Organization (WAHO) Initiatives. Other similar efforts should include the UNICEF/IFPRI proposed project. SCN member organizations should use the Working Group as a means to combine efforts and maximize potential impact. The working group encourages SCN members, bilaterals and NGOs to support the African Initiative. This is consistent with the need for harmonization of actions at the national and regional level.
The Working Group acknowledged the pledge made by the Rector of the United Nations University. Other agencies (WFP, IAEA) were urged to contribute to the implementation of the action plans. Resource allocation by SCN members should prioritize capacity building in Africa.
2. The Working Group recommends that the Abraham Horwitz Scholar Program initially proposed for Latin America be expanded to other regions after evaluation of the response generated and available funding.
Similar approaches of regionally driven processes to enhance national and regional capacity to solve food and nutrition problems in other regions of the world are intended to be advanced by the Working Group.
Interim follow-up of progress in resource mobilization for the African Capacity Development Initiative will be reported at the Africa Focus Symposium at the Congress on Nutrition in Vienna (August 2001).
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