Our Rich History

The United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition’s (UNSCN) strategies have been adapted over the years to respond to the ever changing nutrition challenges, while maintaining its focus on increasing accountability and good governance for better nutrition. UNSCN strives to do so by stimulating discourse on emerging issues and assessing the evolving state of play in the global nutrition landscape and the governance arrangements therein.

EVOLUTION

The UNSCN was created in 1977 as the administrative coordinating committee, called ACC Subcommittee on Nutrition, then accountable to the Administrative Committee on Coordination of the UN (ACC), through a UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution.

Historically, there were three core constituencies within UNSCN: UN Agencies, including finance institutions and intergovernmental bodies, bilateral partners and civil society, including research institutions and non-governmental organizations. Since 2016, UNSCN’s membership focuses solely on the UN system but has invited a selection of non-UN organization to join as associate members and observers.

UNSCN is presently member of the Committee on World Food Security Advisory Group since 2010, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases since 2013 and the Sustainable Food Systems Programme of the 10Year Framework (renamed One Planet Network) since 2015.It is also actively engaged with the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), acknowledging that a diverse range of actors is needed to contribute to eradicating malnutrition in all its forms. The UNSCN secretariat has strong links with governments, research agencies, funding agencies and individual donors.

Since its debut, UNSCN has built a strong reputation, representing a powerful and respected voice in the global nutrition arena and serving as the only UN entity with a formal mandate from a UN governing body, focused solely on nutrition.

ACHIEVEMENTS SINCE 2010

  • Support to the implementation of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition to help achieve the Agenda 2030 by highlighting how nutrition is a connecting force between the Sustainable Development Goals and a catalyst to their achievement;
  • Production of the annual World Nutrition Report, which developed into the Global Nutrition Report;
  • Support to the development and early operations of the SUN Movement;
  • Promotion ofconsistent and accountable delivery at country-level through the release of guidance notes and with synergistic cooperation with the UN Network for SUN;
  • Fostering of interactions between the sectors and actors that impact nutrition at the global level, including by building bridges between the various on-going UN Decades;
  • Coordination and production of many publications and activities to promote research and improvements on nutrition; and
  • At the request of the communities it served, UNSCN also established time-bound communities of practice to advance the analysis and discussion of key nutrition topics.

Throughout its history, UNSCN has coordinated and sponsored many activities: the International Workshop on Nutritional Surveillance in 1981 and the International Conference on Iron Deficiency and Behavioral Development in 1989 are just two primary examples of the intense and supportive role that the nowadays-called UNSCN has played in promoting research and improvements on nutrition over the years. Not surprisingly, the core of UNSCN’s key-activities stems from its informative soul, which has triggered the issue of various publications so far. Most notably, in 1985, the series of Nutrition Policy Papers (NPP) started, followed by the Reports on the World Nutrition Situation (RWNS) in 1987. The RWNS were defined as a leading source of reports, trends, and statistics in the context of world nutrition situation. Later on, UNSCN began the issuance of SCN News, newly renamed UNSCN Nutrition. This periodic has published peer reviewed papers annually since 1988. Then, in 1993, UNSCN brought out the Refugee Nutrition Information System (RNIS), a quarterly report including nutritional information and situation analysis on emergency-affected populations, which became the Nutrition Information in Crisis Situations (NICS) in 2004.

To learn more about UNSCN’s work prior to 2010, visit the Archives section.