UNSCN Turns 40
2017 marks UNSCN’s 40th anniversary. This journey started in April 1977 when the Sub-Committee on Nutrition (SCN) was established by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Throughout its history, UNSCN has coordinated and sponsored many activities to promote research and improvements on nutrition. The International Workshop on Nutritional Surveillance (1981) and the International Conference on Iron Deficiency and Behavioral Development (1989) are two primary examples. Activities such as these triggered various publications, most notably the series of Nutrition Policy Papers (NPP) from 1985, and shortly after with the Reports on the World Nutrition Situation (RWNS) from 1987, which served as a leading source of reports, trends, and statistics in the context of world nutrition situation. In 1988, UNSCN began producing the peer reviewed periodical UN SCN News, its flagship publication. By 1993, UNSCN had also developed the Refugee Nutrition Information System (RNIS), a quarterly report that featured nutritional information and situation analysis on emergency-affected populations, which became the Nutrition Information in Crisis Situations (NICS) in 2004. 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. This evolution took place under the guidance of the (to date) twelve Chairs and six Technical Secretaries that have dedicated their knowledge and expertise to build and maintain a rich and secure platform for the UN system agencies and non-UN organizations.
In 2016, UNSCN adopted a new Strategic Plan for the period 2016-2020, coinciding with the first five years of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. It also commissioned a paper on Global Governance for Nutrition to enable the wider nutrition community to better understand the role of UNSCN in the significantly evolved nutrition landscape. A second paper has since been produced making the link between the global targets, the actions and the relevant actors working on nutrition to help provide clarity and streamline efforts. This paper will become available on the UNSCN website with the coming month. It has been decided by CFS stakeholders that two UNSCN papers developed in 2016 - Investment for Healthy Food Systems and Impact Assessment of Policies to Support Healthy Food Environments and Healthy Diets – will serve as the foundation document for the upcoming CFS OEWG on Nutrition intersectional meetings (9 May and 26 May 2017) held at FAO HQ.
As we enter a new chapter, UNSCN remains committed to serving as a unique and well-established UN platform for knowledge sharing and coordination of the collective work carried out in the field of nutrition.