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Summary of Global Nutrition Cluster meeting

By the Global Nutrition Cluster Coordination Team

The Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC), under the umbrella of the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC), is committed to fulfilling three areas of responsibility which are standards and policy setting, support to surge capacity, and operational support. Key to fulfilling these responsibilities is sharing information and engaging partners in order to enhance the capacity to respond to nutrition in emergencies. Since 2006, the GNC has undertaken face-to-face meetings to review cluster progress and collaboratively identify priorities for the following year.

The fifth annual meeting of the GNC took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 23 to 25 March, 2011. The meeting brought together 66 participants and resource persons from 39 partner agencies, in addition to nine country cluster coordinators (from Somalia, North Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Niger, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Chad). The participants included independent resource persons as well as representatives from United Nations (UN) organizations (FAO, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, SCN/WHO), government (CDC), international non-governmental organisations and partnerships (ACF France and Canada, CARE, Concern, ENN, Helen Keller International, IMC, NutritionWorks, ICRC, Merlin, MSF Holland, Save the Children UK and US, Valid International, World Vision International), academic institutions (Institute of Child Health-University College London), donors (ECHO, DFID) and independent cluster members.

The objectives of the meeting were to review cluster achievements since the last GNC meeting (July 2010), review the strategic priorities and structural issues of the GNC, share technical updates, strengthen linkages between country, regional and global level in defining priorities and revise the annual GNC work-plan.

Day 1 of the meeting broadly reviewed the current status of GNC activities and working documents (the GNC Coordination Team (GNC CT) work plan, budget, GNC Strategic Framework, and GNC Standard Operating Procedures). This was followed by presentations of achievements and challenges from the field in recent emergencies and concluded with a review of the content and the proposed development process of the Nutrition Cluster Handbook.

Key points emerging were:

Day 2 provided brief updates on technical issues in NiE and technical bodies that are leading developments in these areas. This included Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies and the work of the IFE Core Group, the work of the Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) ad hoc Group and results of the CMAM mapping, decisionmaking trees for nutritional products used in the Management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM), and supplies used in nutrition emergencies. These presentations were followed by discussions around strategic partnerships with complementary initiatives for NiE (the Food Security Cluster (FSC), Health and Nutrition Tracking Service (HNTS), and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement) in order to define more clearly working relationships between the GNC and these initiatives. The afternoon focused on key issues in nutrition cluster coordination structures in the context of scale and timeframe of emergency and humanitarian financing.

Key points emerging were:

Day 3 began with an update from UNSCN, followed by group work to develop components of the GNC work plan. Broad outlines of the work plans were presented by each of the Working Groups and ad hoc Groups, while NCCs that did not make formal presentations shared their priority areas for action. The meeting ended with defining the broad way forward.

Key points emerging were:

Four broad steps were outlined in the way forward, beginning with documentation and dissemination of the meeting discussions. Second, the initial outlines of the work plans will be more fully developed by the GNC CT and chairs of the working groups and ad hoc groups. Third, a fundraising strategy will be developed between the GNC CT and chairs of the working groups and ad hoc groups in order to ensure that resources are available at the right time and in the right form so that the activities can be accomplished. Finally, the GNC CT will review and strengthen activities to support moving forward with the funded activities.

Full documentation of the meeting, including the meeting report, agenda, participants and presentations can be found at: http://oneresponse.info/GlobalClusters/Nutrition/Pages/Global%20Cluster%20Meetings.aspx

Show footnotes

1See summary of the CMAM Mapping in this issue of Field Exchange

2Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group

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Global Nutrition Cluster Coordination Team (2011). Summary of Global Nutrition Cluster meeting. Field Exchange 41, August 2011. p41. www.ennonline.net/fex/41/summary

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