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Although we had not planned NEX11 to be themed, a common (and recurrent) thread emerges from the country articles: how to achieve effective coordination for nutrition in different contexts, with different stakeholders and through various mechanisms. Clearly, this is an overarching concern of the countries featured, many of whom are part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. It is some years since it was first claimed that malnutrition is "everyone’s business and nobody’s responsibility". We can see from the articles in this issue that a more coordinated response to tackling the problem at all levels - from global to community - is emerging.

Dialogue at the national level can be the starting point to consolidate the position of nutrition in a country’s development agenda. Nowhere is it more critical to work together than in countries facing protracted crisis. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s State of Food Security and Nutrition (2018) report shows that global hunger has risen for the second year in a row; from 804 million people in 2016 to almost 821 million in 2017, with conflict as a key driver in fuelling the increase. There are examples of progress in Somalia, with the recent development of a common results framework for nutrition. This involved bringing key stakeholders from multiple sectors together to create a costed national nutrition plan. Very few positive stories are coming out of Yemen at the moment, but we report on a collaboration between local partners to deliver life-saving treatment services for children in Al-Hodeida governorate.

 The next stage is to cascade higher-level commitments and policies to the level below. Here, countries and governments are seeking examples of successful sub-national implementation of nutrition programmes. In Indonesia efforts to accelerate implementation of the integrated nutrition programme have focused on a type of stunting ‘bootcamp’ to advocate for increased spending on nutrition and related sectors in 160 most disadvantaged districts.

The SUN Movement networks, such as civil society, the UN and business, are a feature of the Movement’s global and country architecture. Establishing and maintaining SUN networks in a crisis-prone context is highlighted in a report on SUN Network mapping from ENN’s 17 countries of focus. This shows what can be achieved, as well as some of the unique challenges these countries can face. 

The SUN country focal point is often the linchpin in the nutrition architecture uniting stakeholders and networks. An interview with Mali’s SUN focal point explores both his role and that of the nutrition coordination cell, established following Mali joining SUN.

In Latin America and the Caribbean (a region with fewer SUN countries than others), nutrition coordination mechanisms could offer an adaptive vehicle for scaling up efforts to tackle all forms of malnutrition, not just nutrition in emergencies. Cross-sector appointments and mechanisms between Kenya’s Ministries of Health and Agriculture, including the creation of an agri-nutrition department in the Ministry of Agriculture and joint technical working groups, signal the government’s efforts to align its activities along multi-sector lines and coordinate more effectively.

In another article from West Africa, interviews with parliamentarians in Chad and Burkina Faso underline the opportunities in engaging the advocacy efforts of this group of actors. It describes how parliamentarians can offer a direct link to communities via engagement with their constituencies, but political cycles and turnover can limit the impact and sustainability of parliamentarian networks. Making progress in nutrition is not a quick political ‘win’, as recognised by long-term initiatives such as the UN’s Decade of Nutrition Action, to which countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Italy have made formal commitments.

Finally, communities lie at the heart of efforts to strengthen and improve the nutrition impact of Kyrgyzstan’s school meals programme. Ultimately, these are the people that all those involved in scaling up nutrition are trying to reach through multi-sector policies and programmes.

Happy reading, and please share your stories with us for Issue 12 of Nutrition Exchange!

Carmel Dolan, Co-editor, NEX

Judith Hodge, Co-editor, NEX

Natalie Sessions, Global KM co-ordinator

Charulatha Banerjee (RKMS Asia)

Ambarka Youssoufane (RKMS West Africa)

Lillian Karanja (RKMS East Africa)



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