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SUN Experiences: Lessons from Pakistan

Muhammad Aslam Shaheen is SUN Focal Point in Pakistan.

Dr. Ali Ahmad Khan is Programme Officer for the SUN Secretariat, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Pakistan.

Background

In Pakistan, the nutritional status of children under five years of age is extremely poor. At a national level almost 40% are underweight. Over half the children are affected by stunting and about 9% by wasting. There are significant provincial variations in these rates in Pakistan and the prevalence of stunting appears to be associated with the overall level of development of the provinces, being lowest in Punjab and highest in Balochistan Province.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan joined the SUN Movement in April 2013. The Chief of Nutrition is the SUN Focal Point and deals with technical and operational matters related to the Movement. His efforts are in line with the Pakistan Vision 2025 and guidance is provided by the Members, Secretary and Minister for the Ministry of Planning Development and Reform. The SUN Movement in Pakistan is currently working under the direction of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the government body that regulates almost all programmes and proposals related to federal and provincial departments. A SUN Core Group (or National Nutrition Committee) (NNC) has been formed which is the equivalent to the SUN multistakeholder platform and consists of 15 key members of development partners and ministries who steer the process forward in the country. In addition, six specific networks (Government, UN, Donor, Civil Society Alliance, Business Network and Academia and Research) have been formed for streamlined efforts to scale up nutrition in the country.

SUN Focal Points have been appointed in four devolved provinces to coordinate their efforts for scaling up nutrition as, since devolution, every province is autonomous in planning and setting its priorities. After joining the SUN Movement, nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programme budget analysis was performed for the first time. Results were presented in the SUN Movement Financial Tracking Workshop held in Asia in early 2015. For 2015-16, there is specific budget allocation for Nutrition and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an additional tranche of funding.

The added value of the SUN Movement in Pakistan is the increased coordination between the donors, UN agencies and other development partners with government. Government’s ability to scale up nutrition in the country is increased and 2015-16 is the first year that there has been direct allocations of funds by government for nutrition specific and nutrition-sensitive programming.

The authors conclude that Pakistan has made significant strides towards scaling up nutrition in Pakistan: nutrition is seen as a multi-sector challenge and efforts have been made to involve all relevant sectors. The aim has been to plan multi-sectorally but to implement sectorally, then evaluate multi-sectorally. It is too early to say if and how this multisector approach is working as the process is slow and requires patience and teamwork from all stakeholders. Continued advocacy and monitoring and evaluations will be required to ensure that these efforts are productive.

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Reference this page

Muhammad Aslam Shaheen and Dr. Ali Ahmad Khan (2016). SUN Experiences: Lessons from Pakistan. Nutrition Exchange 6, May 2016. p34. www.ennonline.net/nex/6/sunpakistan

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