About UN Nutrition

UN Nutrition is a UN inter-agency coordination and collaboration mechanism for nutrition at the global and country levels. 

The burden of malnutrition in the world remains inadmissibly high. While there has been progress on tackling undernutrition, overweight and obesity, it has been inconsistent and slow. The world is off course to meet the nutrition targets it has set for itself. At the current pace, hunger, undernutrition, overweight and obesity will continue to burden all countries and hinder social and economic development in the post 2030 world. An acceleration of progress is needed to accomplish the Agenda 2030 vision of ending hunger and malnutrition in the world, leaving no one behind. 

UN Nutrition will work to overcome fragmentation, increase harmonization on nutrition and provide coordinated and aligned support to governments for greater impact for children, women and people everywhere.

Through UN Nutrition, UN agencies, programmes and funds leverage their collective strengths, build synergies, increase efficiencies and complementarities, and ultimately support governments and partners to deliver results on nutrition objectives and targets at all levels, from national to sub-national.

Creating a single entity

The merger of the UN Network for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) to form UN Nutrition was formally announced at the ECOSOC Management Segment in July 2020. The merger is in line with the ambitions set out by the UN Reform and with Recommendation 7 of the ICN2 Framework for Action.

The UNSCN was established by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1977 to spearhead global nutrition policy coherence and UN coordination. The UN Network for SUN was established by the Principals of FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO in 2013, in support of the SUN Movement and took the lead in driving efforts on nutrition at the country level. 

By harnessing the complementary nature of the two entities, UN Nutrition responds to the changing global and country-level nutrition landscape to increase efficiencies for more integrated and streamlined efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms. 

Membership is open to all UN entities aiming to mainstream nutrition to enhance their mandates.

The UN Nutrition Secretariat is operational from 1 January 2021, and supersedes the UNSCN and the UN Network for SUN Secretariats. 

An exciting new UN Nutrition website will become operational in 2021.

  • Letter by the Chair of UN Nutrition, Dr Naoko Yamamoto
  • Letter for partners by A. Abdulla, ad interim Chair of UN Nutrition in 2020
  • Letter on the establishment of UN Nutrition by the UN Secretary General

  • Letter by the Executive Heads of FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO

"2021 will be a monumental year for nutrition. The formation of UN Nutrition reflects United Nations agencies' readiness to maximize the opportunities presented and work together to end all forms of malnutrition. As UN Nutrition we will speak with one, united voice on nutrition and harness the momentum of UNSCN and UNN to improve policy coherence and impact at both the global and country level.”
Naoko Yamamoto
Dr. Naoko Yamamoto
Chair of UN Nutrition

UN Nutrition Functions

UN Nutrition core functions are outlined below and full Terms of Reference can be found here:

Aligned advocacy and policy coherence for nutrition

  • Adopting coherent and unified advocacy and policy actions and messaging, engaging with key stakeholders, without conflict of interest, and speaking with one voice; 
  • Enabling the formulation of joint global approaches, and the alignment of policies, strategies and guidance in response to country needs and requests. 

Identify and coordinate strategic issues around nutrition

  • Ensuring UN alignment behind the SDGs, ICN2 Framework and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition and behind national plans and priorities;
  • Leveraging partner UN agencies’ expertise to broker coordinated technical assistance to governments and appropriate in-country stakeholders.

Emerging issues, knowledge management and innovation

  • Promoting and supporting knowledge sharing across the UN and beyond;
  • Identifying, tracking and addressing emerging issues on nutrition.

Translate global guidance into country-level actions, guidelines and impact

  • Disseminating relevant global guidance developed by UN agencies as well as knowledge and technologies across stakeholders at country level;
  • Working with UN Resident Coordinators and other UN colleagues in a coordinated, proactive and relevant manner to elevate and integrate nutrition into national policies and plans.

Engagement with the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

UN Nutrition will serve as the UN Network for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. In this capacity, the UN Nutrition Secretariat will:

  • Contribute to advance the aims of the SUN Movement and support SUN processes at the country level, including capacity strengthening of SUN Government Focal Points and country coalitions;
  • Contribute to the activities of the SUN Movement Secretariat (SMS) and, on behalf of its members, actively participate in relevant processes and meetings of the SUN Movement support system, including among others, SMS’s task forces;
  • Nominate UN candidates to serve on the SUN Executive Committee when required;
  • Liaise with other SUN Networks, fostering inter-network collaboration at all levels;
  • Contribute to strengthen SUN-wide accountability, including through the MEAL (Monitoring, Learning, Accountability, and Evaluation) system.

Accountability

UN Nutrition is governed by a Steering Committee made up of the five constituent member agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO). Members of the Steering Committee are the global nutrition leads from the above-mentioned agencies, with the authority to make strategic decisions. Moreover, two additional members representing other UN agencies can be included on a rotational basis. The two additional members can serve for a term of two years, which could be renewable. Members of the Steering Committee are the nutrition leads from the above-mentioned agencies.

UN Nutrition members are mutually accountable. They are also accountable to UN Member States via ECOSOC through the UN Nutrition Chair. The Principals of the five constituent members have unanimously accepted the nomination of Dr. Naoko Yamamoto, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Healthier Populations, as the Chair of UN Nutrition for the years 2021 and 2022.
Furthermore, UN Nutrition‘s contributions to the SUN Movement are captured in complementary reporting mechanisms.