As food prices increase worldwide, developing nations struggle to battle the growing hunger crisis. In the heart of the crisis, the Horn of Africa, over 13 million mothers, fathers, children and grandparents are fighting to survive. Their struggle for food can inevitably be linked to malnourishment, social unrest and a decline in economic growth. However, development limitations influenced by malnourishment are not restricted to only the Horn of Africa.
In order to combat the negative effects of skyrocketing food prices and malnourishment, the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition has developed a platform to be implemented in coordination with the Millennium Development Goals known as The Framework for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN). An additional impetus for the framework occurred in 2008, when Dr. Victora et al published a study in The Lancet that documented the negative social and economic consequences befallen on communities where children (less than 2 years) constantly lack access to adequate nutrition. In the report, malnutrition at 2 years old is strongly associated with less education, reduced economic productivity and lower offspring birth weight in their adult years. Following its publication, www.thousanddays.org was launched to raise awareness for this important issue.
The SUN is divided into two sections: direct nutrition specific interventions (NSIs) and a multi-sectoral nutrition sensitive approach.
- Focused on pregnant women and children (less than 2 years), NSIs implement short term and effective interventions. Examples include the promotion of good nutritional practices, delivering micronutrients, and complementary feeding to prevent and treat malnutrition.
- In its second component, SUN officials work with policy makers in order to reverse the catalysts of malnutrition. Access to and consumption of nutritious foods, access to health care, promotion of agricultural needs and food insecurities are to be major themes behind new legislation.
The SUN Framework calls for a coordinated action between private sectors, donors, the United Nations and national governments with communication between all parties at the forefront. With a concrete communication structure, involved donors increase monetary investments to create a more effective, sustainable future. The SUN recognizes that nutritional development must be a national government priority, yet its successes depend on leaders from the community and household levels. Therefore, nutritional education and advocacy campaigns will occur at a national level, complete with information in multiple formats and languages.
Content submitted by THP Advocacy Intern Elisabeth Epstein