Mr António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, has appointed 27 prominent global figures including Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) as change-makers, who have pledged to ensure that nutrition is placed and remains, at the top of the agenda.
He said the appointees would provide inspiration and direction for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and its mission in eradicating malnutrition.
According to a release copied to the Ghana News Agency, one in three people suffer from malnutrition the world over and 149 million girls and boys are stunted.
It said good nutrition is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
These global leaders will support country-led efforts to scale up nutrition and to deliver for girls, boys and their families to ensure a world free from malnutrition by 2030.
The release said members of the Lead Group are appointed until July 2021 and include several Vice Presidents of SUN member countries and other leaders from the array of partners engaged in the SUN Movement – civil society, youth coalitions, international and United Nations organisations, donor agencies, businesses and foundations.
It said at the annual meeting of the Lead Group, to be held on today, the Group will take a decision on the continuation of the SUN Movement into its third phases (2021-2025) and make commitments to achieve its objectives – looking toward the 2020 Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit and the future of the Movement.
The SUN Movement was launched in 2010 by the UN Secretary-General. Led by governments and driven by evidence, SUN has today rallied 61 countries and four Indian States – supported by over 3,000 civil society organisations, some 500 businesses, five UN agencies and a group of international donors and foundations (the SUN Networks).
Their commitment: to leave 'egos and logos' behind, align efforts and work together to scale up nutrition during the critical first 1,000 days from a mother's pregnancy until her child's second birthday.
Malnutrition in all its forms continues to be the leading cause of poor health and poverty globally. Children who suffer from undernutrition often grow up to be obese, and overweight and obesity coexist in many countries. Inequality is rising and achieving gender equality remains a persistent challenge.
The release said soon, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these challenges. Food systems have the potential to nourish human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both.
It said improving nutrition means driving progress across the host of challenges faced by the world today. Yet, it remains one of the world's least-addressed problems. Each country and stakeholder must do more and collaborate to tackle malnutrition, in all its forms.
The SUN Lead Group is expected to help drive political momentum and global recognition of nutrition's catalytic power to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guide the strategic direction of the SUN Movement in the changing landscape, for the coming two years.
Members include, Aliko Dangote, Chair/CEO of Dangote Group; Shinichi Kitaoka, President of JICA; Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania; Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF (Chair of SUN Movement Lead Group) and Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute.