Developing strategies to end hunger

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN): Effective Aid at Work

SUN photo
Good nutrition now will help him, and his community, for the rest of his life.Photo byLaura Elizabeth Pohl for Bread for the World.

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a large international gathering of development practitioners attending the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea. The participants range from donors — new and old — to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), developing country governments, and civil society groups. The fact that Clinton is the first Secretary of State to participate in such a meeting speaks volumes about the priority accorded global development at the highest levels of the administration and about the commitment to improving the quality of U.S. development assistance. More effective development assistance is a goal in particular of two signature initiatives, Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative.

Secretary Clinton first announced that she would attend the Busan meeting in September, when she spoke at the one-year anniversary event of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, held during the High Level Meeting on Nutrition of the U.N. General Assembly. SUN, Clinton said, embodies the principles of aid effectiveness:

“This program has become, in a very short time, a model of how to implement successfully the principles that the international community affirmed at the High-Level Forums for Aid Effectiveness in Paris and Accra. Together, this community of countries, international organizations, NGOs, civil society groups, and private sector companies has already achieved meaningful benchmarks in the fight to strengthen global nutrition. From Tanzania, which has created a nutrition-specific line in its national budget and posted nutritionists in every district nationwide, [to] countries such as Guatemala, Uganda, Peru, Mozambique, and Burkina Faso, which have introduced new measures to improve financial accountability and strengthen their country’s commitment to nutrition, we are seeing the kinds of high-level reforms and political leadership needed to reach people on a broad scale.

"Now, this is an accomplishment not only for those whose lives are being saved and improved, but also for the people like us in this room who believe passionately in the critical role that nutrition must play in order to produce thriving children, families, and communities. And I think it’s also an indicator of our better understanding of what works in development and what it takes to make progress together, because through the SUN movement, we are seeing better results with country-owned leadership. When programs are coordinated and evidence-based, we get better outcomes. When results are measured transparently and are used to improve strategies, and when all parties are held accountable for delivering on their promises, we actually can see the progress being made.”

The SUN Movement is a different way of working. It is not housed in any institution or owned by any constituency. As Secretary Clinton’s remarks highlight, it is a collaborative effort with a common goal, supporting country-led and country-driven efforts. In just one year, 22 countries have expressed their intention to scale up nutrition—surpassing all expectations and underscoring the urgency of tackling undernutrition at the most effective time, during the 1,000-day window between pregnancy and age 2. Each country has developed national nutrition strategies and implementation plans.

Moving forward into the implementation phase, it is critical to continue this way of working together and to ensure that SUN countries can rely on support—both financial and technical—from the international community. This is important for the sustainability of maternal and child nutrition interventions and investments, and for building capacity for the long term. The U.S. government is supporting SUN through Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative. Food aid should also be seen as an essential component of U.S. efforts to improve global maternal and child nutrition, as Bread for the World Institute points out in our just-released 2012 Hunger Report.

+The 2012 Hunger Report is available at

  Asma-lateef byline photo     Asma Lateef is director of Bread for the World Institute.        


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