Nigeria’s Akinwunmi Adesina of the AfDB, was among the 29 prominent persons appointed Wednesday by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to join the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced this in New York.
The new appointees included Nahas Angula (Namibia), the chairperson of the Namibian Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and Tom Arnold (Ireland), the director general of the Institute of International and European Affairs.
Also appointed by the UN chief was Fab Shenggen (China), the director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute.
The new appointments will help the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in its effort to improve nutrition for all people, everywhere, the UN said.
These newly appointed figures are champions who have pledged to place nutrition at the top of the agenda, and to provide inspiration and direction for the SUN movement and its mission in eradicating malnutrition. One in three persons suffer from malnutrition the world over and 156 million girls and boys are stunted.
“Good nutrition is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted a year ago, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways we work together. There is no better time than the present to bring together such an exciting group of nutrition leaders,” said the secretary-general.
“These global champions 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.”
Members of the Lead Group include current and former heads of state and other leaders from the array of partners engaged in the SUN Movement — civil society, international and United Nations organisations, donor agencies, businesses and foundations, the spokesman said.
At their inaugural meeting held in New York Wednesday, the Lead Group identified the priority actions that they will champion to achieve the objectives of the SUN Movement, as outlined in its newly released Strategy and Roadmap 2016-2020, and help member countries to achieve lasting human impact at scale.
The SUN Movement now includes 57 countries and three Indian States, up from 19 countries in 2011. The SUN Movement represents a global push for action and investment, with the support of organisations and individuals, to help every child, adolescent, mother and family realise their right to food and nutrition, in turn helping them reach their full potential and helping shape more sustainable and prosperous societies.
The first 1,000 days — from a mother’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday — is a critical window that can determine a child’s destiny. Good nutrition helps develop strong brains and bodies, allowing this generation the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive, and reach their full potential in life.
“Malnutrition — especially in the earliest years — affects the cognitive growth of millions of children and costs their societies the full benefit of the contribution they could make as adults,” said Anthony Lake, the executive director of the UN Children’s Fund and chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group.
“The SUN Movement has helped drive awareness of nutrition as both a marker and a maker of sustainable development, and with the appointment of these new leaders, we will create even greater momentum in the fight to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030,” Lake said
“The message is clear: we need to focus our efforts in countries to support concrete, measurable results and impact to end malnutrition,” said Gerda Verburg, the newly appointed coordinator of the SUN Movement. “By bringing together this group of leaders from all parts of the world today, we are putting into action what we know works to ensure that girls and boys, everywhere, get the nutrition they need and the future they deserve.”