20 September 2011
Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Governments Line up at United Nations in Support of International


Push on Maternal, Child Malnutrition


Secretary-General Ban, General Assembly President at Meeting

To Review Progress; Secretary of State Clinton Pledges United States Backing

An international drive to “Scale Up Nutrition” (SUN) picked up critical support today at a high-level United Nations meeting addressed by General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Heads of State and leaders from 20 developing nations spearheading the SUN movement, donor Governments, activist organizations and United Nations agency chiefs highlighted the critical importance of adequate nutrition for mothers and infants during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2.

Citing statistics on advances in his country, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania said investment in maternal and infant nutrition was crucial to economic growth and development, as well as to saving lives.  “Challenges remain, but we are determined to overcome them,” he added.

Secretary-General Ban noted that the event was part of a first-ever series of high-level United Nations meetings on non-communicable diseases, held in the context of the General Assembly plenary.  Malnutrition early in life was a major factor in disease later on, he said, adding that the magnitude of the problem was most obvious in the terrible drought and hunger occurring in the Horn of Africa.  “We plan to put SUN on a stronger footing,” the Secretary-General said.

United Nations organizers pointed to the extra energy that comes from cross-sectoral partnerships, and said the SUN movement was finding new solutions by combining action on nutrition and on agriculture.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said her country was firmly committed to investments in food and nutrition, and despite a difficult fiscal environment in 2010 had increased spending in that area by 20 per cent.  She commended SUN countries for making the kind of political reforms and administrative advances that enabled them to deliver results on a mass basis.

Representatives of the United Nations system speaking at the meeting included World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake, and World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

For more information, contact Tim Wall, Department of Public Information Development Section, tel.:  +1 212 963 5851, or e-mail:  wallt@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record