In World of Plenty, No One Should Be Malnourished, Secretary-General Tells Meeting on Nutrition, Recalling His Own Pledge to End ‘Hidden Disgrace of Stunting’

27 September 2012
SG/SM/14549

In World of Plenty, No One Should Be Malnourished, Secretary-General Tells Meeting on Nutrition, Recalling His Own Pledge to End ‘Hidden Disgrace of Stunting’

27 September 2012
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14549
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

In World of Plenty, No One Should Be Malnourished, Secretary-General Tells Meeting

on Nutrition, Recalling His Own Pledge to End ‘Hidden Disgrace of Stunting’

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the high-level meeting on Scaling Up Nutrition, in New York, 27 September:

Two years ago, a small but committed group of politicians and nutritionists launched a movement called “Scaling Up Nutrition” (SUN).  Scaling Up Nutrition aimed at revolutionizing the way the world tackles the problem of under-nutrition. 

This breakthrough had been building since 2008, when a scientific review showed how investing in better nutrition is one of the most cost-effective ways of ensuring that poor communities have the best possible opportunities in life. 

The SUN Movement has not required any new institution, fund or programme.  Instead, it has proposed an entirely new way of thinking.  SUN is rallying Governments, civil society, the private sector and international donors.  It is breaking down barriers separating different disciplines, and galvanizing experts in agriculture, health, social protection and finance.

It is making the case that good nutrition is not just about more healthy food — though that is part of it.  Nor is it just about ensuring good access to health care — though that is part of it, too.  Nor is it just about sound labour laws, nutrition-sensitive agribusinesses, or effective sanitation.  SUN is demonstrating that good nutrition can best be achieved when all these elements are brought together in a cohesive strategy.

Two years on, the Movement is accelerating.  Thirty countries have now put nutrition at the heart of their approach to development.  They have adopted laws, allocated funds and developed action platforms.  Hundreds of stakeholders are mutually accountable for agreed results.  They include farmers’ cooperatives; consumer associations; local and multinational businesses; health professionals; educators; lawyers; religious groups; human rights activists; development workers and politicians. 

Earlier this year, 27 leaders from business, Government and civil society agreed to form a “Lead Group” for the initiative.  Most of them are here today — thank you very much.  They have spent most of this morning finalizing a new strategy to Scale Up Nutrition worldwide.

In our world of plenty, no one should be malnourished.  Nations are paying the costs in terms of underdevelopment.  That is why food and nutrition security are among the priorities of my second term as Secretary-General.

As part of my five-year Action Agenda, I have pledged to put an end to the hidden disgrace of stunting, which affects almost 200 million children globally.  The Zero Hunger Challenge that I launched in Rio de Janeiro in June aspires to eliminate hunger within our lifetime.

Every household needs to be able to afford safe, nutritious food.  Markets need to be open and fair.  The poorest people need to know they can count on social protection that will not let them go hungry.  And in a world with no hunger, all food and agriculture would be sustainable, and no food would be lost or wasted. 

I commend the achievements of the SUN Movement.  Today, more than 56 million stunted children in 30 countries have a better chance to grow stronger and healthier.  Many of the countries who have joined the Movement have demonstrated that progress is possible, even in the face of economic, climatic and political challenges.

I have made partnerships a priority as we redefine the way the United Nations conducts its business.  I look forward to more movements such as SUN.

Together they will enable us to tackle the full range of post-2015 development challenges.  I wish you a productive meeting.  Thank you for your leadership.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.