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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 20 September 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks at High-Level Event on Scaling up Nutrition

Welcome, all of you:

Nutrition leaders from across the UN system.

Our valuable development partners, with your great expertise.

Partners in civil society who reach out across communities.

And executives from the private sector who take an interest in public health.

One year ago, we launched this Scaling Up Nutrition Movement at an event co-hosted by the United States and Ireland.

At that moment, we pledged to make a difference.

Our message was clear and compelling.

One thousand days: change a life, change the future.

That day was the start of what we hope will be a profoundly important movement for change.

Our meeting this year coincides with the first-ever United Nations High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases.

Obesity and malnutrition may seem like polar opposites. But more and more countries are suffering from both. And the answer to both is better nutrition.

Like so many other ailments, NCDs can have their roots in poor nutrition during infancy.

Under-nutrition is a serious and neglected challenge.

The Scaling Up Nutrition initiative has support from more than 20 countries. They understand that food and nutrition security is a human right. They know that food and nutrition security drives economic, social and human development. And they have detailed plans for Scaling Up Nutrition.

Over 100 agencies and organizations have endorsed the SUN Framework that sets out the Movement's approach.

The lives of millions of children are at stake. We can help them realize their physical and intellectual potential.

The magnitude of this problem is most obvious today in the Horn of Africa. Thirteen point five million people there desperately need food to survive. Without proper nutrition the children and pregnant mothers will suffer irreversible damage.

That is why I am pushing so hard for the Millennium Development Goals.

That is why I am urgently appealing for leadership, funds and global solidarity.

That is why we are here today.

The SUN Movement brings together different partners to focus on one shared goal: the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child's second birthday. Proper nutrition at this time is the difference between health and sickness, thriving and deteriorating, life and death.

The initiative is about supporting countries – improving nutritious diets, enhancing nutrition in pregnancy and promoting breastfeeding.

It is also encouraging nutrition-sensitive strategies in many areas, including agriculture, social protection, education, employment and health.

Countries in the SUN Movement will be accountable to those they seek to help.

Different parts of the UN system – including the Standing Committee on Nutrition, the REACH partnership and our High Level Task Force on Global Food Security - are also accountable for supporting this effort.

We plan to put SUN on a stronger footing.

That is why I am counting on you to take a hard look at tasks which lie ahead.

Over the course of a life, the first 1,000 days are all too brief and fleeting.

We have to act before that window closes.

We are here today to make the SUN of better nutrition rise over our entire world.

Thank you very much.


Statements on 20 September 2011