Entries by UNSCN Secretariat

3rd Global Conference of the SFS Programme

25, 26, 27, 30 November and 1, 3 December 2020

The 3rd Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme will be held virtually.

The purpose of this 3rd global conference is to to provide substantial input to the UN Food Systems Summit that is tentatively scheduled for the third quarter of 2021, building on the achievements of the SFS Programme’s membership during the first five years of implementation as well as the outcomes of the Programme’s previous two global conferences.

Previous editions of the conference harnessed consensus on a range of priority areas for action. The 1st global conference in South Africa concluded with the Pretoria Resolution, while the 2nd global conference in Costa Rica finalized with the San José Call to Action.

Objectives and outcomes

Following the San José Call to Action of the SFS Programme’s 2nd conference, the objectives of this meeting are:

  • To strengthen the common vision that suggests that only through inclusive multi-stakeholder collaboration will we be able to achieve the profound transformation, through a set of key actions and implementation mechanisms, that our food systems require;
  • To provide a platform for structured discussion around the science underlying global efforts to characterize and assess progress towards more sustainable food systems;
  • and, overall, to raise the political importance of sustainable food systems among public and private sector leaders.

The expected outcomes of the conference are:

  • To provide science-based recommendations on the range of actions that can advance food systems transformation within the priority areas identified in the outcome of the 2nd global conference, in contribution to the Action Tracks of the Food Systems Summit 2021; and
  • To provide recommendations that can help define the implementation mechanisms (including accountability mechanisms) for such recommended actions.

Webinar – Achieving Healthy Weight for All Children: Maintaining Momentum in Challenging Times

Friday 20 November from 15:00 – 16:30 CET
Register here

Millions of children worldwide are eating too much unhealthy food and not getting enough physical activity, leading to a rapid rise in childhood overweight and obesity. Once considered a problem limited to high-income countries, middle income countries now account for over three quarters of all children under 5 affected by overweight. Called “a ticking time bomb” by the World Bank, 1 in 5 children between 5 to 19 years of age is affected by overweight, and the issue is impacting a broader cross-section of the population including urban, rural and poor communities, often co-existing with various forms of undernutrition. Overweight and obesity disadvantage children, can result in stigma and can lead to a lifetime of diseases, including increased risks for some of the world’s biggest killers such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. For countries this translates into a population that is less healthy and less productive, and results in health systems overburdened with soaring costs for what are largely preventable diseases.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the very real health risks that people living with obesity can face, and – wherever possible – the best option is early prevention, in particular optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. In addition, the obesogenic environments that are driving the rapid rise in overweight and obesity are increasingly recognized as a threat to children’s rights, which adds urgency to the need for action. 

To mark the occasion of World Children’s Day, UNICEF and WHO will join forces to restate the global importance of childhood overweight prevention and efforts to create enabling environments that promote and protect healthy weight in childhood. Such environments ensure access to affordable nutritious foods and healthy diets and promote physical activity.

The webinar will showcase examples of the common challenges many countries, caregivers and children across the world are facing in relation to childhood overweight and obesity; at the same time it will offer a platform to share some of the lessons learned in overcoming these challenges through progressive policies and double duty interventions that address both undernutrition and overweight simultaneously. Against the difficult backdrop of the COVID-19 response, speakers will be encouraged to reflect on whether we need to reimagine the response to childhood overweight and obesity moving forward.

2020 Hunger Free Communities (Virtual) Summit

18-19 November 2020, 12:00 – 5:30PM ET
Register here

Hosted by the Alliance to End Hunger, the goals of the 2020 Hunger Free Communities Virtual Summit are to understand the changing landscape of hunger and build a resilient post-pandemic America.

We will accomplish this by:

  • Highlighting effective policies and methods for reducing community food insecurity
  • Sharing best practices and resources
  • Demonstrating effective multi-sector collaborations
  • Building skills among practitioners

Agenda

Nourishing the Post COVID-19 World: A special session of the UNIATF’s COVID-19 Meetings

On November 13th the UNIATF COVID-19 Meeting had a special session on nutrition titled ‘Nourishing the Post COVID-19 World’. Facilitated by UNSCN the session brought together representatives of the UNIATF’s Nutrition and NCDs thematic working group from FAO, UNICEF, WFP, IDLO and WHO to amplify the messages in their joint narrative on the importance of nutrition in the COVID-19 response.

See the full recording here

Presenter Slides (1.4MB)

Highlights from the Session include:

  • The interlinkages between nutrition and COVID-19 with malnutrition both a risk factor for infection severity, and at risk of intensification due to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 and the opportunity to mitigate this impact through nourishing action by Stineke Oenema, UNSCN
  • An introduction to the Food Systems Summit 2021 and its preparatory dialogues to foster inclusion by Jamie Morrison, FAO
  • An overview of the impact of COVID-19 on breastfeeding and complementary feeding as well as the long turn consequences on the NCD Burden, including a summary of urgent actions for governments and policy makers to mitigate these risks by Fatmata Fatima Sesay, UNICEF
  • The impacts of COVID-19 and actions WFP is taking to help mitigate its impact on the nutrition of school-age children through school based programmes, by Maree Bouterakos, WFP
  • Legal perspectives on the response to the food crisis during COVID-19, including details on a pilot project in Honduras and Uganda by Giulia Zevi, IDLO
  • Results of the COVID-19 preparedness and response plans through an NCD lens by Melanie Cowen, WHO

Second Global Summit on Food Fortification

6 November 2020, 13.00 – 15.30 CET
Register here
Part of MNF CONNECTED conference

The purpose of the Second Global Summit on Food Fortification Launch Event is to mobilize high-level political will to pursue the unfinished agenda on large scale fortification and biofortification and to demonstrate high-level attention and commitment to the fortification agenda across sectors and stakeholders.

The high-level launch event will:

  • Highlight for a large global audience the significant untapped potential of large-scale fortification and biofortification and the urgency of closing this gap to combat rising malnutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond;
  • Celebrate Progress – focusing on salt iodization as an inspiring global success story with lessons relevant to the fortification unfinished agenda and India as a country that has made significant progress in the 5 years since the first global summit on food fortification in 2015;
  • Present the fortification Unfinished Agenda, including key barriers that must be tackled and promising solutions that should be pursued to ensure that large-scale and biofortification maximize their impact;
  • Promote the Food Systems Summit and N4G as key opportunities to mobilize support for food fortification;
  • Celebrate national progress, and identify key challenges and actions to address them;
  • Call on global and national leaders to do more to accelerate progress on large scale and biofortification.

More info here

UNSCN Knowledge Management Survey

Over the past five years, UNSCN has published a range of papers (visit our Resources library here). We have prepared a short survey to collect your feedback on some of these documents and gain insight to what extent they have served your needs. This will help us sharpen our knowledge management while UNSCN will transition into UN Nutrition in 2021.

The survey should only take around 10 minutes of your time and is open until Wednesday 11 November 2020.

With the evolution of UNSCN to UN Nutrition you are also welcome to share any other comments, experiences or feelings by sending us an email at info@unscn.org

UNSCN publications

Micronutrient Survey Manual and Toolkit

UNICEF, WHO, CDC and Nutrition International have released the Micronutrient Survey Manual and digitized Toolkit. Nutrition stakeholders around the world can now access expanded and digitized resources needed to conduct micronutrient surveys and evaluations.

Globally, at least 1 in 2 children under 5 suffers from hidden hunger due to deficiencies in vitamins and other essential micronutrients. Hidden hunger harms children - it undermines their capacity to grow, develop and learn to their full potential. Accurate and reliable nutrition data provides evidence for policy makers to better understand and tackle this nutrition problem. 

The user-friendly format of the new survey manual and toolkit allows program managers, researchers and government officials alike to access and search the entire knowledge library of best practices and resources for micronutrient status assessment on an interactive website. There is also a downloadable platform that functions just like the website and enables these resources to be accessible to users offline. The content includes 16 modules of information and more than 200 tools, examples and resources in a searchable platform.

 

WHO Bulletin Call for Papers: Behavioural and Social Sciences for Better Health

Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2020

What drives people towards tobacco use? What prevents people from doing physical exercise or adopting preventive measures during a pandemic? What increases the likelihood that someone will adhere to treatment or seek appropriate health care?

While a growing body of knowledge provides insights into these questions, factoring behavioural evidence effectively into health policies and programmes can be challenging. For example, health programmes often rest on the assumption that people will act in their best interest once we increase their awareness and knowledge. Yet, we know that this increase is insufficient for a behaviour to change. Because of inertia and preference for short-term rewards, people may continue with their unhealthy habits, despite improved health literacy. Certain health policies underestimate the importance of social norms and the fact that our behaviours are influenced by our perceptions of how other people think and act. Some interventions focus only on the human factor, without giving attention to environmental and structural issues that determine what options are available and how these options are presented to the population.

Too often, considerations around behaviours are only discussed in the implementation phase; but effective health policies and strategies require raising critical behavioural issues and questions much earlier, when broad policy objectives are discussed and designed. If we expect policy-makers and practitioners to increase the use of behavioural and social sciences, the global community of experts needs to provide easy access to evidence, tools, expertise and examples of use.

Behaviours are the result of complex interactions among cognitive, emotional, social and environmental drivers. To understand these, we need to draw theories and evidence from a variety of fields: sociology, behavioural sciences, behavioural economics, cognitive sciences, psychology, anthropology, humanities, communications, marketing, design thinking and system thinking.

To achieve health for all, policy-makers and practitioners need deeper insights into what shapes individual and collective behaviours among the general population as well as among practitioners and health-care workers who design and deliver health and social care. As part of its efforts to scale up the use of behavioural and social sciences in public health, the World Health Organization created a multidisciplinary technical advisory group for behavioural insights and sciences for health in 2020. The Bulletin of the World Health Organization will publish a theme issue on behavioural and social sciences for better health in 2021. We invite practitioners and researchers, particularly from low- and middle-income countries, to submit manuscripts with original research, reviews, perspectives and lessons from the field on the unique opportunities the behavioural and social sciences provide in achieving health for all.

We are interested in behaviourally informed approaches, interventions and reforms that have been shown to improve public health. In particular, we will welcome manuscripts that illustrate how behavioural sciences have been used for the design of policies and programmes; how behaviours of key players – including, but not only, at the population level – are addressed within health systems; how robust behavioural evidence can be gathered despite time and financial constraints; and how innovative approaches can help in overcoming these constraints. We hope submissions will provide evidence as to how multidisciplinary approaches improve the quality of behaviourally informed interventions; if and how existing behavioural theories and models are relevant to low- and middle-income countries; and how to build knowledge and skills relevant to behavioural and social sciences among health workers, practitioners and policy-makers.

The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2020. Manuscripts should be submitted in accordance with the Bulletin’s guidelines for contributors (available at: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes796/1/18-990118/en) and the cover letter should mention this call for papers.

The call for papers was published in the October 2020 issue and can be accessed here.