Entries by UNSCN Secretariat

Launch of the The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report 2020

July 13, 2020 - 4:00 PM (CET)

Register here

The report contains the most recent and authoritative estimates of the extent of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition around the world. As the 2030 deadline looms, SOFI 2020 gauges whether #ZeroHunger remains achievable. The Report tracks countries' performance and trajectory to offer a tiered assessment of the likelihood of success. 

What's new?

  • Higher level of accuracy thanks to the availability of fresh datasets, including new population figures, new food balance sheets and new data for China;

  • Preliminary assessment of COVID-19’s impact on food security, based on the latest global economic outlooks;

  • In-depth analysis of the ability of food systems to deliver quality diets to the poorest and the most vulnerable;

  • Policy recommendations to transform current food systems 

The event is organized by the report’s authors, FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO and can be followed in all official UN languages.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020

Updates for many countries have made it possible to estimate hunger in the world with greater accuracy this year. In particular, newly accessible data enabled the revision of the entire series of undernourishment estimates for China back to 2000, resulting in a substantial downward shift of the series of the number of undernourished in the world. Nevertheless, the revision confirms the trend reported in past editions: the number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. The report also shows that the burden of malnutrition in all its forms continues to be a challenge. There has been some progress for child stunting, low birthweight and exclusive breastfeeding, but at a pace that is still too slow. Childhood overweight is not improving and adult obesity is on the rise in all regions.

The report complements the usual assessment of food security and nutrition with projections of what the world may look like in 2030, if trends of the last decade continue. Projections show that the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and, despite some progress, most indicators are also not on track to meet global nutrition targets. The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socio economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report puts a spotlight on diet quality as a critical link between food security and nutrition. Meeting SDG 2 targets will only be possible if people have enough food to eat and if what they are eating is nutritious and affordable. The report also introduces new analysis of the cost and affordability of healthy diets around the world, by region and in different development contexts. It presents valuations of the health and climate-change costs associated with current food consumption patterns, as well as the potential cost savings if food consumption patterns were to shift towards healthy diets that include sustainability considerations. The report then concludes with a discussion of the policies and strategies to transform food systems to ensure affordable healthy diets, as part of the required efforts to end both hunger and all forms of malnutrition.

Read online the full digital report

 See the interactive story

 Read the In Brief

UNSCN Nutrition 45: Nutrition in a digital word

UNSCN Nutrition 45 – Nutrition in a Digital World 

This year, the 45th edition of UNSCN Nutrition, examines the complexity of the digital world for improved nutrition. Digital technology, in and of itself, cannot fix the world’s food and nutrition problems, nor mend its dysfunctional food systems. However, once improving nutrition is deemed a priority, digital technologies are important tools. The potential of digital technologies to improve nutrition is considerable, but so are the risks that these technologies might entail.

Most of the articles we present in UNSCN Nutrition 45 consider the potential-risk duality in a range of food-system perspectives– from food production, transformation and distribution to digital food marketing and retail; from behavioural change and capacity-building, including through social media, to the generation, processing and use of data; and from the protection of vulnerable groups to issues of inequality and human rights.

We chose the theme of UNSCN Nutrition 45 – Nutrition in a Digital World long before we had even heard of COVID-19. Digitalization has been playing a key role ever since, enabling vital parts of the world economy to continue functioning, allowing us to remain connected and giving us access to numerous public services, including those directly related to the pandemic. Another wake-up call on the need to enhance our knowledge and further the debate on the potential benefits and adverse impacts of innovative digital technologies in helping to achieve sustainable healthy diets and progressively realize the right to adequate food.

The editorial team (pictures)


See our contributors

Postponement of the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020

Japan, as the host country of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020, had planned to host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2020 in December 2020 in order to accelerate global effort to tackle malnutrition. However, in light of the continued global spread of COVID-19, the Government has decided to postpone the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit for a year until December 2021.
(Note: The Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) is typically hosted by the host country of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.)

At the summit, participants will discuss a wide range of issues related to malnutrition and present ways that the global community can tackle those issues with nutrition partners all over the world.
We have set five thematic areas for discussion at the summit: (1) Health - Making nutrition integral to Universal Health Coverage; (2) Food - Building food systems that promote healthy diets and nutrition; (3) Resilience - Addressing malnutrition effectively in fragile and conflict-affected contexts; (4) Accountability - Promoting data-driven accountability; and (5) Financing - Securing new investments and driving innovation in nutrition financing.

The Government of Japan will provide updates on the status of summit as soon as any new information becomes available.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan


2020 Global Nutrition Report Online Event

1 July 2020, 10:30-12:30 (CET) - Zoom meeting

As ever, the 2020 GNR presents the most comprehensive picture of the state of nutrition at the global, regional and country level, and tracks progress against global nutrition targets and the commitments made to reach them. Uniquely, the 2020 report focuses on equity and unpacks the role of inequities in tackling malnutrition. It does this in recognition of the ways in which malnutrition affects different people in different ways, depending on factors such as income, location, sex and age. Through this lens, the 2020 GNR reveals the challenges and opportunities for improving nutrition outcomes through food and health systems, supported by strong financing and accountability.

This online event will bring together key stakeholders from across the various Rome-based agencies in an active and engaging discussion around the latest GNR’s data, messaging and recommendations. The event will focus on nutritional inequities, examining synergies between the GNR’s own findings and the UNSCN’s periodic review UNSCN News #43 that extensively explored equity in food systems.

Merger of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and the UN Network for Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN)

Dear partners and colleagues,

I am writing to you as the ad interim Chair of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) to provide you with an update on the merger of the UN Network for Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) and the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN).

As you probably know, the UNSCN was established by ECOSOC in 1977, while the UN Network for the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement was established by the Principals of FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO in 2013, in support of the SUN Movement. While these two entities share obvious complementarities, UNSCN was spearheading efforts on global policy coherence for nutrition and UN coordination, while the UN Network for SUN took the lead in driving country-level efforts on nutrition. Nevertheless, the current global nutrition landscape demands increased efficiencies and more integrated and streamlined efforts. This is especially relevant as we are in the middle of the Decade of Action on Nutrition, in the final decade of the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda for 2030 and in the context of UN Reform.

To harmonize the collective efforts of the UN Network and of UNSCN at global and country levels, we embarked on an ambitious reform process of these two bodies in early 2018. Extensive consultations with the Heads of Nutrition and the Deputy Principals of the five UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO) members of the Steering Committee of UN Network/UNSCN have led us to unanimously recommend the merger of these two bodies into a single entity entitled UN Nutrition. In the spirit of the UN Reform agenda, we strongly believe that UN Nutrition, supported by an agile Secretariat, would result in strengthened collaboration, a more unified voice for nutrition in the UN System, and greater impact on the ground.

New Terms of Reference (ToRs) have been developed and have been endorsed by the respective Heads of Agencies. UN Nutrition will be an interagency coordination mechanism for nutrition at global level, and a collaboration platform at country level, bringing together UN agencies to accelerate progress for nutrition objectives and targets at all levels. Through UN Nutrition, UN Agencies are committed to increasing their support to Governments and stakeholders in promoting nutrition actions. UN Nutrition is universal in its coverage and relevant to all countries.

In addition to its core functions, UN Nutrition will serve as the UN Network for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. In this capacity, it will contribute to advance the aims of the SUN Movement and support SUN processes at global, regional and country levels. It is also foreseen that, at the request of governments and upon the availability of funding, UN Nutrition could mobilize nutrition facilitation services to support nutrition governance processes at the country level. These services build off the considerable expertise gathered through REACH in 23 countries over the last 12 years and draw upon its diagnostic and analytical tools and resource materials.

The current reporting obligation of the UNSCN to ECOSOC will be maintained by UN Nutrition. The ToRs for UN Nutrition are fully in line with the current ECOSOC mandate but enhance the scope of the new UN Nutrition to strengthen nutrition governance and coordination not only at the global but also at the country level.

Further information on the operational modalities and official launch of the new body will be provided in due course. Until the official launch of UN Nutrition, the current UN Network and UNSCN Secretariats will continue to implement their agreed work plans for 2020 and work under their current names. The new UN Nutrition’s Secretariat will be hosted by the FAO at its headquarters in Rome.

Warm regards,

Amir Abdulla
Ad interim Chair UNSCN/UN Nutrition, Deputy Executive Director of WFP


UN Nutrition communication for partners 

Terms of Reference (ToRs) of UN Nutrition

A new era for food and climate: Driving transformative actions

Thu, Jun 25 2020 8:30 – 20:30 GMT +2

The event will be livestreamed on our website, and Facebook. Join the conversation on Twitter: #NewEra4Food

Register Now

A new era for food and climate: Driving transformative actions, is a full-day, around-the-world virtual relay event that starts in Australia and concludes in Colombia. 
The event aims to inspire collective action on the 11 priorities laid out in the flagship report of the Transforming Food Systems Under a Changing Climateinitiative, catalyzing efforts to address the current food crisis prompted by COVID-19 and averting future food insecurity from our changing climate.
The report, Actions to Transform Food Systems Under Climate Change, launching on 25 June, is the collaborative work of a panel of global experts in food security, food systems and climate change. It identifies high-priority actions that we must collectively take now. 

Visit the website for more information.

HLPE Report #15 – Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030

The report is based on the analysis of food security and nutrition concepts, outcomes, drivers and critical policy directions that are vital for meeting SDG 2 targets and the entire 2030 Agenda. The timing of this report is crucial, as the state of global food security and nutrition is alarming, with an increased number of undernourished people and the spreading of all forms of malnutrition, including overweight and obesity.

Executive summary

Nutrition News Issue 1 – 2020

In an effort to present nutrition related news at the global and country level, UNSCN and the UNN Secretariats are teaming up to deliver Nutrition News providing a comprehensive overview of recent developments supported and/or coordinated by the UN system.

You can access your copy here.

The first issue for 2020 includes:

  • One UN for Nutrition
  • COVID-19 pandemic: The evolving impact on how people meet the food system
  • UNN-REACH supports high-impact Sierra Leone National Nutrition Fair
  • A Global Action Plan on Wasting
  • UNRC interview series: Building a holistic approach in Costa Rica
  • Nutrition in the context of urban-rural linkages
  • A spirit of collaboration in Nepal
  • How broader nutrition-based coordination tackles cultural taboos and empowers women in Sri Lanka
  • Policy guidance for food systems transformation
  • New Special Rapporteur on Right to Food
  • In memory of Arne Oshaug
  • Latest Publications and Nutrition Related Events

 Sign up for UNSCN E-Alerts and E-Newsletters here.


Photo Credit: ©FAO Riccardo Gangale

Reimagining Food Systems

Wednesday, 24 June, 9:00 am EST. (1:00 pm GMT / 2:00 pm CST / 6:00 am PST)
Please click here to register your place.

EAT and The Rockefeller Foundation invite you to join food systems leaders from across the globe online to dig deeply into dialogue that drives our action forward for change.

The event will discuss:

  • Elevated visions and plans to rebuild local, regional and global food systems
  • Frontline food system solutions for resilience, nutrition security, equitable food access, and more
  • Diverse perspectives – including grassroots, government, business, community & producer voices
  • Critical announcements and invitations into action
  • Dynamic dialogue to align our path forward