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A. Why advocacy for nutrition?

Nutrition is the base for human well-being and drives the physical and mental development of each person – starting already prior to birth. Good nutrition is essential for the brain and other organs to develop without deficiency. The same is true for the immune system. Overall, the quality of nutrition strongly impacts a person’s potential to learn and develop skills. Most vulnerable are babies and children, as inadequate nutrition hampers their development process. All in all, the lack of good nutrition tremendously impacts not only individual lives but whole societies. This exactly why advocacy for good nutrition is so important: to create awareness for the importance of improving the nutrition in regions and countries where people suffer from not having access to a balanced diet.

Advocacy on nutrition involves two main activities: (a) to gather, analyze, and document relevant information about the nutritional status in different parts of the world, and (b) to promote action in finding ways to improve the nutritional situation in specific geographical areas. Advocacy for better nutrition is important at different levels, yet different persons are reached. Advocacy at the global level rather targets international organizations, funding entities, and national policy to take action in financing and supporting the development and implementation of measures. At a lower level, local governments are targeted to promote concrete action in improving the nutritional situation in specific geographical areas.


B. Access to important global nutrition reports

Sound data on the nutritional situation of countries and specific regions is the bottom-line for good advocacy work. As data collection is difficult, especially in poor countries, global reports give a good general overview and serve to set intervention priorities. Yet, to plan concrete action within specific areas, more detailed information about the nutritional status of certain populations is needed, taking into account both regional differences and differences within the population, i.e. babies, children, adolescents, adult women and men.


C. Most important organisations, networks and initiatives involved in nutrition advocacy at the global level

Both international and national organizations are involved in global advocacy for nutrition. Most important are UN organization where nutrition is part of their mandate. In terms of networks, the SUN network (Scaling Up Nutrition) is the most important one. By 2016, it involves 56 member countries from Africa, Asia, and South America (see figure below), all advocating to improve the nutritional status in their countries. By involving both civil society organizations and policy makers, SUN acts like a movement, providing space for exchange and joint action. Other initiatives complement SUN's work, yet being of smaller geographical coverage.

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