21 Dec 2015

Putting policies in place: SUN workshop for policy makers in Organization Of Islamic Cooperation Countries

Meera Shekar and Kyoko Okamura Global Nutrition Lead and Nutrition Specialist at the World Bank

As the country lead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) theme on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition, Indonesia recently hosted a Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Workshop for policy makers for member countries. The workshop was held in Solo, West Java, Indonesia from November 3rd – November 5th 2015. Representatives from Afghanistan, Uganda, and Turkey participated, as did 25 Indonesian participants from all levels of government and a wide range of non-state actors.

OIC Jakarta Doddy Izwardy addressing the workshop

Doddy Izwardy addressing the workshop

This workshop aimed to: (i) share experiences of and opportunities for successful implementation and scale up of nutrition programs, (ii) agree on the priority actions for better nutrition outcomes in OIC member state countries and (iii) build partnerships across stakeholders to better implement and scale nutrition actions.

First, Indonesia shared its experience on setting up its policy and regulatory framework and platform for implementation. At the opening speech, Doddy Izwardy, The Director of Nutrition, Indonesia Ministry of Health, emphasised that Indonesia has issued the Presidential Decree number 42 of 2013, concerning the National Movement on the Acceleration of Nutrition Improvement focusing on the first 1,000 days of life. It presented a unique opportunity for the government to work together with other stakeholder groups to accelerate the improvement of nutrition outcomes in Indonesia.

On the implementation front, Nina Sarjunani, as a member of SUN Lead Group, shared the experience of Indonesia in the implementation of Scaling Up Nutrition, starting from developing the policy and framework of SUN, establishing task forces of multiple stakeholders, as well as aligning the nutrition programme with programmes focusing on the underlying drivers of nutrition.

Representatives from Uganda highlighted the importance of nutrition education to empower communities to choose healthy food, while the representatives from Afghanistan shared their experience in implementing various nutrition programs in their countries, covering management of severe acute malnutrition, nutrition in emergencies, as well as food safety and food security interventions.

Lawrence Haddad, a Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report’s Independent Expert Group, provided an audio presentation on key findings from Global Nutrition Report 2015. He noted that out of 120 country-targets set by the World Health Assembly (8 targets, 15 countries) only 21 were on course (see graphic). He stressed the importance of commitment, nutrition specific programme coverage, improved coherence for nutrition across all development policies, the need to allocate more resources to nutrition, the vital role of communities in implementation and accountability and the need to collect data to assess progress and promote accountability.

Number of OIC countries at various stages of progress against global nutrition targets.

At the end of the workshop, Roadmap and Partnership Frameworks for OIC member Countries to Achieve Global Nutrition Target 2015 were formulated using the GNR recommendations and Calls to Action.

Among the key recommendations were: (i) increasing commitment from all stakeholders in the country by mainstreaming nutrition into national development agendas, (ii) revolutionising data systems to allow for standardised, timely and accurate tracking of progress, programme coverage and financial resource allocations and expenditures, and (iii) increasing resource mobilisation from other sectors and stakeholders to accelerate nutrition improvement, and (iv) encouraging all OIC countries to join the SUN movement (currently 3 are not members) to support the prioritisation of nutrition outcomes in their development agendas.