The complexity and magnitude of malnutrition in the world is daunting and far too great for any one United Nations agency or organization to tackle and solve alone. Since its conception in 1977 the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) has served as a collaborating and harmonizing platform to advance the UN’s interagency work in nutrition.

This report aims to capture the final years of UNSCN ahead of its merger with the UN Network for Scaling up Nutrition (UNN) to form UN Nutrition in 2021. It strives to share lessons learned, trials overcome and harmonizing actions that have contributed to the positive UN system level momentum to tackle malnutrition at the global level to inform the work of UN Nutrition. 

The report was informed by a review of core UNSCN publications as well as the valuable insights gained during key informant interviews with members of the UNSCN family. This included past and present members, secretariat staff and collaborators.

Overweight and obesity are a growing threat to children’s well-being globally, largely driven by a trap of unhealthy and highly processed foods combined with a lack of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Almost 40 million under-fives around the world have overweight, equivalent to nearly 6 per cent of this age group. Among children aged 5 to 19 years rates are significantly higher; it is estimated that more than 340 million have overweight, almost 18 per cent. Growth is most rapid in low- and middle-income countries. These are conditions that disadvantage children and can lead to a lifetime of diseases, including some of the world’s biggest killers such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

UNICEF’s Programme Guidance on the Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents provides strategic guidance to countries on how to adapt the programming and country support work to respond to the changing face of malnutrition, including  a focus on regulatory actions to improving children’s food environments.

UNICEF’s Prevention of Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents Advocacy Strategy and Guidance is an invaluable tool to help UNICEF offices and partners translate global guidance and recommendations into strong and effective advocacy work on this important issue. It is a new tool that can inform work by UNICEF and others at the country, regional, and global level.

8-11 February 2021 (virtual)

The CFS 47 Plenary session will be held on 8 - 11 February 2021 

Call for Side Events: To enrich and complement the CFS 47 and to give its partners and stakeholders an opportunity to highlight their work, CFS will organize 12 virtual side events over the four days – 3 per day, in parallel during the lunch break.

To apply to organize one of these side events, please download and complete the side events application form, and return it to by COB, Friday 08 January 2021.

For any queries on side event matters please consult the CFS Secretariat at:

18-22 January 2021

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference on agri-food policy issues. For the past twelve years it has been held at the beginning of the International Green Week in Berlin. Around 2,000 international visitors from politics, industry, science and civil society discuss a central topic/theme; this year's theme is: "How to feed the world in times of pandemics and climate change?"

More info at 

12 January from 13:00-14:30 GMT

The SDG2 Advocacy Hub is hosting in collaboration with the global research partnership CGIAR a conversation about the role of protein in our food systems, tied to the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). 
Opening remarks will be delivered by Lawrence Haddad, UNFSS Action Track 1 Lead and Gunhild Stordalen, UNFSS Action Track 2 Lead. For the panel discussion, we will be joined by Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, CGIAR UNFSS representative, Namukolo Covic, Senior Research Coordinator from IFPRI for the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), as well as Chefs Conor Spacey and Selassie Atadika from the Chefs' Manifesto network.

In order to attend, please RSVP using this link.

Every year, unhealthy diets are responsible for millions of deaths and lost years of good health. Urgent action is needed to stop the growing consumption of foods and beverages that lead to unhealthy diets. Of greatest concern are excess consumption of sodium and salt, sugars and fats, particularly trans fats, and low consumption of whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

Governments worldwide have a unique opportunity and also responsibility to lead by example through the implementation of healthy public food procurement and service policies, requiring that all food and beverages served or sold in public settings contribute to the promotion of healthy diets.

Healthy public food procurement and service policies can contribute to enabling the population to consume healthy diets and reducing the burden of all forms of malnutrition, in particular, premature death and disability from preventable diet-related noncommunicable diseases. They can also contribute to increased productivity and educational attainment; create purchasing power, which can increase demand for, and availability of healthier food and reduce costs; strengthen local food systems by promoting purchasing from local producers, and improve health equity across populations.

The action framework will support policymakers or programme managers working on public food procurement or service, either at a national or subnational level including at regional, provincial or city level to develop new public food procurement and service policies or to strengthen or expand existing policies. This action framework provides an overview of how to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a healthy public food procurement policy.

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

You can access your copy here.

The final issue for 2020 includes:

  • UN Nutrition, the future looks bright!
  • Farewells and Hello’s within the Steering Committee
  • Revising plans for COVID-19 response: UNN-REACH work in Lesotho and Sierra Leone
  • Global governance for nutrition: Updates from the CFS
  • Second round of mapping in Niger reveals shortfalls and clarifies nutritionpriorities
  • UNSCN Knowledge Management Survey Results
  • World Food Programme awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2020
  • Non-traditional actors align nutritionpriorities in Papua New Guinea
  • Sustainable food systems to acheive the SDGs
  • FAO turns 75 and celebrates World Food Day
  • Setting up a UN Network in Honduras: Challenges and opportunities in the COVID-19 era
  • Nutrition in a Digital World Webinar Series
  • IAEA Technical Meeting focuses on the Role of Stable Isotope Techniques in Evaluating Food-based Approaches to Improve Diet Quality
  • Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems ProLatest Publications and Nutrition Related Events

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

©WHO/ Saffea Gborie