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Nutrition Commitments and Accountability

This question was posted the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) forum area and has 2 replies.

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Chris Leather

Independent Consultant

Normal user

25 May 2016, 16:04

As a means of increasing accountability, there is increasing discussion in the nutrition arena, and wider world of sustainable development, about the need for "registries" or "repositories" of commitment. For example see:

An online public repository of commitments on nutrition could serve the following main functions:

* to make publicly available SMART policy, financial and technical commitments (ideally country specific) by a wide range of stakeholders
* enable specialists and the interested public to track progress in the delivery on commitments and the achievement of national nutrition targets

In the context of ICN2 follow up and the Decade of Action, the repository could provide one place where all nutrition related commitments by all stakeholders are deposited, made publicly available and trackable. For example, If commitments are made in any future Nutrition for Growth event or process they could be included in the repository.

I would be interested in the opinions of SUN Movement participants and others on this issue, in particular:

* What added value might such a repository bring to nutrition accountability?
* What would be the most important content and how should it be structured?
* Who would provide the information and how should it be collated?
* Who should administer any such repository?

thanks and best wishes


Chris Leather
Independent Consultant

Patrizia Fracassi

SUN Movement Secretariat

Normal user

10 Jun 2016, 15:29

Dear Chris,

Commitments need to be seen as a public good. To be effective, they have to be made by people that can act on them and be hold accountable for their achievement, whether they are from Governments, civil society (international and local), businesses, UN agencies and donors.

In the Nutrition For Growth event in London in July 2013, commitments were made by representatives from all parts. These were then reported by the Global Nutrition Report in 2014, 2015 and will be in the forthcoming 2016 Report to be launched next week. Lessons have been learnt on how to better develop and follow up such commitments.

An important feature for a commitment is to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. The Global Nutrition Report Team has developed a SMART Guidance and as made available a ‘hotline’ to help to develop SMART commitments on nutrition
Most importantly these commitments need to be meaningful to people, especially those that are most vulnerable to malnutrition.

An online public repository of commitments on nutrition would ensure that there is continuity between the moment these SMART commitments are made and the effective follow up in terms of implementation and monitoring. Such online repository would have to be a regularly updated platform that is capable to generate discussion by decision makers and implementers as well as prompt direct feedback from the public – including media, concerned citizens and experts. In this way the commitments that are made and the mechanisms to monitor them would foster collective agreement and action in the countries.

The best institution to administer such a repository needs to be capable, sustainable and independent. An example of an independent accountability mechanism for progress and action on nutrition is the Global Nutrition Report. They currently call on governments, international agencies, external funders, civil society organizations, and businesses, including Signatories of the 2013 N4G Compact, to improve accountability.

This is the beginning of a very interesting discussion and the more people feed into it, the better...

Chris Leather

Independent Consultant

Normal user

10 Jun 2016, 18:49

Thanks Patrizia for your very useful and insightful comments.

They make me think that a international repository should, to a large extent, be a compilation of national repositories of commitment, i.e. stakeholders make country-specific commitments aligned with national multi-sectoral nutrition plans. Such commitments could be made at any time by any stakeholder. National repositories would need to be available in national languages.

Of course, the international repository would also capture, and enable the tracking of, commitments made at global level in events such as Nutrition for Growth events in August and beyond, the proposed World Bank Minister of Finance stunting summit in October, and future events under the Decade of Action on Nutrition.

It was good to see that Member States at the World Health Assembly, in a resolution on the Decade of Action, requested FAO and WHO to maintain an open access database of commitments for public accountability. It would be interesting to hear from them regarding the plans for developing such a database / repository.

Looking forward to hearing the thoughts and suggestions of others.

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