©WFP/Diego Fernandez Gabaldon
©WFP/Diego Fernandez Gabaldon

UN coordination

Outcome 5: Harmonized and coordinated UN nutrition efforts

Outcome 5 embraces the notion that the impact of individual efforts can be maximized when UN agencies act collectively. This is particularly important within the context of nutrition where there are multiple interconnected determinants at play. That means that the impact of a specific technical assistance project/intervention can be impeded if measures to address other factors that contribute to malnutrition are inadequate or not taken. Essentially, we are all in this together.  

The UN [Nutrition] Network serves to strengthen the harmonization, coordination and effectiveness of UN activities in support of country efforts to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It provides a forum through which UN agencies outline joint and individual responsibilities, targets and share data and experiences to better coordinate their actions, both nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive. UN Network analytics such as the UN Nutrition Inventory facilitate efforts to increase the coherence, coordination and convergence of nutrition actions across the UN System at the country level. Increasingly, country UN Networks are engaging the UN Resident Coordinator to reinforce and empower collective UN action on nutrition.

The UN Nutrition Inventory compares stunting levels to existing UN nutrition-related support to foster convergence in high-burden areas

Excerpt from the DRC SUN Nutrition Inventory (2016-17)

DRC SUN Nutrition Inventory
Both convergence and gaps are highlighted: The UN agencies surveyed are primarily concentrated in 5 regions, but none of these agencies are working on nutrition-related actions in Kayah or Tanintharyi

Excerpt from the Myanmar UN Nutrition Inventory

Myanmar UN Nutrition Inventory
Achieving increased efficiency is crucial for a coherent, well-functioning UN Network, particularly in resource-constrained contexts

Excerpt from the Chad UN Nutrition Inventory (2016-17)

Chad UN Nutrition Inventory Excerpt
The Inventory also provides a breakdown of UN nutrition action intensity by the respective strategic objectives of the national nutrition plan and magnitude of investment

Excerpt from the Philippines UN Nutrition Inventory (2016)

Philippines UN Nutrition Inventory Excerpt
The findings of the UN Nutrition Inventory can serve as a valuable input for a range of UN Network activities
UN Nutrition Inventory

To learn more about the results depicted above, consult the country examples section on the applicable tabs

    UN Nutrition Inventory

    The UN Nutrition Inventory takes stock of nutrition actions supported by the United Nations in a given country, enabling colleagues to compare the focus, magnitude of investment and location of these actions. Using a common framework, outlined in the Compendium of Actions for Nutrition (CAN), the exercise analyses data by thematic and geographic area to identify gaps, overlaps and opportunities for increased synergy among UN actors. 

    The Inventory contextualizes these findings within the country’s nutrition situation and priorities articulated by the national nutrition plan. This not only helps the United Nations employ a data-driven approach to strategic planning on nutrition (including the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework), but also creates a working culture conducive to joint programming. In many countries, the UN Nutrition Inventory has proved to be a vehicle for expanding UN Network membership to other UN agencies, whose work supports nutrition outcomes, with the potential to accelerate broader sustainable development.

    List of resources and tools

    Disclaimer: The UN Nutrition Inventory tool is available upon request. For further information, please contact unnetworkforsun@wfp.org

    Country examples

    Since the UN Nutrition Inventory is an internal exercise, the full country files are not posted online. With that said, the following countries have conducted the exercise with selected excerpts posted here. 

    Burkina Faso
    The Philippines
    Sierra Leone
    UN Nutrition Strategy/Agenda

    The UN Nutrition Strategy/Agenda articulates a common United Nations vision for addressing malnutrition at the country level within the context of the government’s national plan. It leverages the findings from the UN Nutrition Inventory, and furthermore, defines how the United Nations will work together to address priority areas and gaps. It can also help lay the foundation for how nutrition is reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (“Cooperation Framework” formerly known as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).

    List of resources and tools
    UN Nutrition Strategy/Agenda template
    Interview Guide template
    Agenda for a Strategic Workshop regarding the UN Nutrition Strategy/Agenda and Strategic Workshop Facilitation slides

    Disclaimer: These UN Network templates are available upon request. For further information, please contact unnetworkforsun@wfp.org

    UN Joint Programmes/Programming

    Since the causes of malnutrition are multifactorial and interconnected, the engagement of multiple sectors and institutions in the nutrition agenda is crucial for achieving nutrition results, with partnerships playing a central role. So is the need to translate nutrition commitments, policies, plans, frameworks and research into action that reaches the nutritionally vulnerable. UN joint programming on nutrition, including UN Joint Programmes, encapsulates the spirit of collective action within the UN family.

    The UN [Nutrition] Network (UNN) is increasingly serving as a platform to facilitate UN joint programming, sometimes through UN Joint Programmes. What does it entail? Joint programming refers to complementary activities undertaken by multiple United Nations agencies within the same geographical area(s), targeting the same individuals/households and/or linking related services. Not only does this help operationalize a multi-sectoral approach to nutrition, it also helps to ensure that programming is person-centred. The joint dynamic may unfold at varying or all phases of the programming cycle from assessment, design/formulation, implementation and M&E/reporting activities.

    Integrating Nutrition into Joint UN Frameworks

    Joint United Nations frameworks, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (formerly called the United Nations Development Assistance Framework or UNDAF), are essentially the United Nation’s master plan for country assistance. As such, they serve as a blueprint for UN support to governments in order to help them reach their targets within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are also a vehicle for mainstreaming nutrition into the UN assistance portfolio across sectors and United Nations agencies/entities operating at the country level.

    The UN [Nutrition] Network (UNN) is increasingly working with UN Country Teams (UNCTs) to include nutrition objectives, indicators and nutrition actions in these joint frameworks as well as to make related technical assistance and programmes more ‘nutrition smart’. Some UNN analytics, such as the UN Nutrition Inventory, and other UNN-supported activities, such as the development of UN Nutrition Strategy/Agenda, can be drawn upon to inform and facilitate this process. Recognizing the strategic leverage conferred by joint UN frameworks, a metric on efforts “to develop or update nutrition content of any joint UN frameworks” was introduced in the UNN Functionality index+ in 2018.


    List of resources and tools