UNN Advisory Services
©WFP/Olivier Asselin

UNN Advisory Services

The UN [Nutrition] Network (UNN) Secretariat provides a range of support services to help UN colleagues set-up and strengthen the functionality of country UNNs in order to work towards the goals of the SUN Movement. While many of these services are catered to a UN clientele, such as advising on UNN membership, leadership and joint programming, others support a wider nutrition sphere of action, such as nutrition advocacy activities which may be pursued with government and other SUN networks. Where applicable, stakeholders may draw upon UNN analytics to frame and guide data-driven, collective nutrition action.

Learn more about the nature of these services below. 

UNN Membership

UNN is rallying a growing number of UN agencies (16 and counting!) at the country level in pursuit of positive nutrition outcomes. This is essential to employing a holistic approach to malnutrition that addresses its multifaceted root causes. The UN Nutrition Inventory is a vehicle for expanding membership to other United Nations agencies in order to maximize the impact of singular support schemes conducted by UN entities.

UNN Leadership

Senior leadership, such as UN Resident Coordinators (UNRCs) and UN Agency Country Representatives, are encouraged to chair the UNN in countries. This provides a mechanism for tabling nutrition at United Nations Country Team (UNCT) meetings, helping to promote joint action within the UN family not just for achieving nutrition results but also for supporting sustainable development more broadly. In recent years, the UNN Secretariat has stepped up its outreach to UNRCs to engage them in the nutrition agenda as UNN chairs, champions and change agents, seizing strategic opportunities conferred through UN reform.

Integrating Nutrition into Joint UN Frameworks

Joint United Nations frameworks, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), formerly called the United Nations Development Assistance Framework or UNDAF, provide a blueprint for UN support to governments in order to help them reach their targets within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such they are a means for mainstreaming nutrition into the UN assistance portfolio across sectors and United Nations entities operating at the country level. The UNN is increasingly working with 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’.

Findings from country-specific UN Nutrition Inventory exercises
Country reviews: Positioning nutrition in the UNDAF - Coming soon!
UN Network helps country actors understand how nutrition is interlinked and mutually reinforces the SDGs, paving the way for collective action
Below are some examples that depict the vast and complex nutrition landscape, underscoring the need for integrated and cohordinated approaches.
The UN Network considers nutrition to be a common thread in the SDGs and provides a platform to bridge diverse workstreams in pursuit of shared goals.
Common Nutrition Advocacy & Communications

National Nutrition Advocacy and Communications Strategies articulate a common framework to guide how actors communicate about nutrition with different audiences and through different communication channels. The UNN supports the development of these strategies and related activities such as sensitization of parliamentarians, sometimes drawing upon its neutral UNN-REACH facilitators, to support government staff broker between sectors and stakeholder groups.

Embedding Nutrition into Governance Frameworks

UNN provides technical and facilitation support for the development of national policies, strategies, plans and legislation that are nutrition savvy. Be it the national development plan, the national multi-sectoral nutrition policy or sector-specific strategies and plans, UNN brings together and consolidates the expertise of individual UN entities to align behind national priorities. It also provides support to governments for employing inclusive processes that engage actors from different sectors and stakeholders, leveraging findings from UNN analytics for a data-driven approach. This helps countries to devise cohesive governance frameworks that are mutually reinforcing for nutrition gains.

UN Joint Programming

UN joint programming on nutrition, including UN Joint Programmes, encapsulates the spirit of collective action within the UN family. UNN is increasingly serving as a platform to facilitate UN joint programming. 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 to design/formulation, implementation and M&E/reporting activities.

Establishment & Strengthening of Nutrition Coordination Platforms

Nutrition coordination mechanisms take various forms: multi-stakeholder; multi-sectoral; or a combination of the two. They provide a vehicle for promoting and operationalizing an integrated approach to nutrition at the country level, in line with the 2030 Agenda. UNN is an integral part of these platforms and directly assists SUN Focal Points and other government staff with the establishment and strengthening of them at national and sub-national levels, capitalizing on the presence of UNN-REACH facilitators, where possible.