Ahead of knowing whether she will head the World Bank, the coordinating Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was yesterday appointed by the UN Secretary-General, along with 26 other global leaders, to head a worldwide effort to address child malnutrition.
According to an announcement from the United Nation's Department of Public Information yesterday, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon appointed 27 individuals who included some heads of state and other reputable individuals to focus on improving nutrition as key to progress in health and development.
The group is to represent the many countries, organizations and sectors working to improve nutrition, and serve as strategic guides for the global movement, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), which is committed to advancing the strength and security of nations by improving maternal and child nutrition. SUN is a global push for action and investment to improve maternal and child nutrition.
"Never before have so many leaders, from so many countries and fields, agreed to work together to improve nutrition," said Secretary-General Ki-moon, as he explained that "the SUN movement gives all of us, including the UN, an opportunity to support countries in their efforts to end hunger and malnutrition."
Okonjo-Iweala will be joining the lead group which includes heads of state from countries that have prioritized efforts to scale up nutrition, as well as representatives of the donor, civil society, business and UN system organizations that are aligning resources to help SUN countries drive progress.
The group's role is to ensure that the countries at the heart of the movement are supported as they work to create tangible and sustainable improvements in nutrition. In addition to providing strategic oversight, the group will help to mobilize support and strengthen both coordination and accountability within the movement.
Twenty-seven countries have so far signed up to the SUN movement and, according to the UN, more countries are set to join in the coming months.
SUN helps governments, civil society, businesses, development agencies, international organizations and foundations to synergize their support to communities as they reduce malnutrition - and demonstrate their results.
"This is a historic moment for nutrition," said David Nabarro, Coordinator of the SUN Movement."Today a group of world leaders pledges to work together to improve the nutrition of the world's poorest and most vulnerable children. Their two-year commitment to SUN illustrates the urgency and priority that these leaders place on alleviating malnutrition, as well as a recognition of the incredible impact that improved nutrition could have on the future of both individuals and nations."
Others appointed alongside Okonjo-Iweala to head the SUN project include Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Nahas Angula, Prime Minister of Namibia; Babu Ram Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal; Nina Sardjunani, Deputy Minister of Development Planning of Indonesia; Nadine Heredia, First Lady of Per and Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Civil Society Organizations.