Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Department of Planning and Development and UNICEF has formally launched a Secretariat for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in Gilgit-Baltistan that will support all levels of government for bringing together governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers in a collective effort to improve nutrition.
In line with the global commitment, Pakistan was the 34th country to joined the SUN movement in January 2013 and agreed to establish SUN Secretariats at national and provincial levels. Gilgit-Baltistan, being the 5th interim province, joins the SUN movement by integrating its efforts with international stakeholders and adopting the strategy of multispectral nutrition strategy in the region.
Addressing the SUN launching event, Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman said that in line with the national commitment for adoption of Scaling Up Nutrition strategy in early 2013, GB government has fully owned the movement at provincial level and activities have been initiated through the establishment of SUN Unit at Planning and Development Department.
He added that sectoral stakeholders have been brought together to work more effectively through multi-sectorial platforms and plans are being aligned with common objectives and resources are being allocated in ADPs to support nutrition actions.
He further said that Pakistan in general and Gilgit Baltistan in particular face many challenges in the formulation and implementation of nutrition policies/strategies due to diverse constrains to addressing nutrition issues. It is indeed very disturbing that 52.6 percent of under five years old child population in GB is stunted.
This clearly indicates that Gilgit-Baltistan have faced longstanding malnutrition over a number of years. Traditionally nutrition is considered the domain of department of health but recent research and development has revealed causes as being multifaceted. In Gilgit-Baltistan post devolution strategy has coincided with adoption of inter-sectoral nutrition strategy designed jointly by development partners and expertise from planning and development.
With development partner’s technical support there will be holistic focus both in all nutrition relevant sectors besides health i.e. Agriculture, Education, WASH, private sector, livestock, fisheries, social protection and women development and include all nutrition friendly activities as advised in the strategic document GB.
Chief Secretary GB Dr Kazim Niaz in his opening remarks said that SUN unit is considered a country-led global effort of one Thousand Days Organization during which partners put proven solutions into action in communities around the world.
It has also been learned that economic impact has also been noted to be drastic leading to three percent loss of GDP as compared to existing energy crisis of for two percent loss of GDP. Addressing the economic impact of malnutrition, he said that a small fraction of one percent investment can lead to a return of 16 percent.—APP