|SCN News, Number 14 - Meeting the Nutrition Challenge (ACC/SCN, 1997, 60 p.)|
First, a warm and hearty welcome to Dr Sonya Rabeneck, SCN's new Technical Secretary. Sonya took up her post full-time in February, though she had been helping part-time before that, along with stalwart support from Jane Hedley who kept the SCN functioning during the months between the departure of John Mason in July 1996 and the arrival of Sonya. Many thanks Jane!
Sonya brings many strengths to the SCN - a doctorate in nutrition from Cornell, ten years as Senior Nutrition Advisor at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a period in Rome with the World Food Programme (WFP), and numerous consultancies for UN agencies. Sonya has a strong reputation for commitment and successful advocacy for nutrition, well demonstrated by the creative support and initiatives for nutrition displayed by Canada during the years in which Sonya was responsible for these activities. Sonya has taken a two-year leave from CIDA. Sonya, we welcome you for the talents you bring, together with your clear commitment to work to achieve effective partnership for nutrition among all the SCN members.
Let me formally bid farewell and offer many thanks to John Mason, who from 1988 to 1996 served as Technical Secretary to the SCN. Over this period, John established the various activities on which the reputation of the SCN rests - the major reports and updates on the World Nutrition Situation, the state-of-the-art publications on many specialist topics as well as regular features such as the refugee nutrition reports. With Dr Abraham Horwitz as Chairman, the SCN became a shining example of professional leadership in international nutrition. John we wish you every success in the next phase of your career.
Since the last SCN News, we have witnessed a highlight in the world of international nutrition. I refer of course to the World Food Summit of last November, organized by FAO in Rome, and which, for a few days, made nutrition a matter of front page news. Almost all the UN agencies were present in Rome, the Summit's documentation and commitments gave us all material on which to build in the years ahead.
The next global event will be technical rather than political -the forthcoming International Congress of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) in Montreal, 28 July - 1 August. The SCN will be present in force, with Urban Jonsson and Jean-Pierre Habicht holding a three-day workshop on Public Nutrition just before the IUNS opens, 24-26 July. Also, the SCN will hold a meeting of the Advisory Group on Nutrition as well as a first meeting of the newly formed Commission on Nutrition for the 21st Century, described in more detail on pages 3-5 of this newsletter. During the IUNS Congress, the SCN will be making two presentations and many SCN members will contribute individually in various sessions.
I must also comment on the annual Session of the SCN, held in Kathmandu, Nepal in March this year. By common consent this was a most useful and productive session, starting with a week-end review of progress and conclusions of six working groups, and moving through a full week of discussion and decisions, reports of which have already been sent to all SCN members. The full report of the Symposium on Nutrition and Poverty is well in hand and its publication in the SCN's Nutrition Policy Discussion Paper series, as number 16, is expected later this year. The report will include the extremely stimulating Abraham Horwitz Lecture on Nutrition and Poverty in South Asia presented by Dr Siddiq R. Osmani of the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, UK.
The most important decision taken by the SCN in Kathmandu was to set up a Commission on Nutrition in the 21st Century. The stimulus to do this was the realization that general progress in reducing malnutrition has slowed considerably in the 1990s in most regions of the developing world in spite of accelerating progress in some areas of action such as iodization of salt to counteract iodine deficiency. A first meeting of the Commission will be held in Montreal, and all members of the SCN present in Montreal are invited to participate in the meeting.
As your Chairman, I hope very much that all members of the SCN will contribute to the work of the Commission by providing documentation and ideas as well as any special support the Commission may request. As decided in Kathmandu, a draft report of the Commission will be circulated in advance of next year's annual SCN Session - the topic will be discussed in Oslo at the Session. The work of the Commission will, I hope, be one of the significant contributions of the SCN to placing nutrition and action to improve malnutrition on the world map as a key goal of the 21st century.