The ACC/SCN is the focal point for harmonizing the policies and activities in nutrition of the United Nations system. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), which is comprised of the heads of the UN Agencies, recommended the establishment of the Sub-Committee on Nutrition in 1977, following the World Food Conference (with particular reference to Resolution V on food and nutrition). This was approved by the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC). The role of the SCN is to serve as a coordinating mechanism, for exchange of information and technical guidance, and to act dynamically to help the UN respond to nutritional problems.
The UN members of the SCN are FAO, IAEA, IFAD, ILO, UN, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNRISD, UNU, WFP, WHO and the World Bank. From the outset, representatives of bilateral donor agencies have participated actively in SCN activities. The SCN is assisted by the Advisory Group on Nutrition (AGN), with six to eight experienced individuals drawn from relevant disciplines and with wide geographical representation.
The Secretariat is hosted by WHO in Geneva.
The SCN undertakes a range of activities to meet its mandate. Annual meetings have representation from the concerned UN Agencies, from 10 to 20 donor agencies, the AGN, as well as invitees on specific topics; these meetings begin with symposia on subjects of current importance for policy. The SCN brings certain such matters to the attention of the ACC. The SCN sponsors working groups on inter-sectoral and sector-specific topics.
The SCN compiles and disseminates information on nutrition,
reflecting the shared views of the agencies concerned. Regular reports on the
world nutrition situation are issued, and flows of external resources to address
nutrition problems are assessed. State-of-the-Art papers are produced to
summarize current knowledge on selected topics. SCN News is normally published
twice a year. As decided by the Sub-Committee, initiatives are taken to promote
coordinated activities - inter-agency programmes, meetings, publications - aimed
at reducing malnutrition, primarily in developing countries.