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Chairman's Round-up

This issue of SCN News deals with nutrition and the environment. We trust you will find the information contained here both provocative and useful. The Secretariat chooses feature topics for SCN News from suggestions sent to us by our readership. With two major global conferences held in the past two months on environmental concerns, as well as increased media attention to climate change and global warming, environmental pollution and safety of the food supply, we felt it appropriate to set out a series of articles on the linkages with nutrition. We are especially grateful to Rainer Gross and Noel Solomons for their spirited guidance during both the planning and preparation of this issue.

We also include a report of the main presentations made during our 27th annual session: keynotes addresses by Kul Gautam, Eduardo Doryan and F.H. Abed. In addition, summaries of the recommendations for action arising from our Working Groups are provided. The Working Groups are at the heart of the SCN - its driving force. Through information sharing and networking, they identify critical issues for further attention by SCN participating bodies. This section of SCN News will appear regularly.

Recent months have seen a number of important appointments. Rita Bhatia, who served as senior nutritionist at UNHCR over the past nine years, has joined the World Food Programme in Rome. Rita brings a wealth of experience in food and nutrition in emergencies and humanitarian assistance operations. Rita represented UNHCR on the SCN since the early 90s. She played a leadership role in the Working Group on Nutrition and Emergencies, where she and Anne Callanan moved the agenda on nutrition in emergencies steadfastly forward. The SCN Secretariat especially appreciates her stalwart support to the quarterly Refugee Nutrition Information bulletin. Rita is replaced at UNHCR in Geneva, by Zahra Mirghani. Before Geneva Zahra worked as the UNHCR nutritionist in Tanzania and will bring her considerable field experience to her new role of Senior Officer for food and nutrition. We welcome Zahra to the SCN family.

David Alnwick, a friend and strong supporter of the SCN over the years, leaves UNICEF this month to join WHO where he will head the Roll-back Malaria Programme. David joined UNICEF in east Africa almost 20 years ago, and spent the past decade at UNICEF headquarters, where he served as senior micronutrient advisor, chief of the nutrition cluster, and subsequently chief of the health cluster. David has been an outstanding and articulate advocate for nutrition throughout his professional career. WHO also recently announced the appointment of Professor Pekka Puska to the Noncommunicable Diseases cluster, where he will be Director of Health Promotion and NCDs Prevention. Professor Puska is from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, and over the past several decades directed the North Karelia project. This renowned project gave major support to the notion that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is substantially influenced by changes in the diet. Professor Puska will be a strong voice for nutrition in WHO's work in chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

There have been staff changes too in the SCN Secretariat Dr Arabella Duffield, who has served as Coordinator of the Refugee Nutrition Information System over the past 18 months, left the Secretariat in August. Arabella joined CONCERN as a nutritionist and is currently working in Ethiopia. Arabella's high energy, good humour and professionalism were very much appreciated. Brian Jones joined the Secretariat in December, carrying on this important work. Brian has an MSc in public health nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and has most recently been working as the nutrition and food security coordinator with Action Contre la Faim in Indonesia. Dr Judith Pojda, who worked as SCN News Editor since January 1999, left the Secretariat in October. In addition to editing SCN News, Judith also wrote and edited the recently-published Nutrition Policy Paper on low birthweight. Judith brought to the Secretariat fresh new ideas on the communication of nutrition messages.

As we go to press, I have just learned that my predecessor and past chair of the SCN, Dr Richard Jolly, has been awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. The award is made for outstanding service to international affairs. The announcement will appear in the New Year's honour list in the UK. We congratulate Sir Richard most heartily.

As many of you already know, our 28th session will take place in Nairobi, April 2 to 6. The SCN symposium to be held on April 3 will focus on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS. It will be open to the public. The Working Groups, which meet April 4 and 5, are open to all those with professional involvement in nutrition. I look forward to seeing you then, if not before.

Namanga Ngongi

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