United Nations System
Standing Committee on Nutrition

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Vision and Mandate

The SCN vision is a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where there are no longer impediments to human development.

The mandate of the SCN is to promote cooperation among UN agencies and partner organizations in support of community, national, regional, and international efforts to end malnutrition in all of its forms in this generation. It will do this by refining the direction, increasing the scale and strengthening the coherence and impact of actions against malnutrition world wide, and raise awareness of nutrition problems and mobilize commitment to solve them at global, regional and national levels.

The principles which guide SCN actions include:

  • supporting country ownership and leadership of the development agenda
  • working within the global development framework (for example Millennium Development Goals)
  • promoting human rights based development and good governance
  • promoting the integration of nutrition in the national, regional, and global development agendas.

Our new Strategic Framework can be found here.
Our Action Plan 2006-2010 and Biennium Budget 2006-2007 can be found here.

Note on the establishment of the SCN:
In 1977, following the World Food Conference (with particular reference to Resolution V on food and nutrition) the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), comprised of the heads of the UN Agencies, recommended the establishment of the Sub-Committee on Nutrition. This was approved by the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC). Following the reform of the ACC in 2001, the ACC/SCN was renamed the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition or simply the SCN. The SCN reports to the Chief Executives Board of the UN, the successor of the ACC.

The UN members of the SCN are ECA, FAO, IAEA, IFAD, ILO, UN, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNHCHR, UNICEF, UNRISD, UNU, WFP, WHO, and the World Bank. IFPRI and ADB are also members.  From the outset, representatives of bilateral partners have participated actively in SCN activities as do nongovernmental organizations.  The SCN Secretariat is hosted by WHO in Geneva.

Ms. Veneman is the ninth chair since the SCN was established in 1977 (see side bar for previous chairpersons). As Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms Veneman fully shares the SCN’s vision to promote cooperation among UN agencies and partner organizations in support of community, national, regional and international efforts to end malnutrition. Ms Veneman looks forward to working closely with all members and activists of SCN in the common endeavour to build a world free of hunger and malnutrition for the world’s children.

The SCN Secretariat is guided by a Steering Committee which holds monthly conference calls with a set agenda, Committee members regularly communicate with the wider SCN body on its work, actions and draft proposals.

The SCN undertakes a range of activities to meet its mandate. Annual meetings have representation from those mentioned above as well as academia -- a one-day Symposium is held during the annual meeting, focusing on a subject of current importance for policy. The SCN convenes working groups on specialized areas of nutrition; currently there are nine working groups in areas ranging from breastfeeding and complementary feeding, nutrition of school aged children to capacity building.

The SCN’s reports on the world nutrition situation, published every two to three years, are authoritative sources of information to guide the international community in its nutrition work. Nutrition Policy Papers and the SCN News summarise current knowledge on selected topics. Quarterly bulletins on the Nutritional Information in Crisis Situations (formerly RNIS) are also published in collaboration with a large network of NGOs.


In its 29-year history the SCN has had nine Chairs:

1977  G. Kermode, FAO
1978 - 1981  Richard Heyward, UNICEF
1982 - 1983  John R. Evans, World Bank
1984 - 1985  Moise Mensah, IFAD
1986 - 1995 Abraham Horwitz, PAHO (Emeritus)
1996 - 2000 Sir Richard Jolly (UNDP)
2001 - 2002 A. Namanga Ngongi (Special Representative of the Secretary General to the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
2002 - 2006 Catherine Bertini, Professor of Practice in Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Formerly United Nations Under Secretary-General for Management
2006 - present Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF