A vision without a task is but a dream
A task without a vision is drudgery
A vision with a task is the hope of the world
Equally, it should stand to encourage all of us in the SCN as we look ahead to the challenges of the 21st Century. Much of Sonya's time, with Jane and her other indefatigable supporters in the SCN office in Geneva, is now given to supporting the Commission which is preparing the report Nutrition 21: a Vision for the Millenium.
Many of you attended the briefing led by Phil James in Montreal in July. Since then the Commission has held a full meeting in London in September. This mapped out the approach and identified topics on which background papers and notes were needed. The Commission's next meeting is planned for January 9th after which a first draft report will be prepared, ready for review at the full SCN meeting in Oslo, March 30 to April 2,1998.
This task is one of the most important the SCN has undertaken. Although the SCN meeting in Oslo will provide a full opportunity for detailed discussion, I hope all SCN members and supporters will feel free to submit notes or ideas before that date. If Vision 21 for nutrition is to succeed, it needs to draw on the mass of insights, experiences, understandings and commitments of all us committed to nutrition.
An important element of process was discussed by the Commission's first meeting in London. Their proposal is that the meeting in Oslo should be followed by two or three regional meetings - the first in Africa in 1998, the second in Asia in 1998 or 1999, possibly another in Latin America. The purpose of these regional meetings would be to elaborate the vision for nutrition in terms of the more specific challenges and the opportunities of each region.
They would also provide an opportunity to review the perspectives of the vision in a regional context. I hope that some of the SCN's efforts in the next two years can be to participate in and support these regional efforts.
All of this will provide, I hope, a new enthusiasm and excitement for the work of the SCN. As the Call to Arms Statement (see SCN News No. 14) made clear, we face big and mounting challenges. At the same time, we can point to real and substantive successes, with examples from all regions of the world. Now is therefore the time to ask how we can carry forward these elements of progress into a broader front of advance.
I should mention that in New York, we are conscious that the advance needs to be wider still. Our Secretary-General has called for all parts of the UN system to be engaged in a major effort to reduce and eventually eradicate the worst aspects of poverty worldwide. Malnutrition is one of the sharpest signs of the pain and deprivation of poverty. Nutrition and the work of the SCN is recognized to be a major part of this global effort.
Let me take this chance to say thanks and farewell to Jak Jervell, completing his sixth year on the AGN, SCN's Advisory Group on Nutrition. The AGN has provided real leadership and wisdom over this period and I thank Jak for his own contributions. Jak brought to the AGN not only scientific excellence but enormous enthusiasm for nutrition challenges and, specifically, the critical importance of good nutrition in prevention of chronic disease. We will not lose touch with him - but his role will be changing.
See you in Oslo, if not before.