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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is on the cusp of history on becoming a candidate for the presidency of the World Bank, as an African and as a woman. Riding on the wave of this notable achievement is a new appointment from the United nations to tackle child malnutrition.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was on Tuesday named by the United Nations Secretary-Geneeral, Ban Ki-moon, as a member of a 27-member body to tackle childhood malnutrition. The United Nations’s Department of Public Information, on Tuesday, stated that Dr. Iweala would join some heads of state and other reputable individuals as part of team named Scaling Up Nutrition. The panel would focus on improving nutrition as a key to progress in health and development. Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) is a global push for action and investment to improve maternal and child nutrition, and overall health. It is committed to advancing the strength and security of nations by improving maternal and child nutrition. The group is to represent the many countries, organisations, and sectors who work to promote child nutrition, and to serve as a strategic guide for the global movement against malnutrition. SUN helps governments, civil society, businesses, development agencies, international organisations and foundations to synergize their support to communities as they reduce malnutrition. The Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon explained that this was the first time many leaders, from so many countries and fields, had agreed to work together to improve nutrition. “The SUN movement gives all of us, including the UN, an opportunity to support countries in their efforts to end hunger and malnutrition,” he said. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be joining the group which includes heads of state from countries that have prioritized efforts to increase child nutrition, as well as representatives of civil society, business, and UN system organizations who have aligned their resources to help countries under the SUN to achieve success. The major role of the team is to ensure that countries at the heart of the movement are supported as they work to create concrete and sustainable improvements in nutrition. A total of 27 countries have so far signed up to the SUN movement and according to the UN, more countries are set to join in the coming months. David Nabarro, Coordinator of the SUN Movement said: “This is a historic moment for nutrition. Today a group of world leaders pledges to work together to improve the nutrition of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children. Their two-year commitment to SUN illustrates the urgency and priority that these leaders place on alleviating malnutrition, as well as a recognition of the incredible impact that improved nutrition could have on the future of both individuals and nations.” Some others appointed alongside Okonjo-Iweala to head the SUN project include:
  • Nadine Heredia, First Lady of Peru
  • Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique
  • Babu Ram Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal
  • Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania
  • Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD Civil Society Organizations
  • Nahas Angula, Prime Minister of Namibia
  • Nina Sardjunani, Deputy Minister of Development Planning of Indonesia
As Okonjo-Iweala, and Nigeria, waits for the result of the interview process for the presidency of the World Bank, this appointment by the UN confirms her place in the world of international economics and development.

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This article was first published on 11th April 2012 and updated on May 10th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

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