Dili, October 13th, 2020 – The Government of Timor-Leste joined officially, this Tuesday, the Nutrition Improvement Movement, Scaling Up Nutrition, or “SUN Movement”, in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance, in Dili.
Through a recorded video message, transmitted at this ceremony, the Chief Executive affirmed Timor-Leste’s commitment an improving people’s living conditions, especially their well-being in the education, health and food areas, and in the access to basic services and infrastructure, thereby contributing to the country’s economic development and stability.
“This commitment encourages us in our strategic commitment of fighting poverty, child and family malnutrition, which justifies our joining to the Global Nutrition Improvement Movement, known as SUN Movement or Scaling Up Nutrition Movement”.
The head of the Government believes that, with the SUN Movement support, an important contribution can be made to improve children’s nutrition, to contribute to the malnutrition and infant mortality rate reduction, and to ensure the development of a healthy and active society, with well-nourished children and prosperous families.
Lastly, the Head of the Government addressed special gratitude to the SUN Movement Coordinator, Mrs. Gerda Verburg, Assistant of the United Nations General Secretary, who accepted Timor-Leste’s accession to this movement.
On September 2nd, 2020, the Council of Ministers approved a resolution, authorizing Timor-Leste to join the SUN Movement. Thus, on September 21st, the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, sent a letter to the SUN Movement Coordinator, Mrs. Gerda Verburg, in Geneva, and on October 7th there was confirmation that Timor-Leste could be the 62nd member of the SUN Movement.
In the letter sent to the SUN Movement Coordinator, the Head of the Government explained that, with the Government’s efforts and the support of development partners, some progress has already been made, for example, in reducing stunting in children under five years of age, from 58% in 2010 to 50% in 2013, or in the reduction of cases of underweight (wasting), from 19% in 2010 to 11% in 2013. Timor-Leste has also managed to reduce the mortality rate related to malnutrition. There is positive progress in terms of political commitments and in terms of programming and actions susceptible to malnutrition. Despite this, greater effort, joint work, and good collaboration between all sectors are needed, to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the 2011-2030 National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), since Timor-Leste intends, by 2030, to reduce the stunting rate to 25.1% and the underweight (Wasting) rate to 3%, as well as to improve in all areas related to malnutrition.
The Scaling Up Nutrition “SUN Movement” is a political movement, established in 2010 by government entities, agencies, and organizations, founded on the principle that everyone has the right to adequate food and nutrition.
The permanent secretariat of this movement is based in Geneva, and so far, it already has 61 acceding countries, working together to find the best methods and, in this way, to solve the problems of malnutrition in each member country.
There are currently two focal points of this organizations in Timor-Leste. Mr. Filipe da Costa, coordinator of the Civil Society Support Office of the Prime Minister’s Office, and Dr. Olinda dos Reis, from the Ministry of Health.
The accession ceremony was organized by the Office of Civil Society Support of the Prime Minister’s Office, in partnership with United Nations agencies UNRC, FAO, WFP, UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, and ILO.
The event was attended by the Minister of Health, Mrs. Odete Freitas Belo, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Pedro Reis, representatives of the World Bank, ADB, European Union, DFAT, ambassadors of friendly countries residing in Dili, general directors of the ministerial lines and members of civil society. END/M-PMO