Institutional arrangements (2/3)

Features of the policy component

The identification of a host organisation for the policy component of NIPN is a key success factor of the NIPN. Preferably this organisation receives high-level political support, is mandated to coordinate the multisectoral nutrition system and is in demand of strategic information.

Often the mandate or responsibility for nutrition is spread over a number of institutions, which makes strong coordination and a cross-sectoral mandate even more important.

In numerous countries, the main coordinating body for nutrition activities is housed in an institution with cross-sectoral mandates, such as the Office of the President or the Prime Minister, a National Nutrition Council or a Ministry of Planning and Development. If this is not the case, explicit high-level political sponsorship may need to be obtained.

The importance of the NIPN strategic lead institution having a specific mandate for multisectoral nutrition coordination is especially evident where it translates into a higher degree of ownership of the NIPN operational cycle of questions, analysis and communication of findings.

Potential pitfalls
High-level political support is necessary, but can also become a risk when political leadership changes. Yet political will and country ownership go hand in hand, and country ownership is one of the core principles of NIPN. Continuous advocacy and awareness raising of multisectoral nutrition and the role of NIPN is necessary to establish support across a broad political platform.