Despite improvements in recent years, the prevalence of undernutrition among women and children in Myanmar remains unacceptably high. An average of one in three children are stunted and about 8% are acutely malnourished. Micronutrient deficiencies are common among infants, young children and pregnant women. More than 80% of children 6 to 23 months of age and 70% of pregnant women are anemic.
In April 2013, the Government of the Union of Myanmar signed up to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Movement, demonstrating high-level ownership and commitment to delivering sustainable solutions for addressing the county’s persistently high levels of malnutrition. After an official launch of the SUN Movement in February 2014, the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) was established and the first meeting was organized in May 2014. In February 2015, the SUN Civil Society Alliance (CSA) Myanmar officially launched, with the aim of uniting civil society organizations (CSOs) to ensure a voice is given to a range of small, independent, regional and national organizations to further the aims of the SUN Movement.
The MSP brings together the national coordinating platforms such as the Central Board for Food and Nutrition (CBFN), National Nutrition Center (NNC), and sub-national coordination mechanisms with other non-governmental actors: United Nations (UN) agencies, CSOs, development partners, and the private sector. Additionally, the President recently established the Myanmar National Committee on Food and Nutrition Security (NCFNS). The new architecture of the NCFNS presents an opportunity for sustained impact of the MSP by integrating and elevating ongoing initiatives in the country.
The National Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition (NPAFN) (2011-2015) has been reviewed by the NCFNS to inform the development of the new, multi-sectoral Myanmar National Action Plan on Food and Nutrition Security (MNAPFNS) with a 10-year vision to reduce undernutrition and food insecurity. The MNAPFNS brings together several line ministries (National Planning and Economic Development, Agriculture and Irrigation, Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, Health, Social Welfare and Finance) and represents the agreed-upon Common Results Framework (CRF) for nutrition, with a monitoring and evaluation framework and key indicators.
Other important policy developments include:
Emphasis on nutrition in the National Comprehensive Development Plan (NDCP 2011-2030);
Extension of maternity leave to six months for civil servants under the 2012 Social Security Law;
Endorsement of the Order of Marketing of Formulated Food for Infants and Young Children (i.e. the Code) under the National Food Law (2014);
Endorsement of the new Social Protection Strategy Plan (2014), which prioritizes nutrition and includes provisions for women and children.
Given the achievements at the country level and the development of a new SUN Movement Strategy for 2016-2020, it was decided that the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the SUN CSA Myanmar should be revised in order to leverage past achievements and upcoming opportunities to enhance the enabling environment for nutrition in Myanmar.