The SUN Business Network (SBN) Pakistan held a joint meeting with its members, co-convenors and SUN Focal Point on 25th June 2019 in Bhurban, Pakistan, to inaugurate its new Executive Committee, Chair and Co-Chair for the term 2019-2021.
The event started with a recitation from the Holy Quran, followed by the keynote address by SUN Focal Point and Chief of Nutrition, Ministry of Planning & Development, Mr Muhammad Aslam Shaheen. Since joining the SUN Movement in 2013, Pakistan has made significant progress in developing multi-stakeholder platforms, coordination mechanisms and networks. Despite this, Mr Shaheen noted that the burden of malnutrition continues to hold Pakistan back from achieving its development potential and poor nutrition has serious implications to the economy, resulting in an estimated 2-3% GDP loss each year. In addition, the 2018 National Nutrition Survey indicated that there is a need to further intensify nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific activities to see significant improvements in addressing malnutrition. The SUN Focal Point said that the government is cognizant of the severity of malnutrition in the country and is committed to work with the private sector to ensure scalable and sustainable actions are taken to end malnutrition.
The SUN Business Network in Pakistan currently has 36 members signed up to support the nutrition agenda of the government. The network is co-convened by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the World Food Programme (WFP), and representatives from both organisations took the opportunity to congratulate the new Executive Committee members and thank former members for their leadership and support. Both representatives also address the business network members, emphasising the need for business engagement and committing their continued support in providing a platform which clarifies the role of business and identifies pathways towards actions and impact to improve nutrition in Pakistan.
The following Executive Committee members were elected through an online voting system:
Theme 1: Food System
- Mr R.S.N. Janjua, CEO, SoyPak
- Dr Muhammad Nasir, Manager Scientific Affairs, Engro Foods (Chair)
- Mr Sagar Mehmood Khan, Manager Quality Assurance, Metro Cash&Carry
Theme 2: Food Fortification
- Mr Ismail Suttar, CEO, HUB SALT (Co-Chair)
- Mahmood Hassan, Rasul Flour Mills
Theme 3: Food Supplementation
- Danie Laning, General Manager, Nutrition Division, Ismail Industries
- Masood Ahmad, Manager Marketing, Asian Food Industries
The voting for the Chair and Co-Chair was also completed during the event, with Dr Muhammad Nasir and Mr Ismail Suttar being elected respectively for the term 2019-2021.
In his inaugural speech, Dr Nasir thanked the Executive Committee for entrusting him to lead the SBN and reinforced the network’s commitment to bring the private sector and government together to address malnutrition. He stressed that the SBN has an important role to play because businesses provide food to billions of people every day through established supply chains. The private sector, through the SBN platform, will work in close collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure better access to important nutrients, reduce the production of unhealthy foods and change consumption practices that create a burden on public health.
Mr Suttar also thanked the Executive Committee for electing him as Co-Chair. He credited the government, in particular Prime Minister Imran Khan, for making high level commitments and encouraging the network to work with all sectors and stakeholders to address this issue. He also committed to increase the membership of SBN and enhance its visibility through effective communication.