GNC External engagement supports delivery of the GNC Strategic Response Plan by engaging with a variety of external stakeholders, namely other clusters and inter-cluster coordination mechanisms, Cluster Lead Agency (UNICEF); donors, development actors, and others.

Inter-cluster / sector collaboration (ICSC)

The Global Food Security and Nutrition Clusters have made concerted efforts to strengthen their collaboration since 2012 through the Inter-Cluster Nutrition Working Group (ICNWG). This group has since provided strong motivation for closer bilateral collaboration. However, the original format of the ICNWG as a sub-group of the Global Food Security Cluster (GFSC), co-led by the GFSC and GNC and focusing on nutrition sensitive programming, has proved to be a challenge for strong and sustained commitment from WASH and Health clusters and partners.

The Health, WASH, and Nutrition cluster coordinators have therefore indicated the need for a more neutral and balanced approach, such as the desire for commonly agreed objectives versus nutrition sensitive approaches, to ensure stronger and more effective ICSC. Furthermore, it is believed that the needs of vulnerable populations served by the GNC and partners may benefit from more sustained convergence of efforts by multiple sectors, beyond nutrition and food security. This neutral and balanced approach has been achieved through an Inter-sectoral Platform (ISP) for collaboration. The ISP is complementary to the work of OCHA’s Global Cluster Coordinators Group (GCCG), to expand collaborative efforts among three or more clusters on commonly agreed objectives at global, regional, and country level. Some of the initiatives currently being discussed and actively worked on by the ISP include the implementation of the GWC’s WASH roadmap for WASH in Public Health and Nutrition; rapid scaling up of ISC in South Sudan and other countries at risk of famine; and initial discussions for the development of guidance and implementation plans for multi-sectoral approaches to prevent and address cholera.

The GNC has now formed an ICSC working group (GNC ISCWG) to:

  • assist the GNC in developing a sectoral perspective and priorities for how best to collaborate bilaterally and multilaterally, as part of the ISP.
  • support the GNC in maximizing opportunities for more effective and efficient collaborations across sectors for the achievement of objectives commonly agreed with other clusters, at the country and global levels; and
  • support national level adaptation and implementation of guidance and plans. The ISCWG is comprised of representatives from GNC partners and country-level coordination teams with expertise and interest in nutrition-sensitive programming and ICSC.

Working group resources

Engaging ICSC visuals
All about ICSC - guidance to help national cluster/ sector coordination teams initiate, implement and monitor ICSC at country level.
Short explainer videos on ICSC - what it is, why it's important and a country example.


Inter-cluster engagement

The primary inter-cluster engagement of the GNC is with the Health Cluster, WASH Cluster and the Food Security cluster, however GNC engages on a regular basis with other clusters and intercluster coordination mechanisms, such as OCHA and Global Cluster Coordination Group


with the following objectives:

  • To develop a framework for join assessment, analysis and prioritisation to ensure that crisis affected population needs are addressed
  • To engage in joint response planning and analysis to address the needs of the crisis affected population
  • To build common operational frameworks to ensure that the nutrition and other relevant clusters are prepared to jointly respond to typical scenarios
  • To undertake joint capacity building to harmonise humanitarian coordination and increase efficiency.

GNC with the Global Food Security Cluster established an Inter-Cluster Nutrition Working Group (ICNWG) to provide technical direction, guidance and coordination solutions to the Nutrition and Food Security clusters at country level on key areas of synergy related to nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions. All forms of malnutrition (acute, chronic, micronutrient deficiency and obesity) present in humanitarian crises are covered by the group. A high level of consideration is also be given to prevention and preparedness along with treatment of acute undernutrition. Given the rationale behind its work, the ICNWG has efforts underway to integrate the Health and WASH clusters to further contribute to the achievement of this joint outcome.

External Engagement

Additional information:

Cluster Lead Agency engagement

UNICEF is a Cluster Lead Agency for the Nutrition Cluster at global level and leading or co-leading nutrition clusters at national and sub-national levels. UNICEF has invested a lot in its role as a CLA since activation of clusters in 2006, however a number of challenges that impact functioning of the clusters still remain. One of the significant achievements of the UNICEF role as a CLA was producing in 2015 a Cluster Coordination Guidance for Country offices that outlines roles and responsibilities of UNICEF’s staff in supporting and leading cluster approach at national level.

GNC - CLA engagement objectives:

  • To undertake joint advocacy (with other UNICEF-led clusters and Area of Responsibility) to ensure that clusters are adequately resourced at global and country level.
  • To improve preparedness in national nutrition platforms in highly vulnerable and fragile countries.
  • To improve links with UNICEF programme division to ensure better provision of technical support and leadership at global and country level.

Additional information:

Donor partnership engagement

To ensure delivery of its strategic plan, GNC engages with donors at both global and country level with the following objectives:

  • To demonstrate value added of coordination for better outcomes (including joint/impartial needs assessments, enhanced engagement with development actors, capacity building of national actors).
  • To advocate with donors and hold them accountable to coordination/nutrition-related commitments in the Grand Bargain, particularly multi-year funding and reduced earmarking of funding

Over the years, GNC was engaged with a number of donors who fund specific GNC activities. As of now, in addition to the UNICEF Global Thematic Funds, the following donors fund activities in the GNC work plan:

Additionally, recognising contributing of donors to shaping agenda of the humanitarian response, from 2019 GNC has included donor representatives to the Strategic Advisory Group.

Development actors’ engagement

GNC commits to engage with global nutrition initiatives to ensure better preparedness and transition in crisis-prone countries.

The main global challenges around the humanitarian-development nexus are all well-known and are continuously studied and written about by most global stakeholder across the humanitarian and development communities. Building on this, GNC and SUN working together to develop two to three country studies to identify country specific nexus strengthening opportunities through the lens of those in need of immediate, medium- and long-term nutritional assistance and propose SMART solutions.

The country studies should bring to light what is needed by those directly affected by malnutrition, of those in charge of their protection and wellbeing, i.e. the State as ultimate duty bearer. The outcomes and recommendations should be brought to sub-national and national level MSPs (or equivalents) to encourage and build a coordinated multi sectoral and multi mechanism approach.

Country specific conclusions and recommendations should provide the SUN government focal point with the information needed to improve the coverage and content of their national nutrition plan, enrich MSP membership to implement the nexus, and thereby increase the collective efficiency of the nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive actions and results in the country.

The Global Nutrition Cluster and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Secretariat agreed that two to three SUN countries where the Nutrition Cluster has been activated will be selected for the study. The countries will be selected based on existing levels of coordination capacity at national and subnational level and overall positive disposition of the main stakeholders to accommodate each other’s needs to make the nexus work for the affected population.

It is noted that other studies are currently being planned for 2020 that could also cover some of the objectives; the SUN Movement Secretariat’s in depth country reviews for four to six countries and the ENN (MQSUN+ funded) “Investigating the implementation of multisectoral nutrition programmes at a subnational level” in three countries.

Additional information:


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