Dhaka, BANGLADESH – On September 23, the Government of Bangladesh celebrated the accomplishments of the Bangladesh National Nutrition Council (BNNC) with the launch of “Bangladesh National Nutrition Council Towards Improved Nutrition”, a special publication showcasing the 45-year journey and impact of BNNC. The event was held in honour of the Mujib Year, the yearlong celebration marking the 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Majibur Rahman, the ‘Father of the Nation.’

In 1972, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Majibur Rahman, the Constitution of Bangladesh established adequate nutrition as a basic human right. In 1975, the prime minister also oversaw the creation of BNNC to deliver on this promise. Since then, BNNC has been the country’s apex nutrition body, steering nutrition policy, providing collaboration and leadership to deliver the Second National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN2), and coordinating a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nutrition International, through its Nutrition Technical Assistance Mechanism (NTEAM)’s Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) project, funded with the UK aid from the UK government, has been supporting BNNC since 2017. TAN’s technical assistance has played an instrumental role in the institutional strengthening of BNNC during its revitalization and restructuring process and has continued to provide support to strengthen its capacity in the operationalization of the NPAN2 through multi-sectoral nutrition policy, planning, advocacy, monitoring, and reporting.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nutrition International supported BNNC assessment and review of the underlying drivers of malnutrition resulting from lockdown measures, and recommendation of comprehensive multisectoral actions to address malnutrition and mitigate the impact on vulnerable groups. Through the TAN project, Nutrition International also supported an assessment of Bangladesh’s existing social safety net programs to strengthen their nutrition sensitivity, gender awareness and impact.

The BNNC celebration event was attended by representatives from 22 government ministries, donors, and development partners, including Nutrition International. In addition to the special publication, BNNC also launched several new tools and documents: