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Following the Funding on Nutrition

Today, ACTION is proud to launch a new scorecard in our accountability series.

Following the Funding: Nutrition for Growth tracks the ambition and delivery of funding commitments made at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth (N4G) event. We hope advocates around the world will use this tool in efforts to build the political will for the fight against malnutrition. To see how your country stacks up, view the scorecard online or download a two-page summary

What did we find?

Across the 12 major donors represented in our scorecard, only $US 841 million in nutrition-specific funding actually went out the door in 2013. This sum looks worryingly like “business as usual” at just the time when we need to pick up the pace if we are going to fulfill the $US 4.15 billion committed at Nutrition For Growth.

The many “unknown” and “—” stamps on our scorecard also crystallize the persistent data gaps on nutrition funding. We won’t know if promised nutrition funds are actually being delivered and having an impact unless major donors report on their payments in a way that is consistent, accessible, and transparent. Donor reporting on nutrition-sensitive funding is eagerly anticipated later this year in the release of the second annual Global Nutrition Report.

Why is this tracking even important?

Malnutrition continues to be a global emergency, contributing to almost half of preventable child deaths. Global neglect of the fight against malnutrition has only compounded its devastating impact. In 2012, just over 1% of official development assistance went towards the fight against malnutrition.  

Thankfully, the tide began to turn in 2012 when the entire World Health Assembly endorsed ambitious goals to improve maternal and child nutrition by 2025.

At the Nutrition for Growth event one year later, much-needed new funding to ensure we could reach these targets began to flow. Donors pledged $US 4.15 billion for nutrition-specific programs and $US 19 billion for nutrition-sensitive programs, and thousands of people in London's Hyde Park greeted the commitments with cheers.

Yet ACTION’s health advocacy work across five continents has shown us that careful and persistent pressure is needed to transform promises into real funding for concrete impact -- and the N4G commitments are no different.

What’s the Way Forward?

Commitments made at N4G are undoubtedly a signal of global resolve to reach global nutrition targets, and are indicators for trends in overall global nutrition funding. They should not, however, be seen as exhaustive. The full scope of our efforts to fund global nutrition efforts must go far beyond N4G commitments to include domestic resource mobilization, more effective investments in nutrition-sensitive areas, and innovative financing mechanisms like the Global Financing Facility for RMNCAH (GFF) and the Power of Nutrition.

The countdown is now on for the next global nutrition summit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in the summer of 2016. With 16 months to go, there are no guarantees donors will put new money on the table — even though the fight against global malnutrition is positioned for growth, and even though we know this is our moment.

The scorecard’s findings are clear that a renewed push for progress is needed if we are to meet the global goals on nutrition by 2025 and give all children a healthy start. World leaders are accountable to the children around the world that they have promised to save.  They cannot back away from the table now.