Today, ACTION proudly launched a new scorecard in our accountability series!
The ACTION Following the Funding: Nutrition for Growth scorecard was developed to track the ambition and delivery of funding commitments made at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth (N4G) summit. The April 2016 update adds nutrition-specific investments disbursed by donors in 2014 to the previous versions. This is to promote continuity of the scorecard being used as an accountability tool around the world to build the political will for tackling malnutrition in all its forms.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of five years; that is a precious 3 million deaths every year. It also contributes to the deaths of hundreds of women during pregnancy and child birth. Children, who survive, have compromised immunity and thus suffer from frequent illnesses. They are more likely to fall short of their growth and developmental potential, have poor school outcomes, and have impaired work productivity as adults. There is also a growing burden of overlapping forms of malnutrition (stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity). On the other hand, evidence shows that investing in nutrition yields at the very minimum a 16 fold return on investment.
Last year, we as a global community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to tackle important global development challenges. One of these goals is aimed at ‘Ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030; and meeting internationally agreed World Health Assembly Targets on nutrition’. Yet, only around 1.4% of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is allocated to nutrition. How can we expect to reach such ambitious targets without the necessary investments to deliver success, and reporting on the nutrition impact of these investments?
Trends in N4G 2013 nutrition investments
Nutrition investments have grown over the past few years, particularly since the Nutrition for Growth summit in 2013 in London, which raised USD 4.15 billion for scaling up high impact nutrition specific interventions and USD 19 billion in nutrition sensitive sectors.
Our scorecard shows that although nutrition specific disbursements from the 2013 commitments increased marginally from 2013 to 2014, many donors are still falling short of the investments required to meet their pledges. Nevertheless, we welcome steps taken towards more transparent reporting of nutrition spending. Donors are also looking into nutrition sensitive spending, and what that delivers for nutrition outcomes, but we need them to strengthen this further and report on the same.
The Way forward
The scorecard also makes recommendations to major donor governments on what we think can help them deliver their 2013 commitments, whilst sign-posting them to the crucial opportunity presented by a follow up N4G summit in Brazil this year. Some donors seemingly appear to be on track, but on the basis of unambitious 2013 commitments, and we urge them to step up their efforts through a more ambitious pledge this year at the 2016 N4G summit in Brazil.
We recognise that the financing gap for nutrition cannot be filled solely by donors, and that we need governments of other countries to also scale up their investments and efforts. We also need more effective partnerships and innovative sources of financing for nutrition. That said, the role of donors does not end at N4G 2013. The summit in London gave a much needed push for tackling malnutrition worldwide. Now, a successful and ambitious N4G 2016 is critical to ensure nutrition does not fall off the global agenda, and that the momentum garnered in 2013 is not lost, thus contributing to improving the lives and enhancing the potential of millions of women and children worldwide.