Global targets to tackle stunting and acute malnutrition are behind schedule and cannot be met without increased investment, warns a global coalition of 85
NGOs. Generation Nutrition is today calling on world leaders to increase investment in nutrition and to honour past commitments.
In a new report, ‘Nutrition Funding: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle’, the coalition, made up of leading civil society organisations including Action Against Hunger, Concern Worldwide and Water Aid, as well as the End Water Poverty coalition reveals that:
- Progress in meeting the global stunting target is 20 years behind schedule, and for acute malnutrition is five years behind schedule.
- Disbursement of aid pledged at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit, held in London, is off-track.
The targets in place at the global level for tackling stunting and acute malnutrition in under-fives were set in 2012 by the World Health Assembly. However, the current rate of decline in the two conditions is much too slow for those targets to be met by 2025, let alone the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goal target, claims Generation Nutrition. At the Nutrition for Growth summit held in 2013, donors pledged $4.15 billion for nutrition-specific and $19 billion for nutrition-sensitive interventions by 2020. In the case of the eight donors who supplied data in 2013, only 64% of the aid pledged for that year was actually disbursed. Natalie Duck, Head of Advocacy at Concern Worldwide (UK), said: “Children are dying from hunger and governments have made a series of commitments to tackle the issue, however, these promises mean little without the money to back them up.”
Today marks the three year anniversary of the London Nutrition for Growth summit. A second summit, originally planned to take place this summer in Rio de Janeiro, is now under threat. The coalition wants a new pledging summit to be organised at the first opportunity to close the funding gap for nutrition. Ben Hobbs, Generation Nutrition Campaign Manager, added: “Current levels of spending are insufficient to match the ambition of lifting tens of millions of children worldwide out of malnutrition in the next five to ten years. Countries must quickly agree on a date for a second pledging summit, so that the momentum is not lost.”
The report also highlights the role of Southern countries and the need for a minimum level of investment in nutrition, with a call for 3% of national budgets. Allan Ragi, Executive Director of KANCO said: “If the Government of Kenya wants to accelerate the elimination of preventable deaths, it should increase its budget allocation for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programmes by 3% by 2017. We must ensure women and children in Kenya have an equal chance to survive and thrive.”
Generation Nutrition is calling on:
- Donors and governments to identify a date and occasion for a new high-level, pledging summit on nutrition.
- Donors to ensure that promises made at the first Nutrition for Growth are fulfilled.
- Donors to commit to a doubling of global aid for nutrition by 2020.
- Southern governments to commit to increase national budgets allocated to nutrition.
- Governments to improve the nutritional impacts of aid channelled to agriculture, education, health, water and sanitation, and social protection.
End Water Poverty is a long time Steering Committee member of Generation Nutrition; a global civil society campaign calling on governments to act to end child deaths from undernutrition. The campaign was launched in 2014 and is currently active in 12 countries and at the European Union level. 85 civil society organisations participate in the coalition.