2 May 2012 - A major new report from Action Against Hunger shows that investments in aid programmes to combat undernutrition make up just a fraction of the required need. The humanitarian organisation calls for all donors to scale up investments in nutrition interventions.
Action Against Hunger’s new report, Aid For Nutrition, highlights that whilst an estimated $11.8 billion is required annually to tackle undernutrition, a mere one per cent of this was being delivered each year between 2005 and 2009. Furthermore, the donors included in the report failed to honour 11 per cent of their commitments.
The report assesses the transparency, quantity and effectiveness of nutrition funding over the study period and provides recommendations to donors on the actions needed to more adequately address undernutrition. It also provides detailed analysis of the adequacy of current aid reporting systems.
Funding for nutrition programmes that deliver the full package of costed direct nutrition interventions, which address the more immediate elements of undernutrition and have the greatest potential for reducing child mortality and future disease burdens associated with undernutrition, were severely underfunded receiving only 2 per cent of total funding for nutrition. Evidence also showed that the aid could be better directed to the countries that needed it most in the worst affected regions of Africa and Asia.
Another major finding was that much of the data used in the analysis was inaccessible due to poor reporting by donors. As such, the report found a major lack of transparency in nutrition aid, highlighting that donors should be more accountable to their electorates.
Action Against Hunger’s Senior Nutrition Advisor, Sandra Mutuma, said: “Aid For Nutrition highlights the worrying lack of aid investment in direct nutrition interventions. The funds that are being invested in nutrition are only delivering some interventions, to some of those in need, some of the time, greatly undermining the principles of aid effectiveness. If international donors are committed to scaling up nutrition interventions, they must act now and provide adequate funds to meet what is required.”
Furthermore a major concern is the reactive and short-term nature of funded nutrition programmes. Initiatives are largely delivered in response to emergencies, with very few delivered through longer term development programmes which address structural issues alongside life-saving activities.
Drawing from the evidence gathered in Aid For Nutrition, Action Against Hunger’s recommendations include the following:
• All donors must improve their reporting and transparency.
• Donors and governments must dramatically increase their investments in nutrition-specific interventions. The links between health and nutrition need to be better understood and supported by donor and recipient governments.
• All donors need to invest more in the treatment and prevention of undernutrition in non-emergency as well as emergency contexts.
• An independent, accurate and comprehensive annual review of donor investments in nutrition must be carried out to so that all donors can be monitored and held accountable for the commitments they have made to scale up nutrition.
Full report available here
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