3 June 2013 - Current investments in proven nutrition interventions are inadequate compared to the scale of the problem, a new report from humanitarian organisation ACF International | Action Against Hunger says today.
The new report, Aid for Nutrition, raises concerns about the reactive and short-term nature of funding for nutrition programmes. Despite increased donor funding for the treatment of acutely malnourished children in humanitarian contexts, investments in interventions that address undernutrition for the long-term make up just a fraction of what is needed. Additional, sustainable funding is required to meet the needs of millions of malnourished children and strengthen health systems worldwide.
‘Our research found that most nutrition interventions were delivered through the health or humanitarian aid sectors, largely in response to humanitarian emergencies, with few resources dedicated to the same interventions in longer-term development programmes,’ said Dr Sandra Mutuma, Action Against Hunger’s Senior Nutrition Advisor. ‘Sustainable funding is crucial, particularly for the treatment of life-threatening malnutrition as the risk for malnourished children in development contexts is the same as in emergency contexts.’
Funding for effective nutrition programmes represents a mere 1.2 per cent of the estimated $11.8 billion that is needed annually to tackle child hunger. ‘Reaching this goal will require a marathon effort rather than a series of sprints,’ said Dr Mutuma. ‘Despite a 0.2 per cent increase on previous years, the majority of funding was allocated to the humanitarian sector. If international donors are committed to beating child hunger for good, they must increase their investments in nutrition-specific interventions in development contexts as well.’
Nutrition-specific interventions, such as promoting breastfeeding and hand washing, providing key micronutrient supplements and treating cases of severe acute malnutrition, are cost‐effective and offer some of the best returns of any investment in human development.
With the UK hosting a high-level ‘Nutrition for Growth’ event on 8th June and in line with the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign – a coalition of aid agencies lobbying for the UK to use its presidency of the G8 to help end global hunger - Action Against Hunger’s updated mapping of nutrition investments provides a detailed analysis on official development assistance reporting systems, assesses the transparency, quantity and effectiveness of recent nutrition funding, and recommendations on what is needed to adequately address undernutrition.
As the first of the G8 nations set to deliver on its 0.7 per cent aid pledge, the UK has an opportunity to lead other G8 member states by example. Other countries must follow suit, with spending on nutrition prioritised for countries where need is greatest.
Action Against Hunger calls for:
‘Aid For Nutrition: Are we on track to meet the needs?’ is the latest in a report series investigating the scale and scope of existing investments in nutrition aid and proposing innovative solutions to meet funding shortfalls.
Read the full report: