RESULTS has just published a new report –  ‘Undernutrition in the Land of Rice  . This short report looks at the situation of undernutrition in Cambodia and finds that in spite of economic growth 40 percent of children under five remain stunted.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 15.06.32This shocking finding is especially pertinent this week when we are marking the first anniversary of the Nutrition for Growth summit in London on 8th June 2013. That conference brought together the governments of the UK and Brazil, along with many donors and agencies such as the World Bank, World Food Programme, national delegations, foundations, NGOs and the private sector.

Nutrition for Growth was a success last year, mobilising pledges of over £2.7 billion from the assembled organisations. If well spent, this sum can save 1.7 million

Children’s lives and prevent 20 million children becoming stunted from a long-term lack of nutritious food. But as with all pledging events of this sort, the progress needs to be tracked over the years to come, to be sure that all the funds are disbursed and not quietly forgotten.

NGOs and RESULTS staff visited Cambodia in February with four

Steve Lewis/ RESULTS UK
Steve Lewis/ RESULTS UK

parliamentarians, and we were able to see that there has been impressive progress in the last 20 years in health and education indicators. TB rates have been halved and school enrolment has risen to 96%. But rates of both child and maternal undernutrition are barely changed, despite high economic growth over the past two decades. Our trip to Cambodia taught us that undernutrition is one of the most intractable of development issues and needs a multi-sectoral, long-term response. That is why the accountability aspect of Nutrition For Growth is as important as the sums pledged.

The report gives a brief assessment of the causes of this situation and some solutions. It ends with recommendations for agencies in Cambodia and for the global community.

For the Global Community there are three main recommendations:

  •  It is clear that economic growth alone does not have an automatic impact on levels of undernutrition. Cambodia is not unique in this; it is one of 43 countries with a child-stunting rate over 30 percent. To tackle the issue national governments, including Cambodia’s, need to invest more of their domestic budget in specific nutrition interventions, and the global development community need to do more to support them.


  • All countries should support the introduction of a stand-alone goal on Nutrition and Food Security in the Post-2015 agreement. Cambodia is just one country of many which demonstrates why a dedicated goal on nutrition and food security is an essential part of the next set of development goals.  In addition to the stand-alone goal, there need to be nutrition-related targets and indicators incorporated within other goals.


Click here for our report – Undernutrition in the Land of Rice.