Nutrition Aid Architecture: How could improvements in financing mechanisms galvanise the global effort?

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Today, we launch a new report looking at the complex web of financing for nutrition, the ‘nutrition aid architecture,’ in the world today. The report is being published in the build up to the International Conference on Nutrition in Rome, which will be attended by all the agencies and organisations that work on raising funds for nutrition programmes across the globe.

The report shows clearly that the nutrition sector is vastly underfunded. Currently only 0.4% of Overseas Development Aid is spent on nutrition programmes. In 2013, The Lancet identified that this is only around 1.4% of what is required. At a time when undernutrition contributes to 45% of all deaths in children under the age of 5, there is an urgent need to assess how we can finance nutrition programmes more effectively around the world.

Presently, there are a number of exciting new financing mechanisms being developed. In our report we consider these, alongside current mechanisms, to determine how nutrition finance can expand, so as to prevent millions of children dying every year .The report looks at the Catalytic Fund for Nutrition announced at Nutrition for Growth in June 2013, and the Global Financing Facility announced by the World Bank at this year’s UN General Assembly. The report also considers more innovative mechanisms such as UNITLIFE, Results-Based Financing, and how to encourage more domestic spending on nutrition programmes in developing countries.

The report asks if there is anything the nutrition sector can learn from the success of big ‘global funds’ in other development sectors, for example GFATM, the Global Fund for HI/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. A key conclusion from the research is that although the nutrition architecture is already complex the main priority at the present time should be to urgently bring on more sources of finance to tackle undernutrition.

As we approach the last stages of the Post 2015 agenda and negotiations on a new set of development goals for the period 2015-2030 , we hope this report can contribute to the debate on how we can scale up finance for the essential  nutrition sector.

The report is available here.