Nutrition for Growth recipients make dramatic strides in transparency

Kapiri Lea School WFP

Kapiri Lea School. Photo credit: World Food Programme

At last year’s Nutrition for Growth summit, ONE pledged to encourage governments and other partners to make public their progress towards fulfilling their commitments. Stakeholders should provide information on the development of national nutrition strategies, domestic resource mobilization, donor funding, and timely stunting data to track impact.

One year after the historic summit, we are pleased to report that key high-burden countries that signed the Nutrition for Growth compact have made dramatic strides in nutrition transparency.

So far, more than two-thirds of the recipient countries that signed the Nutrition for Growth compact have nutrition plans available online, and more than 60 percent have developed cost estimates for their plans.

It’s particularly encouraging to note how many countries have made impressive headway. Bangladesh, Burundi, Indonesia, Kenya and Niger all have comprehensive information readily available online in addition to the strategies themselves.

While we realize that there are numerous ways that countries can publicize their nutrition efforts, we are especially keen to see countries publish information online as the most efficient way to reach stakeholders across the globe.

Alongside developing countries, donor governments, CSOs and other private sector actors must also make progress towards fulfilling commitments progress.

In the coming months, ONE will continue to fulfil our Nutrition for Growth commitment by diving deeper into the progress made not just by recipient countries but also by donor governments, CSOs and other private sector partners. To achieve the end goal of dramatically reducing malnutrition, it is imperative that all Nutrition for Growth signatories fulfil their commitments thoroughly and transparently.

Every year, more than 3 million children die of poor nutrition and another 100 million are underweight. A full quarter of the world’s children are stunted.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest stunting rate in the world, at more than a third, and this rate has barely dropped in the last 20 years. The growth and cognitive development of these kids will be restricted for the rest of their lives, limiting their learning ability as children and hindering their productivity as adults.

Recognizing the need for dramatic action, government representatives, civil society organizations, and other private sector actors from around the world convened in London a year ago at the Nutrition for Growth summit.

There, they made specific financial and programmatic commitments to accelerate progress on reducing malnutrition. The fulfilment of these commitments will ensure that at least 500 million pregnant women and children under the age of two are reached with effective nutrition interventions, preventing at least 20 million children from being stunted and saving at least 1.7 million lives by 2020.

The individual commitments made by governments and CSOs came in a variety of forms.

The governments addressing undernutrition set specific targets for reducing their country’s malnutrition. They committed to achieving these goals through the development and implementation of national nutrition strategies and through the allocation of increased funds for these strategies.

On the donor side, some pledged to give financial support for nutrition programs while others announced new programs to scale up nutrition interventions in low-income countries. Civil society organizations and private sector partners made pledges according to their areas of focus, which ranged from conducting nutrition research to providing funding for nutrition programs to supporting health workers on the ground.

ONE’s own commitment at Nutrition for Growth was to ensure that information on progress made by one actor towards the fulfilment of their commitment is readily available for their citizens and other signatories to the Nutrition for Growth Compact. This mutual accountability is crucial for achieving the ultimate goal of dramatically reducing malnutrition.­­­