According to a 2010 FAO report – The State of Food Insecurity in the World – the total number of undernourished people in the world was estimated to have reached 1,023 million people in 2009 with the majority residing in developing countries (98% of the total). The global financial crisis increased the vulnerability of poor income households with prices of staple food prices remaining high in 2009 after the initial food crisis of 2008. In addition, incomes of poor households fell in response to increased unemployment following the economic downturn.
The latest projects on measuring progress to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) indicate that sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are the two regions who remain most off-track to meeting the set targets for reducing (i) the % of undernourished people and (ii) % of children under 5 who are underweight. The particularly poor progress in child and maternal nutrition was tabled as a high agenda item at the 2010 MDG Summit where it was recognised that a lack of demonstrable progress in this area is likely to make sustained progress on other MDGs less feasible.
A 2010 World Bank study estimated that 90% of all children whose growth has been stunted by inadequate nutrition reside in 36 countries. The study estimated that total annual financing needs to extend specific interventions to 100% of the target population would amount to $11.8 billion which would be met by private funding, external donor resources and domestic government expenditure.
Between 2000-03 and 2005-08, aid to basic nutrition grew by 32%. With the exception of 2009, assistance to basic nutrition has remained below 0.3% of total ODA levels. In 2009, in response to the food and economic crises, levels of aid commitments to basic nutrition more than doubled from 2008 levels reaching $539.4 million. These levels, however, are small when compared to volumes of emergency and development food aid.
EU member bilateral aid to basic nutrition accounted for 46% of all bilateral aid to the sector over 2005-08 reflecting similar proportions of total bilateral aid. When including nutrition assistance imputed via core contributions to multilateral agencies, EU member donors account for 52% of total basic nutrition aid.
Over 2005-08, the 36 countries deemed as priority countries by the World Bank study in regards to child stunting received just 57% of basic nutrition financing. Within this group of countries, those in sub-Saharan Africa received a greater share of financing compared to the region’s share of stunted children. Sub-Saharan Africa is clearly a donor priority. Conversely, basic nutrition financing to South Asia fell by 8% over the same period.
The paper of Nutrition Advocacy in Europe presents an overview of what the funding needs are for basic nutrition, together with an analysis of basic nutrition ODA trends with a particular emphasis on 12 EU donors and the EU institutions. It concludes by looking at what the future of basic nutrition financing may be given the recent emphasis it has been given at high level forums.
More information on the role of European NGOs, the private sector and private funders can be found at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) website. Synthesis reports found here are intended to develop a better understanding of the European donor and partner landscape for nutrition and identify the potential opportunities to scale investments and develop new and effective partnerships.
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