Today, along with our global partners, we launch the ACTION Nutrition Donor Scorecard, an accountability tool for tracking Nutrition for Growth commitments. Until recently nutrition has been relegated to the sidelines of development planning only taking centre stage at times of acute humanitarian crises. Yet with undernutrition behind 45% of all preventable child deaths worldwide this has been a neglected area of development for too long.
At times of humanitarian crisis, the world's donor countries have responded with promises of aid but when hunger drops out of the headlines the question is; how well is this commitment maintained? The ACTION global health advocacy partnership, including RESULTS UK, works to influence policy and mobilise resources to achieve equitable access to healthcare worldwide. Today, at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank in Washington, ACTION is launching a Nutrition Scorecard to help assess progress in support of global nutrition. Using data from the first ever Global Nutrition Report our new Nutrition Scorecard tracks the ambition and the delivery of commitments made by each donor country at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth Summit. Nutrition for Growth was co-hosted by the UK Government, the Government of Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and brought together national governments, international agencies and private partners to make the political and financial commitments necessary to end hunger. Now it is time to see who has delivered on their Nutrition for Growth promises to prevent at least 20 million children from being stunted (low height for age) and save at least 1.7 million lives by 2020 by taking the action that is so desperately needed. The ACTION Nutrition Scorecard makes it simple to track this progress and helps us hold governments to account for their pledges. The good news is that the UK is on track with its £655 million nutrition-specific spending commitments and this week is set to co-launch the ‘Power of Nutrition’, a catalytic fund that seeks to mobilise $1bn to fight undernutrition. However, tracking the UK’s progress on nutrition sensitive spending, which includes other sectors that can have a huge impact on nutrition outcomes, such as, agriculture or water, sanitation and hygiene programmes remains challenging. Clear nutrition outcome indicators should be developed in order to allow better tracking of the impact of nutrition investments in these areas. The Nutrition Scorecard demonstrates which donors have made ambitious commitments, such as the UK and the EU, and those who should increase their ambition, including France and the United States. It has also found that the progress of several donors, such as the World Bank and the United States, is in danger and in too many cases the progress remains unknown. It is also clear that to combat the problem of undernutrition, and meet the six World Health Assembly targets by 2025, donors must considerably increase investments to nutrition sooner rather than later. The UK recently committed by law to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on ODA and should now consider how best this stable source of financing can be used to catalyse progress on undernutrition. In the summer of 2016 the world will gather for both the Rio Olympics and the Nutrition Summit in Brazil. As nutrition currently receives less than 1% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) this summit will be an important opportunity for donors to scale up their commitments. The Nutrition Scorecard is an important tool through which we can see which countries are delivering on their pledges and will help drive a continued global commitment to ending undernutrtion.