Significant funding gap for nutrition remains despite increase in global aid

September 28, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Results for Development (R4D) today released a report showing that despite the overall increase in global aid for high-impact nutrition interventions, a significant financing gap to meet the World Health Assembly (WHA) targets by 2025 remains. This is especially troubling given the spike in malnutrition caused by global crises, including the COVID pandemic, conflict and the global economic slowdown.

The report, Tracking aid for the WHA nutrition targets: Progress toward the global nutrition goals between 2015-2020, is the first look at trends in nutrition aid since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. In particular, financing for stunting, exclusive breastfeeding, and anemia have either decreased or plateaued.

The report also includes these key messages for the global nutrition community:

  • Donor funding for priority nutrition interventions increased from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $1.6 billion in 2020, but we are still not achieving the scale-up needed to achieve the global nutrition goals.
  • Donor funding for stunting and exclusive breastfeeding targets have plateaued, while disbursements to anemia have decreased.
  • Donor funding for wasting treatment has increased significantly; however, there is still a large gap and much of this funding (59%) is via humanitarian channels that are less conducive to sustainable change.
  • Donor disbursements to above-service delivery investments (such as funding for coordination, governance, advocacy, capacity building, and research and data) also increased significantly, which are important investments in support of programmatic scale-up.
  • Major donors have increased or maintained funding for priority interventions since 2015.

“While the child malnutrition crisis is devastating, the recently announced $280 million to child malnutrition — on top of $250M committed in July — gives us hope,” said Albertha Nyaku, R4D’s nutrition practice lead. “With it comes opportunity to help children in immediate need and to strengthen services for the future while governments and donors continue to accelerate these commitments to achieving global nutrition goals.”

In 2017, the World Bank, R4D, and 1000 Days created the Investment Framework for Nutrition as a roadmap toward achieving the World Health Assembly (WHA) nutrition targets by 2025. The framework estimates that the world needs to mobilize an annual additional investment of $7 billion per year to scale-up nutrition-specific interventions at the level needed to achieve the global targets, where, of these costs, $2.3 billion per year is needed for a priority package of ready-to-scale interventions.

Since then, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, R4D has been tracking donor disbursements to priority interventions needed to achieve the WHA nutrition targets to monitor progress toward the financial benchmarks laid out in the Investment Framework.

Click here to view the full report and archive of previous nutrition financing analyses.


About Results for Development
Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — supporting them as they navigate complex change processes to achieve large-scale, equitable outcomes in health, education and nutrition. We work with country leaders to diagnose challenges, co-create, innovate and implement solutions built on evidence and diverse stakeholder input, and engage in learning to adapt, iterate and improve. We also strengthen global, regional and country ecosystems to support country leaders with expertise, evidence, and innovations. R4D helps country leaders solve their immediate challenges today, while also strengthening systems and institutions to address tomorrow’s challenges. And we share what we learn so others around the world can achieve results for development too.

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