Tracking aid for the WHA nutrition targets: Progress toward the global nutrition goals between 2015 to 2020


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, 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. In our latest update, we report donor disbursements from 2015 to 2020 and the financing gap that remains. This is the first look at trends in nutrition aid since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Disbursements have increased overall but a significant financing gap to meet the WHA nutrition targets remains. While financing for wasting and above-service delivery increased over this period, financing for stunting, exclusive breastfeeding, and anemia have either decreased or plateaued as need grows.

Please contact Caroline Andridge or Mary D’Alimonte for any questions or comments on these materials.

We are grateful for the support provided by the research team, including Abbe McCarter, Luka Pauwelyn, Lauryn Cravens, Henrike Schmalfuss, and Rana Isaczai. We wish to thank the many partners who participated in the development of the method and review of the findings, including members of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Donor Network who contributed their time and input to this analysis across the years. The authors would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this study.


R4D is grateful to the core team that helped spearhead this initiative in 2016, including Mary D’Alimonte, Jack Clift, Emily Thatcher, Stephanie Heung, and Augustin Flory, and to integral team members who joined as the analysis evolved into what it is today, including Caroline Andridge, Kyle Borces, Ryan LeMier, Felicity Nelson, Abbe McCarter, and David Christensen.

Supplementary material: 2016 update

The 2016 update to supplementary material amends the full study methodology with details specific to the 2016 analysis. For a complete discussion of the study methods, please refer to the 2015 report and supplementary materials (below).

* Please note that since the initial 2015 analysis, updates may have been made to ensure consistency across multi-year projects which could have resulted in slight discrepancies between 2015 reported values and subsequent years. These are very minor, and the most recent report presents the most accurate figures (2015-2019).

Supplementary material

The supplementary material to the main report includes several appendices that expand on the methodology, provide additional detail on disbursements by purpose code and recipient, and illustrate the flow of funds from donors, through channels, and to interventions.

Archive of Previous Reports

2015-19 Report

We look at trends in aid for nutrition aligned to the GIFN priority package of interventions between 2015 and 2019, with a rapid analysis conducted in 2018. Disbursements increased overall with the largest increases in disbursements to wasting and above-service delivery.

The 2019 update was supported by R4D Nutrition Interns Anna Gillespie and Haley VanOverbeck.

2015-17 Report

We look at total trends in aid for nutrition aligned to the GIFN priority package of interventions between 2015 and 2017. Overall, disbursements have increased and donors have mobilized much of what the Investment Framework for Nutrition priority package costs called for.

2015-16 Report

Building on the previously published analysis of 2015 donor disbursements, this report provides findings on 2016 disbursements and explores the top nutrition donors, the relationship between burden of malnutrition and aid received for recipient countries, and trends by WHA target.

2015 Report

The first report published in this series provides data and graphics on donor disbursements to the WHA nutrition targets in 2015 by sector, recipient country, donor, channel through which funding flows (e.g., whether aid is channeled through UN Institutions, non-governmental organizations, public sector, etc.) and by WHA target. While investments in the enabling environment and nutrition-sensitive activities are critical to achieve the WHA targets, disbursement data is currently unavailable.

Policy brief

The policy brief summarizes three recommendations made to the SUN Donor Network to improve data availability and reporting on donor disbursements for nutrition.

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