2016 Global Nutrition Report calls for increased political commitment

June 14, 2016
Indonesian preschoolers receive nutritious meals through the national government’s Early Childhood Education and Development Program. Erly Tatontos/World Bank.

By Jordan Teague, Bread for the World Institute

The third annual Global Nutrition Report was launched today. Each Global Nutrition Report documents progress on global nutrition commitments and makes recommendations to accelerate that progress.

This year’s report, titled From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030, comes at just the right time, because 2016 is a critical year for nutrition. It is the first year of the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition. 2016 is also the start of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, and new analysis on how much it will cost to reach global nutrition targets has just been released. The world is poised to make a huge amount of progress against malnutrition over the next 15 years.

From Promise to Impact reports that the world is currently off-track to meet the global nutrition targets. If national governments, donors, and communities continue their “business as usual” approach to setting political priorities, allocating funding, and implementing programs, malnutrition will continue to affect hundreds of millions of people, mainly women and children. However, there is hope! Many countries are on track to meet these goals for themselves. We also have proven strategies to help others get back on track.

The plain fact is that the world must invest more resources in nutrition if we are to end malnutrition by 2030. Current funding commitments do not match the need – not those of donors such as the U.S. government, and not those of country governments themselves. This year’s Global Nutrition Report notes that, on average, low- and middle-income countries allocate just 2.1 percent of their national budgets to improving nutrition. Globally, donors’ contribution have remained stagnant at approximately $1 billion.

The World Bank and partners have estimated, however, that reaching a set of nutrition targets agreed by the World Health Assembly (e.g., reducing childhood stunting by 40 percent by 2025) will require an annual investment of $7 billion total, from all sources. Even more funding will be needed to end malnutrition altogether. The 2016 Global Nutrition Report projects that governments and donors will need to triple their commitments to nutrition over the next 10 years.

It’s also important to allocate spending in ways that make the best use of the resources available. Significant progress can come through ensuring that programs in other sectors of development -- agriculture, water and sanitation, social protection, education, health systems, and the like -- are intentionally focused on improving nutrition. Budgets in these sectors should allocate more resources to such “nutrition-sensitive” programs.

Ultimately, improving nutrition means making political choices -- both choices to devote more resources to nutrition, and choices to create and fully implement nutrition-focused policies across development sectors. Political commitment to improving nutrition can make a rapid and substantial difference in malnutrition. From Promise to Impact uses examples of progress in Peru, Ghana, and India’s Maharashtra State to show the impact of national and regional government commitment. These governments and their partners not only made political commitments to improve nutrition, but kept them.

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report is not “good news” since it reports that the world is off-track to meet nutrition goals. But it’s “potential good news,” because the evidence shows that not only are many countries on track, but that others can join them by marshalling the political will to increase investments and to make and keep effective policies.

Jordan Teague is the international policy analyst for food security and nutrition at Bread for the World Institute.

The plain fact is that the world must invest more resources in nutrition if we are to end malnutrition by 2030.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.


Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017


From the Blog