Nutrition aid still a fraction of needs - report

May 2, 2012

"Aid to tackle undernutrition is just a tiny fraction of the billions needed each year, with global efforts to improve child nutrition slow and inconsistent, says a new report from Action Against Hunger.

The charity's research reveals that, between 2005 and 2009, major donors delivered an annual average of only 0.6 percent ($73.3 million) of the estimated $11.8 billion required each year to expand key nutrition support to all those who need it in the 36 countries where most hungry people live.    

'Without increased investment for nutrition, undernutrition rates will continue to increase in sub-Saharan Africa and remain high in southern Asia,' the report notes.

There are more than 3.5 million maternal and child deaths each year related to undernutrition, it adds. Insufficient consumption of calories and nutrients also contributes to disease and disability, and prevents children from growing and developing properly.  

Donors covered by the analysis – which include North American and European governments, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – failed to honour 11 percent of their nutrition commitments, the report finds.

'The funds that are being invested in nutrition are only delivering some interventions, to some of those in need, some of the time, greatly undermining the principles of aid effectiveness,' Sandra Mutuma, Action Against Hunger’s senior nutrition adviser, said in a statement.  

'If international donors are committed to scaling up nutrition interventions, they must act now and provide adequate funds to meet what is required,' she added.