Global Nutrition Report 2015: Actions and accountability to advance nutrition and sustainable development

Global Nutrition Report 2015: Actions and accountability to advance nutrition and sustainable development

Tackling, reducing, and even eliminating malnutrition in all of its forms should be considered an achievable priority for the world. This is a sentiment expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the 2015 Nutrition for Growth (N4G) summit, and in this 2015 Global Nutrition Report. A vast number of authors and researchers from multiple institutes and organisations contributed to make this report the most comprehensive and authoritative study on the state of global nutrition. This edition places a particular focus on the role of action and accountability in driving advances in nutrition and sustainable development.

This latest report introduces a number of new features to the annual series, including new analysis of stunting and wasting data from five countries, more nuanced methods of tracking countries progress toward meeting global nutrition targets, a greater focus on obesity and noncommunicable diseases, and the incorporation of more indirect, but nevertheless important, sectors and actors that influence nutrition. The report includes many graphs, graphics, and data-sets, as well as boxes featuring expert perspectives. In the appendix, data regarding progress toward nutrition status targets and N4G commitments are provided, as well as estimates on the necessary scaling up of financial and capacity resources for nutrition.

The report begins by assessing progress globally in four nutrition domains: nutrition status compared with global targets; the commitments made at the 2015 N4G summit; actions to address malnutrition in all its forms; and the scaling up of nutrition finance and capacity. In each case, detailed descriptions of key findings and recommendations are provided. Next, the authors identify vital opportunities, actions, and metrics to advance nutrition through climate policy, food systems, and the private sector. The report recommends ways of building stronger accountability in nutrition in these domains and sectors by drawing on lessons from other fields, identifying key gaps in data and capacity, and describing innovative ways of filling these gaps. The final section presents ten 'calls to action', each of which are as specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time bound as possible.

The executive summary of the report presents six key messages that summarise the details of the reports main findings:

  • Ending all forms of malnutrition will drive sustainable development. This fact needs to be emphasised more strongly in efforts to achieve and monitor the SDGs. New evidence shows that investment in reducing malnutrition gives a high return on investment, and can result in benefits across multiple SDG targets.
  • Despite significant reductions in levels of malnutrition, progress is still too slow and too uneven. Some forms of malnutrition, namely adult overweight and obesity, are actually increasing and should receive greater attention in the SDGs. In some countries, such as Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Pakistan, children growing up healthily actually represent a slight minority.
  • Concrete action to address malnutrition, backed by financing, is being scaled up too slowly to achieve the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) targets, or the SDG target of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. This requires significant ramping-up, and the N4G summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 is an opportunity to make progress in this regard.
  • A virtuous circle of improved nutrition and sustainable development can be unleashed if action to address malnutrition in all its forms can be embedded within key development sectors. Numerous opportunities for interventions are identified within social protection, climate policy, food systems, and the business sector.
  • The accountability of all nutrition stakeholders needs to improve if this virtuous circle is to emerge. The report found examples of missing and incomplete data, inconsistent reporting of data, lack of attention to the seasonality of data, and patchy financial reporting from donors. Additionally, more data is required on diets of 6-24 month-old children, given the importance of this stage of a child's development.
  • Significant reductions of malnutrition, in all its forms, is possible by 2030. This conclusion is predicated on a significant increase in funding, effective cooperation between G7 countries accountable for ambitious poverty reduction commitments made in 2015, and the adoption of ambitious goals at the Rio summit in 2016.