The G8’s accountability report, released ahead of the main summit in just over a week’s time, is weak on nutrition at a time when it should be the opposite.
“There's no specific section on nutrition,” says World Vision’s senior adviser Kate Eardley. “It appears as though it’s an afterthought, rather than a source of significant content.”
“This report is a clear backward step from last year’s, and it’s so disappointing to see.
“We need more focus on nutrition – as illustrated in the shocking new figures released by The Lancet this week, which show undernutrition contributes to 45 per cent of deaths of children under the age of five – yet this report exposes the G8 as giving less focus.”
The report has the G8 claiming they have led or supported a number of initiatives related to maternal, newborn and child health, including the Scaling Up Nutrition movement. But what is not clear in the report is what this support for nutrition looks like in practice for the countries who have signed up to this movement, says Eardley.
Following impressive commitments made over the weekend at the Nutrition for Growth summit by nations, corporates and NGOs like World Vision - who pledged $1.2 billion to nutrition initiatives - the disconnect is even more apparent. Nutrition must be a greater priority for all countries, including those in the G8, and greater accountability for resources and results is critical to ensure that we make progress for children.
“Governments around the world have been working hard to develop or update costed plans for scaling up nutrition in their countries, and what is needed from the G8 is a commitment to fund credible, costed plans.”
The Lough Erne Accountability Report’s subtitle is “Keeping Our Promises” which is misleading, says Eardley, as it appears they’re not quite living up to it.
“In 2009 at L’Aquila, the G8 and its partners promised to spend US$22 billion on food security by the end of last year. Yet, they’ve disbursed only two thirds of that amount.”
The G8 should:
• Invest more of their own resources in nutrition
• Ensure that investments in related sectors are supportive and are measured by their impact on nutrition
• Use their leadership role to encourage increased funding for nutrition from all sources.