Financing mechanisms for nutrition

The SUN Movement supports collaboration to enable SUN countries’ access to different initiatives and ensure these innovative financing mechanisms are part of the solution to mobilize more nutrition funding, to reach the 2025 WHA and 2030 SDG targets on nutrition.

Since 2015, four new financing mechanisms were launched with a significant nutrition focus: Global Financing Facility (GFF) (36 SUN countries); Power of Nutrition (PofN) (10 SUN countries); UNITLIFE; Nutrition impact bonds. In addition to these four mechanisms, the World Bank Human capital project launched in 2017 (33 SUN countries out of 60 countries overall) will provide an opportunity to secure nutrition financing for the next years through new partnerships with the GFF, the Power of Nutrition and the SUN Movement.

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) (40 SUN Countries), initiated in 2009, is a multilateral financing mechanism dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty in developing countries in line with the SDG 2.

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a key financing platform launched in 2015 by the United Nations, the World Bank Group, the Government of Canada, Norway, United States and global health leaders in support of the initiative Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hosted by the World Bank, the GFF plays a catalytic role in uniting and aligning domestic resources (public and private), international donors and the private sector to accelerate advancements in the health and nutrition of women and children.

The GFF is currently active in 36 of the 67 GFF-eligible countries. A majority of these countries correspond very closely with those requiring the most attention to their human capital outcomes as measured by the World Bank’s Human Capital Index. Technical agendas of SUN Movement, GFF and the World Bank Human Capital Project are aligned around common topics such as improving coverage and access to health and nutrition services. USD 2 billion are expected by 2023 to expand the GFF partnership to 20-30 new countries, and they will be linked to an additional USD 7.5 billion in World Bank IDA/IBRD (through the Human capital project).

Power of Nutrition catalyzes funds for nutrition projects by matching donors financing with private sector resources. Power of Nutrition attracts new donors, including private donors and other “smaller” lenders, then multiply their investments through pre-negotiated financing arrangements, including with funding from the World Bank (IDA) and UNICEF matching funds and other INGOs. This innovative financing facility aims to unlock 1 billion USD in new financing to protect 10 million children from stunting and save 100.000 lives in sub Saharan Africa and Asia.

Power of Nutrition’s funding and implementing partners are also part of the SUN Movement: CIFF, UBS, DFID, World Bank group and UNICEF. Power of nutrition’s portfolio is currently spread across 10 SUN countries (approximately 400 million USD) mainly in Africa through a partnership with UNICEF, the World Bank and a few INGOs as implementing partners.

Launched in 2010, GAFSP is a global financing instrument dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in low-income (IDA-only) countries, in line with SDG2-Zero Hunger. GAFSP provides financial –primarily in the form of grants– and technical assistance in order to help smallholder farmers, agribusinesses, and countries boost rural livelihoods, improve food security, raise agricultural productivity, link farmers to markets, and reduce risk and vulnerability. To date, GAFSP has invested US$1.7 billion along the entire agricultural value chain to support more than 15 million smallholder farmers and their families.

GAFSP pools donor resources and targets additional, complementary funds to projects that are designed and led by governments, the private sector, and producer organizations, and delivered in partnership with multilateral development agencies. Funds are channeled in three ways: large grants to governments, small-scale grants to producer organization-led projects through the Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) pilot, and blended finance solutions for private sector development.

More than 40 SUN countries are eligible and/or have received GAFSP funding. More than half of GAFSP’s projects (and 15% of public sector funding) include nutrition-related activities, of which one quarter goes directly to nutrition-specific activities, including the distribution of micronutrient supplements to women and girls, behavioral change campaigns, and improving household sanitation and hygiene.

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The World Bank Group announced the Human Capital Project in 2017. A Human Capital Index launched in October 2018 — and updated in 2020 — allows countries around the world to get a national snapshot of how their investments in people were having an impact or falling short.

The Human Capital Project seeks to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. It aims to accelerate better and more investments in people. 33 SUN countries, as of April 2019, are part of the HCP.

The Project has three elements:

(I) The Human Capital Index (HCI),
(II) A program to strengthen research and measurement on human capital; and
(III) Support to countries to accelerate progress in raising human capital outcomes.

The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. It conveys the productivity of the next generation of workers compared to a benchmark of complete education and full health. As of 2020, 174 countries have enough data available to calculate an Index value, which is made up of five indicators: the probability of survival to age five, a child’s expected years of schooling, harmonized test scores as a measure of quality of learning, adult survival rate (fraction of 15-year old that will survive to age 60), and the proportion of children who are not stunted.

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UNITLIFE is a multi-partner trust fund established by UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and UN Women. It is the only UN fund that leverages innovative financing solutions for the fight against chronic malnutrition, one of the least known, and most underfunded diseases in the world. Chronic malnutrition affects 1 in every 5 children globally, with lifelong irreversible consequences on their physical growth, brain development and immune system.


  1. Invests in the nutrition, climate-smart agriculture, and women empowerment nexus as an entry point to improve nutritional outcomes for children and reduce chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies
  2. Prioritizes projects that are innovative, sustainable and integrated and/or collocated with complementary interventions addressing other determinants of chronic malnutrition

UNITLIFE’s updated model was announced by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, during the One Planet Summit on 12 December 2017 in Paris. UNITLIFE constitutes the 6th commitment of this Summit.

UNITLIFE contributes to 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 2-Zero Hunger, SDG 5-Gender Equality, and SDG 13-Climate Action.

UNITLIFE’s Secretariat is hosted by UNCDF.

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A development impact bond is Results-based financing mechanism based on a simple principle: the payment of the benefit is conditional on the achievement of a result. Such process can be used as part of a cooperation and partnership and aims to leverage funds for innovative programmes in neglected or underfunded thematic areas (where social needs are not covered, such as exclusion and dependency), by private investors reimbursed by the government in case of success.

A nutrition impact bond (3,5 million USD) has been launched in 2019 in Cameroon through the GFF with the funding of Nutrition International and Grand Challenges Canada . This initiative aims at scaling up existing programmes (Kangaroo Mother Care) and increase the capacity at sub-national level (improvement of data management).

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