Nutrition-sensitive investments in agriculture and food systems – Budget analysis guidance note
Food systems provide for all people’s nutritional needs, while at the same time contributing to sustainable growth. However, the prevalence of child undernutrition remains unacceptably high and is compounded by rising levels of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Investments in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems are, today – more than ever, essential to improve the availability, accessibility, and consumption of nutritious foods and to protect hard-won gains in the fight against all forms of malnutrition.
Since the inception of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2010 of which FAO is a member, mobilizing resources for nutrition, better costing, and tracking of nutrition investments has been a priority. One of the successes of SUN countries has been bringing together different stakeholders to assess nutrition-related disbursements, creating trust and transparency, joint planning and monitoring towards establishing systems and structures for best possible impact of nutrition investments.
At the time this publication is released, countries must drive results in the fight against malnutrition during one of the most challenging times in recorded history. The national and international policy responses to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries, have disrupted accessibility and affordability of safe and nutritious foods. In this environment, the capacity of countries to use domestic and external resources for national nutrition plans in a cost effective way will be vital. Country-led approaches and aligned resources to combatting malnutrition are crucial.
Building on the Scaling Up Nutrition budget analysis exercises (more information), the SUN Movement and the FAO have jointly developed guidance for SUN countries with specific insights for tracking investments across food systems. This handbook empowers decision-makers and technical service providers with precise information tailored to better tracking public financing in the agriculture sector.
As the SUN Movement is heading towards a new phase (2021-2025), these guidelines will help support government efforts to track nutrition-related financing; an issue made even more pressing during this pandemic induced global recession. The paper’s important takeaway is that it outlines smart and sustainable ways SUN countries can track their public nutrition-sensitive investments in the agriculture sector.
The collaboration by FAO and SUN on the ‘budget analysis guidance note for nutrition-sensitive investments in agriculture and food systems’ outlines methods and actions for countries to better and more sustainably work with partners to monitor nutrition-related spending. It includes recommendations for policymakers to prioritise, plan, and make evidence-based decisions on resource allocation, as well as to monitor and evaluate policy implementation. FAO and SUN encourage and support a couuntry-led approach that strengthen the alignment of stakeholders around government efforts in this area.