The Power of Nutrition – a catalyst to increase investment and drive large scale progress in countries
On 16th April 2015, the Power of Nutrition was officially launched at the World Bank Head Quarters in Washington DC. Ministers of Finance together with senior leadership from the Power of Nutrition partner organizations – the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation, the UK Department of International Development, UNICEF and the World Bank Group – introduced the new fund and discussed the importance of investing in nutrition, the challenges countries are facing, and concrete steps towards scaling up high-impact programming for child nutrition.
The panel featured high level global nutrition champions including Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF and Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group and two SUN Lead Group Members; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank Group and Michael Anderson, CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
In her address to the audience, Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated that undernutrition is one of the worlds most serious but least addressed public health challenges. She recalled her time as the Indonesian Finance Minister, where seeing the harsh reality of undernutrition on a visit to an island in Indonesia, was a moment that broke her heart. She said with undernutrition, there are devastating consequences with damages that are irreversible. She was proud to share that the Power of Nutrition will use private and philanthropic grants alongside government funding and financing from the International Development Association (IDA) to act as a catalyst to significantly increase investment and drive large scale progress in countries.
“The Power of Nutrition will focus on channelling more money to do the things that we know work, for example encouraging mothers to breastfeed and take micronutrients to make sure children get the vitamin A and iodine they need to survive… working with the Power of Nutrition, we can and we must ensure that every child and every nation can reach their full potential.” Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank Group
Sri Indrawati announced that one mechanism, a multi-partner trust fund, was available and eligible countries could apply now. She also shared that stunting has been added as an indicator to the World Bank corporate scorecard. This addition is under the premise that reduced stunting is not just an outcome to track on its own but also one of the best predictors of development progress towards sustainable development goals.
Michael Anderson shared that good nutrition has one of the biggest multiplier effects for development. It reduces mortality, morbidity, it improves educational attainment and it improves future livelihoods. He said well-nourished kids grow up to be higher wage earners who are more likely to go to university, achieve things and are more likely to have healthy children themselves. He announced the unlocking of $200 million worth of investment at the event as the beginning of the $1 billion potential investment through the Power of Nutrition.
Minister of Finance in Tanzania, Saada Mkuya Salumone, shared that in Tanzania, which is of the fastest growing economies in the world, they needed to ensure their children were well nourished.She shared that as a country, they strived to ensure that domestic resources were injected in nutrition and that if Tanzania’s dreams of being a middle income country by 2025 are to be realised, they must invest in nutrition.
“We have increased human capacity, plant fortification and the political commitment with President Kikwete and a high level steering committee for nutrition with involvement from 9 ministries” Saada Mkuya Salumon, Minister of Finance Tanzania
Anthony Lake highlighted that one of the great things about the Power of Nutrition was the attention to nutrition and the problem its effects have, not only on children but economies as well. He stated that nutrition, as per the Copenhagen Consensus, is the most cost effective investments that can be made in the world. He shared that since 2000, there has been a 20% reduction in stunting which shows that progress is possible and that the fund will make a big difference, particularly with the leveraging effect that matching funds will have.
“I am very excited that this fund is going to be a very important part of a growing momentum behind nutrition and what it does for everybody, every brain and every life.” Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF