The role of multilateral development agencies in tackling malnutrition
The world faces a severe nutrition crisis. Nearly 2 billion people lack key micronutrients like iron and vitamin A, 155 million children under five are stunted, 52 million children are wasted, while a growing number of children (41 million) are overweight. Tackling these challenges requires not only strong financial commitment from governments and donors, but also a coordinated and multisectoral approach to address the immediate and underlying causes of malnutrition.
Recognizing that renewed and accelerated global action is required to address these nutrition challenges, the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2014 adopted global nutrition targets for the reduction of stunting, anemia, low birth weight, childhood overweight, and wasting and to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding. Meeting the WHA nutrition targets will require a coordinated approach among all actors, including multilateral organizations who are important financiers and implementers of nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions across the world.
This report documents the role of multilateral development agencies in tackling malnutrition. This includes an assessment of how multilateral strategies incorporate nutrition across sectors and an assessment of financial priorities both across sectors as well as for nutrition-specific interventions. Specifically, we look at four case studies: The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, the European Union (EU), UNICEF, and the World Food Programme (WFP).
All four multilaterals are advocates for scaling up certain types of nutrition interventions and are influencers of the global nutrition agenda. More broadly, these organizations are also critical actors in the development landscape as over 60 percent of all development assistance flows through the EU, the World Bank, and United Nations (UN) funds and programs.