Global Nutrition Report – 4 things to know

By Jo Lofthouse 

The fourth Global Nutrition Report will launch on 4 November 2017. Advocates like the members of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub are key allies in championing both nutrition and the report. So, in advance of its launch, here are 4 things you need to know about the GNR.

  1. It’s a report - but it is much more than just a report.

The GNR is a stock-take of the state of the world’s nutrition. The report assesses progress in improving nutrition status across the globe, tracks financing, reports on commitments and actions, and highlights barriers, gaps and opportunities for change. It draws on the latest data and research to do this. The report aims to guide action, build accountability and put nutrition at the centre of development. The report was called for by the 90+ signatories of the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) in 2013. It also prepares Country Profiles for nutrition, bringing together over 80 indicators on nutrition status, determinants, intervention coverage and resources for all 193 UN member countries.

GNR Targets

  1. Each report is different, but there are common themes in every GNR.
  • We’re off track to achieve global nutrition targets. For example, last year’s report highlighted that we’ll reach the anaemia target 100 years late, in 2025.
  • Nutrition is a great investment, but current investment levels do not reflect this. Each year, more data emerges on how nutrition can support economic growth, bringing a return for $16 for every $1 spent. Despite this, the 10-year funding gap to meet 2025 milestones for stunting, severe acute malnutrition, breastfeeding, and anaemia is $70 billion, and many low- and middle-income governments allocate just 2.1 % of their budgets to nutrition.
  • Good nutrition builds promising futures. A child who is not stunted is 33% more likely to escape poverty than his/her stunted counterpart. In China, a diagnosis of diabetes results in an annual 16.3% loss of income for those with the disease.
  • Nutrition is the bedrock of the SDGs. At least 12 of the 17 SDGs have nutrition-relevant indicators. This year’s report majors on how good nutrition can help reach targets across the SDGs. It also demonstrates how other sectors can help achieve nutrition goals.
  • We need to tackle malnutrition in all its forms. 2 billion people are overweight or obese globally, and 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. The 2016 GNR showed that, out of 129 countries with available data, 57 countries—nearly half—have serious levels of both undernutrition and adult overweight (including obesity).
  • We need to measure what matters. The scarcity of data – on burdens within countries, on government spending and on possible solutions – stands in our way of making evidence-based decisions, focusing support in the right population groups or geographies, and learnings what works best.
  • We can make the decision to change this. When governments, CSOs or other actors decide to act, progress can be swift. In Ethiopia, the government is working with the private sector to expand access to iodized salt. In Brazil, government programs have helped increased exclusive breastfeeding by 37%, which has helped to reduced stunting by 12%.
  • The nutrition community needs to move beyond its comfort zone, and work with other sectors across the SDGs to ensure that their work in education, water and sanitation, climate change, agriculture, social protection and beyond have the maximum possible impact on nutrition outcomes.
  1. The GNR is only as strong as its uptake and partners. The GNR relies on development advocates, academics, policy makers, multilaterals, budget holders, heads of state, academics, CSOs, businesses and individuals to take up its recommendations. It also relies on many partners from across those communities to provide content and data for the report.
  2. You can make the 2017 report count. Each, year, the GNR has secured more uptake, with over 100,000 downloads last year and a reach of 20m on twitter. You can champion nutrition – and the GNR – by following us on twitter to date up-to-date on plans. You can host an event, or bring the GNR into a pre-planned event. We will be creating a featured actions page on this site in the lead up to the launch, and you will be able to find materials, and the report, there.

Jo Lofthouse is a nutrition advocate and the Communications Lead on the Global Nutrition Report.