Donor perspectives and engagement with SUN
Increasingly donors are working to identify, share and promote agriculture and rural development’s potential to bolster food security and nutrition, to harness linkages between nutrition and agriculture and between nutrition and health, and to increase engagement with long term approaches towards food security and nutrition.
Donors promote diverse approaches to address nutrition. Often, donors combine ‘nutrition-specific’ and ‘nutrition-sensitive’ interventions in a multisectoral approach. Nutrition-specific interventions, such as promotion of good nutritional practices, increase of micronutrient (MN) intake in pregnant and lactating mothers and children, provision of MN through fortification, and increase in treatment of acute malnutrition, are often seen as cost-effective and as reducing the immediate and long-term effects of undernutrition through a limited set of high impact actions. The former are ideally complemented by nutrition-sensitive interventions mainstreaming initiatives into education, social protection, water and sanitation and hygiene.
Agricultural investments and campaigns promoting a variety of food at affordable prices are included as well. These interventions aim to address the less direct, underlying environmental and socioeconomic factors that contribute to malnutrition. It is good practice to integrate nutrition education components into programmes. Depending on the country and other context-specific circumstances, donors employ a varying mix of specific technical solutions that address qualitative and quantitative issues, such as fortification and food aid programmes, respectively, as well as more comprehensive systems approaches which also address sociocultural, environmental and production aspects.
Examples of where donors have come together in an effort to support countries in their struggles to ensure food security and nutrition includes Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), a collective global movement to scale up evidence-based nutrition interventions as well as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), which brings together public, private sector and other stakeholders who deliver on their respective commercial advantages for the benefit of improving nutritional outcomes. The nutrition workstream is actively involved with both. Donors support the global movement to scale up nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions at country level, particularly in regions, such as Africa and South Asia that suffer high levels of malnutrition. This work is enshrined in results-based frameworks for FS/N, contributing to better management for development results, improved targeting of official development assistance for FS/N and reporting on best practices. The nature and focus of the SUN movement is close to the work of the nutrition workstream and therefore requires higher level of exchange and coordination. Therefore the nutrition workstream of the Platform will continue to engage with SUN, trying to avoid efforts duplication and focusing on complementing actions.