Unequal Portions is Save the Children’s new report on ending malnutrition for every last child.
The report reviews the scale of the current malnutrition problem, what governments are doing to tackle the problem, what has been promised and what extra is now needed. Therefore, the report looks in detail into the groups that are suffering from malnutrition, examining why they are excluded currently, and what would be needed for this exclusion to end.
Firstly though, the report notes the dramatic improvements that have been achieved in the fight against nutrition. But it then also notes that much of the remaining problem is a result of exclusion and discrimination that prevents the malnourished from getting the nutrition they need.
Providing a rich detail of context in addition to global overviews, the report is accompanied by fourteen individual country case studies. These are in-depth analysis for each country in what specifically needs to be done to end malnutrition and exclusion in each country.
Significantly the report finds that in some locations the inherent barriers creating exclusion will prevent targets on reduced stunting being achieved before 2150 (the year not the time!) if business as usual continues.
As a result the recommendation of the report is that much more now needs to be undertaken if globally agreed progress on nutrition is to be achieved. With the target on ending hunger in the Sustainable Development Goals now agreed, real policy change and implementation is needed from all. This means that governments need to develop and implement better policies around the world, but it also means that richer “donor” countries should increase the money they provide for nutrition and do so in ways that target groups currently excluded.
But it is not just governments around the world that have a role. Civil society groups have a role they need to play too, as does the private sector.
The report identifies four ways in which all can act to change business as usual enough to meet the hunger targets the world has agreed.
- Overcome exclusion through appropriate laws, policies and investment
- Break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition – focus on mothers and adolescent girls
- Address the large-scale drivers of malnutrition (Finance, poor accountability and climate change)
- Take a leave no one behind approach – an appropriate policy and programme response based on national context
As a result of these recommendations the report outlines the steps needed for a decade of Action on Nutrition to enable the agreed global targets on nutrition to be achieved.
The report is one of several on Nutrition to have been published recently. Generation Nutrition published its own report a week ago, whilst the Global Nutrition report was published this week. These long planned reports are emerging now because of event that is now not happening at the same scale that was originally envisaged. In Rio de Janeiro just before the opening ceremony of the Olympics the latest nutrition for growth conference was due to take place. With the political uncertainty in Brazil, however, this event will no longer take place as planned.
But even without this high level political event, the long planned reports and assessments of nutrition work around the world are emerging. Save the Children hope that by contributing to this body of work with such a thorough and in-depth analysis, political will and momentum can still be built to ensure nutrition for every last child.