Dr Naoko Yamamoto, Chair of UN Nutrition

We trust the 2021 Global Nutrition Report will further inspire governments and partners in the joint endeavour to combat malnutrition in all its forms. As this year’s report highlights, we need to accelerate progresses on targets, protect human health and that of the planet with sustainable diets, invest additional nutrition-sensitive financing, and use the N4G SMART commitments to track progress.

UN Nutrition is committed to fostering UN collaboration enabling all nutrition stakeholders to make the best use of this guide over the years.

Gerda Verburg, Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement

Extraordinary events took place in 2021. The Covid-19 crisis is far from over and has increased the number of people suffering from malnutrition. Extreme weather events throughout the year have made the need for climate action clearer than ever. The UN Food Systems Summit has reminded us that food systems and diets urgently need to be transformed, so they deliver better and equitable access to nutrition. For the first time, food systems and nutrition have received attention at COP26 and the message is clear: we need food systems that serve people and planet alike. With the N4G Summit concluding the Year of Action on Nutrition, everyone needs to focus on coherent and accelerated country-driven nutrition impact. The 2021 Global Nutrition Report points to the need for funding to be significantly scaled-up, ambitious political commitments and holistic approaches to diets and nutrition. All sectors, all actors and all countries must be involved. By doing so, the world can generate between US$5 and US$10 trillion annually. The objective of a well-nourished and thriving population and planet is in sight. Let us join forces and really collaborate to make this a reality, ensuring we leave no one behind.

Johanna Ralston, CEO, World Obesity Federation

Despite all we know, the 2021 Global Nutrition Report affirms that diets are not getting healthier for people or the planet. During this Nutrition for Growth Year of Action – when rates of undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity are unacceptably high and success in achieving agreed-upon targets exceedingly low – it is vital that this changes. The food-related challenges in the lowest- and highest-income countries vary in specifics but conform in how they negatively impact health and wellbeing, as dysfunctional food systems drive a range of diet-related diseases and conditions. The economic impact of inaction on obesity alone already results in a global average diversion of almost two percent of GDP, attributable mainly to healthcare and lost productivity costs, while the report notes that total economic gains to society of investing more broadly in nutrition could reach US$5.7 trillion a year by 2030, and US$10.5 trillion a year by 2050. To pivot towards health-enabling and accessible diets for all, we must deliver on existing commitments and unlock new sources of financing, including from and with the private sector – recognising that corporate social responsibility is not enough and that the health of people must be paramount. We must change how we interact with and support our food systems and health systems, and call on all of us – governments, civil society, private sector, engaged individuals – to support the GNR agenda and Nutrition Accountability Framework.

Simon Bishop, CEO, Power of Nutrition

The 2021 Global Nutrition Report powerfully evidences the gravity of the nutrition crisis and the chasm in financing. Global funding is stretched now more than ever.

It also highlights solutions. With donor and domestic resources strained across the globe, as a sector we need to protect ‘traditional’ sources of nutrition financing and continue to push for allocated domestic and overseas resources for nutrition. Catalytic financing models like The Power of Nutrition’s have also been effective by combining funding, aligning efforts behind proven interventions, and partnering with national governments for maximum scale.

But we can’t continue with business as usual. With all global goals off-track, we need to rethink approaches and embrace new funding sources. Innovative financing presents a huge opportunity to mobilise new capital, and we have seen success in other sectors, such as green bonds. We urge the nutrition sector to become pioneers in this space, otherwise we risk replicating our ‘orphan’ status in traditional aid.

Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development, World Bank

The trends in nutrition highlighted in the 2021 Global Nutrition Report are of grave concern. The projected increases in child stunting and wasting, and increases in obesity and diet-related chronic diseases are not acceptable and will severely impact human capital. More and better financing is needed – from governments and donors, including the private sector, to step up innovative financing solutions. The World Bank is committed to further scaling up evidence-based nutrition interventions in developing countries, including through IDA, our fund for the poorest countries, IBRD and the Global Financing Facility. The Nutrition for Growth Summit hosted by the Government of Japan will be a key moment for tangible commitments to make concrete progress on this critical agenda.

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