Image by © European Union, 2021 (photographer: George Ourfalian)

We are living through a global nutrition crisis. Poor diets and malnutrition in all its forms are among the greatest societal challenges of our time, impacting our health, our economies, and our environment. Declaring 2021 as the Nutrition Year of Action evoked a response from stakeholders across the world that made this a pivotal moment for nutrition. The GNR focused its efforts on accountability and how it can support those with a stake in global nutrition to increase the impact of their actions. The 2022 GNR honours the incredible progress that has been made so far, demonstrates the power of greater accountability, and calls on stakeholders to seize this moment so that we can get global nutrition on track.

Stakeholders are stepping up in the fight against malnutrition, and greater accountability will strengthen that action

Governments, civil society organisations, donors, private sector businesses, international organisations and others stepped up in recognition of the responsibility they have to end malnutrition in all its forms. We saw an unprecedented number of commitments made at the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit at the end of 2021, alongside others made throughout the year. As part of these efforts to increase and improve nutrition action, GNR created the world’s first global and independent public platform for monitoring nutrition commitments, the Nutrition Accountability Framework (NAF). The NAF marks a step change in our ability to ensure commitments translate to impact. It has been endorsed by a range of actors including the government of Japan, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and USAID. For the first time, commitments to take action on nutrition are being made SMART and trackable, using standardised and transparent approaches. In doing so, we have the potential to truly connect the dots between actors, action and impact, and see nutrition action as a shared problem in which we are sharing the solutions that will work. Strengthening accountability in this way can enable stronger commitments and bolder action, since it shows that no actor is, nor should be, working alone.

We have never been better equipped to work together to deliver impact

We are stronger when we come together to tackle the vast and interconnected challenges that have created the current crisis, and a shared, independent accountability mechanism is a critical part of that. Making commitments via a common process and standards means the efforts of every stakeholder can be equally tracked, learned from and celebrated. It sets stakeholders up for success by allowing their efforts to be transparently reported and monitored in a way that builds trust between those who have a responsibility to take action on nutrition and with those holding them accountable. And it equips stakeholders to significantly increase their impact by facilitating greater collaboration, knowledge sharing and learning about what action is happening, working and where future efforts need to be focused. But it can only do this if it is used to its potential, and this report demonstrates the need for all stakeholders to invest in making this happen.

The imperative to do this has never been greater

A perfect storm of war in Ukraine, climate change and the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 have reversed many gains we had made in nutrition, and at a time when the world was already struggling to deliver the World Health Assembly’s global nutrition targets. This makes the action we take now more important than ever – both to get global nutrition on track and because many of the most significant global challenges we face today require nutrition to be a core part of our response if we are to truly overcome them. Addressing food and nutrition security is a vital part of increasing people’s resilience in the face of rising humanitarian needs. Ensuring better diets and resulting nutrition will tackle the leading cause of ill health worldwide. Making sure that populations are nourished is a key part of delivering inclusive and sustainable economic growth. And the way we respond to the climate crisis will have a direct impact on efforts to tackle malnutrition and vice versa. None of this is straightforward, and strong mutual accountability efforts that facilitate collaboration across stakeholders at all levels and across all sectors and organisations is a critical part of rising to this challenge.

All stakeholders must now work together

Through ensuring that all actions stakeholders are taking and intend to take to help fight global malnutrition are accounted for, we have the ability to transform collective responsibility and as such the effectiveness and impact of nutrition action. It is still early days, and the 2022 GNR analyses the first step in the journey we must now take towards capturing, sharing and tracking all nutrition actions and their impact so we are equipped to transform global nutrition. It will be important for organisers of pledging moments such as the N4G Summit to keep accountability high on the agenda as we move forwards, and for stakeholders to work closely with GNR to ensure the NAF is meeting their needs. Everyone who has a role to play in nutrition action must now commit to using the NAF so that we can work together, more effectively than ever before, to win the fight against malnutrition in all its forms.

Dr Renata Micha

Chair of the GNR Independent Expert Group

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Executive summary - 2022 Global Nutrition Report

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