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Tracking G7 aid to food security and nutrition

Estimates for G7 spending on food security and nutrition range between USD 3.8 billion to USD 54 billion depending on the definition adopted.  



Comparison of the G7 member states disbursements of ODA grants for food security and nutrition depending on the definition adopted (2020)   


In 2015, the G7 committed to lifting 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Yet, since 2015, the number of people affected by hunger has risen by nearly 150 million; from 589 million in 2015 to 735 million in 2022. To reverse this alarming trend, world leaders and international organizations must intensify their efforts and make substantial longer-term investments to address the fundamentals of hunger and poverty. If they fail to do so, hunger will not be eliminated by 2030. 


To work effectively, governments must know how much they spend on food security and nutrition, but tracking this spending is difficult. Although governments and international institutions agree on the definitions for food security and nutrition and use a shared database to track aid, they lack a common framework to measure official development assistance (ODA) for food security and nutrition. As a result, estimates on how much ODA is spent on food security and nutrition vary significantly. This creates confusion and undermines efforts to eradicate hunger and achieve global development goals. 


Different groups use different measures of financing for food security and nutrition giving very different estimates and creating a great deal of confusion   


The lack of a common framework for defining and tracking official development assistance (ODA) for food security and nutrition is a major obstacle to eliminating global hunger. Different organizations, including donor countries, multilateral institutions, and research groups, all use their own definitions of ODA for food security and nutrition. This results in drastically different estimates of how much aid is actually going towards food security and nutrition efforts, where that aid is directed, what specific areas the aid targets, and whether progress is being made towards achieving the goal of zero hunger. 


For example, estimates of G7 countries' contributions to food security and nutrition in 2022 ranged from as little as USD 3.8 billion to USD 54 billion in 2022, depending on the definition used. These competing definitions are all derived from the same OECD database where donors record disbursements, but each group picks and chooses which purpose codes to include in their definition of aid for food security and nutrition based on their own criteria. 


The absence of a standard framework makes it impossible to tackle hunger effectively. Establishing a coherent, evidence-based system to monitor funding flows is crucial for donors, recipients, researchers, and advocates alike to provide aid effectively. 


Proposed solution  


Uncertainty in the volume of ODA spending poses an enormous obstacle to the goal of eliminating hunger, but it is one to which there is a solution. We are building a platform to analyse, monitor, and track ODA resources to food security and nutrition. The Food Security and Nutrition Aid Tracker will offer a comprehensive and analytical overview of the ODA flows that have an impact on food security and nutrition, as well as examining the extent to which existing spending patterns are aligned with scientific evidence on how to end hunger. 


Better analysis, monitoring and tracking of resources in the system will ultimately enable better evidence-based decisions to select the highest priority countries, the most effective intervention areas, and the scale of resources needed. The tracker will sweep away some of the uncertainty around financing for food security and nutrition and contribute towards the more effective use of resources towards ending hunger. 


The full article by Mali Eber-Rose is available on the Shamba Centre website.


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