26 June 2014

The Global Nutrition Report -- What Is It?

Hello everyone.  For the past 2-3 months a group of us have been working feverishly away on the 2014 Global Nutrition Report (#NutritionReport).  

What is it? 

The Report is an attempt to track progress in malnutrition reduction and strengthen accountability in nutrition -- all with the aim of reducing malnutrition faster. 

What will it contain?

It will bring together about 70 nutrition indicators in country-by-country profiles in the following areas: nutrition outcomes, determinants, programme coverage, resources and political commitments.  

It will also track the specific Nutrition for Growth (N4G) commitments made in London in June 2013. 

It will feature a number of short pieces on learning from progress, strengthening system accountability and measurement methods and approaches that are priorities for strengthening. 

Overall, the Report will highlight progress made, bottlenecks experienced, and will make recommendations on where and how progress can be accelerated and how nutrition accountability can be strengthened. 

Why is it needed?

The immediate impetus is provided by the need to follow up on the N4G commitments in an independent way, but there is a sense that while there are many fantastic data collection and progress monitoring efforts going on, that they are a little disparate.  The Report is an attempt to bring those efforts closer together, not to replace them. 

What is different?

In the new post-2015 spirit of solidarity and globality, the Report will look at all countries and will focus on all forms of malnutrition, not just undernutrition. 

We also want the Report to be more than a document -- we want it to be an initiative to improve accountability in nutrition.  We want to contribute to making nutrition everyone's business AND everyone's responsibility. 

We are putting a big effort into country launches.  If this Report is not useful to national nutrition champions, then we have failed.  The launches are not so much launches of the Report, but launches of conversations about how to use the Report to accelerate malnutrition reduction in those countries and regions.  

The country launches are planned for Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Senegal--all in early 2015, with more conventional launches in London, Brussels, Washington and Rome. 

We also try to bring different indicator types together: nutritional, programmatic, economic, political. All data will be made available in one location, in easy-to-use formats (spreadsheets and Stata files). 

Who is it from?

It is from an Independent Expert Group (IEG) of 19 co-chaired by Prof. Srinath Reddy from the Public Health Foundation of India and me.  The IEG were selected by the co-chairs from a wide set of nominated candidates (all of whom were excellent). 

The IEG is responsible for the quality of data and interpretation.  A Stakeholder Group of 22 organisations (Countries, UN, the SUN movement, Donors, CSOs) provide broad strategic advice, but do not have a veto on what the IEG concludes. 

My home organisation, IFPRI, is the convenor of the effort, supported by a team at IDS.  Both organisations are doing an amazing job under pressure and uncertainty -- all with good grace and great humour.  We are all passionate about this effort.  

Who assesses the quality of the Report?

We are working out how to make the draft Report open for short public consultation (we have a very tight timeline).   The Lancet has kindly agreed to run the external blind review process. 

When is it out?

We are frantically working to an ICN2 launch deadline (November 19 or 20).  This means most of the content work will be done by mid September (gulp).   

What are we doing now?

We have been consulting with hundreds of people on the right set of indicators to report on. We have just about finalised the list and will share it on the website soon. 

We are collecting all of the data for the country profiles and these are nearly all in hand. 

We are soliciting responses from the over 90 N4G signatories and they all have July deadlines. 

We are working with 30 or so authors of the short pieces to help them finalise their work.

We are working with the IFPRI team of knowledge managers, designers and comms experts on how to make the data accessible, and how to make the report as useful to users as possible. 

Who is funding this?

To date, six funders have come together to support this effort: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Canada, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation,  the European Commission, 1,000 Days, and DFID UK.  We aim to repay their faith in us many times over. 

What can you do? 

We are still working out how to be as open and transparent as possible while meeting our deadlines. Please send us your comments, suggestions, advice in the 'contact us' section of the website.  We will endeavour to respond to all feedback. 

All of the hundreds of  people (and I mean all) we have been interacting with so far have been incredibly helpful and generous with their time, ideas, contacts and data.  We thank them -- they set a great example to us and to others. 

Of course the most important thing you can do is to continue to make noise about the scandal of malnutrition in our world of plenty--and then ramp it up. 

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