Structuring a Catalytic Financing Facility for Nutrition

May 8 - 9, 2013



Undernutrition is the largest single contributor to child mortality worldwide, a factor in one-third of deaths among children younger than 5. Less well-known is the fact that undernutrition also costs billions of dollars in health-care expenditures and lost productivity, which severely encumbers regional and global competitiveness. Yet undernutrition remains one of the most overlooked, under-prioritized and underfunded issues in global development despite the existence of cost-effective interventions.

Addressing undernutrition in the developing world is not only an investment in health but also in long-term economic growth. The funding gap for preventive and treatment measures is an estimated $10.3 billion.

To bridge the gap, a steering committee was formed in early 2013 at the request of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) donor network and charged with developing proposals for a catalytic financing facility. The aim is to attract new capital to accelerate results and increase longer-term, country-led financial support.

As part of this effort, the Milken Institute convened a two-day Financial Innovations Lab in London to determine whether a catalytic facility of this kind is needed and to debate its goals, activities and structure. Lab participants included a broad mix of government representatives from countries most affected by undernutrition, bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations, representatives of private businesses, and finance and nutrition experts.

Participants discussed the proposed facility partnering with a limited number of high-burden countries to accelerate the rollout of large, prioritized, high-impact nutrition programs. The objectives were to demonstrate that results at scale can be achieved rapidly and cost effectively while leveraging additional resources from domestic sources and donors.

Results from the Lab, including recommended next steps for implementation, can be found here. For information, contact Caitlin MacLean, associate director of Financial Innovations Labs, at