Catalytic Finance for Nutrition
In 2013, undernutrition was the single highest contributor to child mortality worldwide and its combined effects cost countries close to 11% of GDP. Yet undernutrition remained one of the least funded and most under-prioritized issues in the global aid landscape. To address this, in May 2013, the Milken Institute hosted a Financial Innovations Lab in London that identified opportunities for philanthropists, governments and investors wanting to make a meaningful difference in the lives of undernourished children while still realizing returns that would allow them to sustain their involvement.
Lab participants looked at high impact areas of the nutrition value chain and focused on the ways investors can make a measurable impact for undernourished children, secure financial leverage on funds, and create a path to sustainability for countries. Participants laid out a clear vision: the creation of a catalytic financing facility that can attract, allocate, and oversee new capital to accelerate results in eliminating undernutrition. The financing facility would emphasize evidence-based, proven, scalable programs to achieve a marked reduction in undernutrition rates. The pooled fund structure would give individual donors the opportunity to make a measureable impact that few can achieve alone. In addition, the effort would focus on creating a path to sustainability for countries by helping to mobilize domestic resources and build local capacity to disburse funds effectively.
In June 2013, the UK’s Department for International Development, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the UBS Optimus Foundation launched the Power of Nutrition Fund- a $100M fund to accelerate the rollout of high-impact, evidence-based national nutrition programs.