Tracking nutrition investments

Designing a new approach for tracking nutrition expenditures.

Project team members

Our work with the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) Movement is laying the foundations for the more effective, targeted allocation of resources for improved nutrition outcomes.

We have been working with the SUN Movement since 2013, providing technical expertise to design and develop a new approach for tracking nutrition expenditures. We conducted international- and national-level reviews of existing mechanisms, using insights from these reviews to develop an innovative three-step approach that was piloted in Ghana and has now been rolled-out to almost 30 SUN Movement member countries.

Importantly, by incorporating a common categorization framework, the methodology allows for comparisons within countries and over time, helping build a global picture of best practice in nutrition expenditure.

Our work with the SUN Movement is ongoing – our experts are members of the Technical Advisory Group on Costing and Financing Global Nutrition Targets, which aims to estimate the financing gap to meet the global goals for malnutrition agreed in the World Health Assembly.


The SUN Movement is a global push for action and progress on improving the nutrition of all – especially women and children. SUN Movement countries want to make the institutional changes and mobilise resources they need to fulfil their commitments. To do this effectively, policymakers need to be able to track resources - reliable data is essential to prioritise, to plan, and to make decisions on resource allocation, as well as to monitor and evaluate policy implementation.

Resource tracking is also an important way of promoting transparency and can be used for advocacy purposes. For many countries, however, the data or processes needed to routinely track financial resources are often not in place. At the international level, to date, little has been known on what governments were doing to track their own investmetns and the tools available for doing this. We have been working with the SUN Movement since 2013 to help address this.

Our approach

We adopted a holistic approach, considering both the national and international level. We conducted a comprehensive review of the different resource tracking mechanisms employed at each level and the opportunities and challenges inherent in each.

Based on our analysis, we developed a comparable three-step methodology for tracking nutrition expenditures - incorporating a common categorization framework. We then tested this methodology within a pilot country, presenting the results and refining the approach during the 2014 SUN Global Gathering.


Our support has helped provide a pragmatic way of estimating nutrition expenditures and ensuring budget allocations are trackable. In turn, this will help policymakers identify where to allocate resources to ensure maximum impact and ultimately, improve nutrition outcomes for even more people.

Our methodology has now been rolled-out to almost 30 SUN member countries, with comparable expenditure figures reported in the Global Nutrition Report 2014 for the first time. Importantly, by allowing for both temporal and spatial comparisons, our methodology will help build up a more comprehensive picture of where resources are being focused, what works and what doesn’t in terms of influencing nutrition outcomes, how – and why - this is changing over time. As a result, policymakers can begin to share best practice approached to resource allocation for nutrition.

Areas of expertise