The Children's Investment Fund Foundation in London has announced a seven-year, $787 million investment in a global initiative to eradicate childhood and maternal under-nutrition.
Announced last week at the Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger Through Business and Science meeting, CIFF's commitment is the largest single investment in the eradication of under-nutrition by a private foundation to date. At the meeting, governments, private-sector organizations, and civil society groups also endorsed the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, which commits parties to scale their political commitments, increase resources, and take urgent action on childhood and maternal under-nutrition, an area long neglected by the global community.
A yearlong effort by CIFF and the British and Brazilian governments prior to the meeting resulted in commitments from donor governments, businesses, foundations, and civil society organizations totaling $4.15 billion through 2020 — including $2.9 billion in core funding, with the remainder to be secured through matched funding. The British government led the way, pledging £375 million ($584 million) in core funding, while the UBS Optimus Foundation announced a commitment of 15 million Swiss francs (about $16 million) and plans to raise 65 million Swiss francs ($69 million) over the next eight years.
"The commitments made in London will have a significant impact on child survival, and help more children achieve their full potential," said UBS Optimus Foundation CEO Phyllis Costanza. "We stand at an historical threshold. The end of under-nutrition is possible."
According to CIFF, nutrition represented just 0.4 percent of total overseas development assistance ($418 million) in 2011, despite evidence that in low- and middle-income countries a quarter of children under the age of 5 experience stunted growth, while 3.1 million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of under-nutrition.
"Today we have seen a historic shift with nutrition taking its place at the heart of the health, education and economic development agendas," said CIFF co-founder and CEO Jamie Cooper-Hohn. "The investments announced today will transform the lives of millions of children as well as the economic growth and prosperity of nations."