• Report
  • 11 June 2020

DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2018

As part of continuing efforts to track and better understand donor financing for nutrition, this report analyses the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID's) official development assistance (ODA) spending on nutrition-related projects.



Jordan Beecher

About this nutrition analysis

This analysis enables the monitoring of the UK’s progress towards meeting the spending targets it committed to at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit. These targets are due to be met this year (2020), ahead of potential new commitments at the 2021 N4G Summit in Tokyo.

Building on previous assessments by Development Initiatives (DI) – using the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement’s agreed methodology – the report analyses the latest available data (up to 2018) alongside historical data.

Key findings on DFID's spending

  • DFID’s total aid spending for nutrition has decreased slightly from 2017 levels, amounting to US$888.4 million in 2018.
  • DFID’s nutrition-related commitments (financial commitments for nutrition, as well as for strengthening the accountability framework around such commitments) decreased sharply in 2018, from US$427.3 million in 2017 to US$114.2 million.
  • Despite this, the analysis indicates that DFID could be on course to meet its N4G commitments:
    • DFID has exceeded its nutrition-sensitive N4G commitment (which is £2.1 billion)
    • DFID must record disbursements of £100.2 million during 2019–2020 to meet its nutrition-specific commitment (£574.8 million)
    • DFID has not yet reached the ceiling of its matched funding commitment (£280.8 million), having cumulatively disbursed £145.0 million in matched funding since 2013
    • Despite an overall decrease in nutrition-sensitive disbursements, 2018 spending on humanitarian interventions increased by 8% (US$30.8 million) from the previous year.

While this report reflects on DFID’s 2010–2018 aid spending, it is worth noting that the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises may affect future spending. Looking ahead:

  • The continuing and systematic inclusion of discreet nutrition objectives among DFID’s humanitarian programming could help sustain nutrition-sensitive spending levels and achieve joint humanitarian–development nutrition outcomes in fragile contexts
  • Despite the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, the 2021 Japan N4G Summit presents an opportunity for country governments, donors and other stakeholders to renew and expand financial commitments for nutrition, as well as to strengthen the accountability framework around such commitments.

Previous assessments by DI

Development Initiatives, 2014. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2010–2012. Available at: https://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-nutrition-2010-2012

Development Initiatives, 2015. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2013. Available at: http://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-for-nutrition-2013

Development Initiatives, 2016. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2014. Available at: http://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-for-nutrition-2014

Development Initiatives, 2017. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2015. Available at: http://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-nutrition-2015

Development Initiatives, 2018. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2016. Available at: http://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-nutrition-2016

Development Initiatives, 2019. DFID’s aid spending for nutrition: 2017. Available at: http://devinit.org/publications/dfids-aid-spending-nutrition-2017

MQSUN+ consortium

This analysis was carried out as part of DI’s work under the MQSUN+ consortium. MQSUN+ aims to provide DFID with technical services to improve the quality of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programmes. The project is resourced by a consortium of five leading non-state organisations working on nutrition. PATH leads the consortium.

The group is committed to:

  • Expanding the evidence base on the causes of undernutrition
  • Enhancing skills and capacity to support scaling up of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programmes
  • Providing the best guidance available to support programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Increasing innovation in nutrition programmes
  • Knowledge-sharing to ensure lessons are learnt across DFID and beyond.

This report was produced through support provided by UK aid and the UK government; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.