How much funding is the Nutrition Sector forecast to receive in 2023?
Funding to the Nutrition sector is forecast to be between $1.6bn and $2.7bn in 2023. Our central estimate is $2.0bn. For reference, the Nutrition sector received $1.8bn last year.
This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $1.6bn and $2.7bn. Below are the other forecast ranges for the Nutrition sector. As we become less sure about our forecast, the range narrows. So for example, we think there’s a 50% probability that funding will be between $1.8bn and $2.2bn.
But we need to put this into context. What does the forecast mean in terms of reaching the funding that is required for the sector (also known as the funding requirement)? The total funding requirement globally is determined by how much is needed in each context. If you hover over the donut below you’ll be able to see the chances of reaching 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the funding that is required.
As our donut shows, the Nutrition sector is almost certain to reach 25% of the funding required, with it being highly likely the sector will reach 50% of the funding ask. However we think there’s only a remote chance that funding will reach anywhere above 75% of what is required.
How does the 2023 forecast compare to previous years?
The funding requirement increased again in 2023, to $3.6bn. This follows the past six years of the funding requirement increasing. In 2016, the funding requirement was $624m. That’s a quintupling of the funding required in seven years. By 2023, the Nutrition sector had the 6th largest funding requirement of all sectors. Yet, in 2016, the Nutrition sector had only the 8th largest funding requirement of all sectors. This reflects the relatively fast growth in Nutrition needs in the past few years.
Like the funding requirement, funding received by the sector has also increased significantly over the same time period. This increase was particularly significant between 2016 and 2017, just like the funding requirement albeit at a slightly lower rate – with funding received doubling from $365m to $762m. From 2017 to 2019, funding grew year-on-year to reach a peak of $1.3bn in 2019.
The sector slid back slightly in 2020, and readers will notice that this period coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding required and funding received leapt up in 2021 to record levels, and again in 2022 when funding reached $1.8bn.
Funding in 2023 funding is highly likely to be above 2021 levels, with a range of $1.6bn to $2.7bn. In percentage terms, we think that the sector will receive between 44% and 75% of the projected funding requirement.
We’ve come up with a way of conceptualising a growing funding gap. In this story, we’ve defined a “real humanitarian recession” as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap. Given that the funding gap actually closed in the last two years, there isn’t any danger of the sector going into humanitarian recession this year.
However, we think that the sector is unlikely to keep closing its funding gap in 2023, part due to the ever rising funding requirement.
How does the 2023 forecast compare to other sectors?
The Nutrition sector is forecast to be the 4th biggest sector in 2022, behind other sectors that are valued at $2bn+. Nutrition is ranked just below Health and ‘Multi-Sector’ – but not by much. But the sector quite will quite easily surpass the funding for Shelter, WASH, Protection and Education, which are estimated to receive significantly lower, thus placing Nutrition in the ‘top tier’ of humanitarian sectors.
The sector is adjacent to both Health and Food Security in the work they do. So it shouldn’t be too much of surprise to see how well the sector ranks, as both Food Security and Health are also well funded sectors (compared to others).
The current state of things
By the end of September 2023, Nutrition had received $1196m, far beyond the $712m that the sector received at the same point in 2022.
Funding increased from 2018 to 2019. But then funding levels in the year of Coronavirus (2020) dropped back down to 2018 levels again. Could it be that donors withheld funding, diverted it to other humanitarian sectors, or to domestic funding at this stage?
However, funding to Nutrition appears to have recovered from the pandemic and looks to be back at, and above, 2019 levels. Funding to the Nutrition sector by the end of 2021 was $1341m (over $500m more than 2020 levels). This then rose to $1780m in 2022.
The question is, will funding to Nutrition continue to grow, or is 2022 level a new equilibrium? So far in 2023, funding appears to be ahead of where it has been at the same point in the last four years, hinting towards the possibility that the sector has a new equilibrium.
Features of the Nutrition sector in 2022
The average Nutrition response was only 43% funded in 2022. There are multiple ways to interpret this. On the one hand, the average response wouldn’t receive over 1 in every 2 dollars that they asked for, meaning that Nutrition responses are severely impacted. On the other hand, this actually benchmarks above average when looking at other sectors. In fact, the average sector had an equivalent percentage of 25%.
The good news is that over half of the contexts received over 25% of their funding requirement – these being mainly HRP contexts. Afghanistan led the way, receiving 131% of the funding requirement for the HRP, whilst Madagascar received 118% for its Flash Appeal.
Another observation is that three of the four of the bottom contexts (all receiving 5% or less of the funding ask), are in Central America. Could it be that these countries fare less well here because of their geography? It’s difficult to say based on just one sector, and we’ll investigate this further in the Stories section. We’ll also come up with an ‘Inequity Index’ to measure how unequal a sector is, and try to explain the causes around it. Could it be the status of the plan as we suggested here, or could it be the size of the funding requirement, donor preferences, under reporting, or other causes?
The US Government is the most dominant source of funding in the Nutrition sector, contributing 58% of all funding in 2022, equivalent to $1202m. This is followed by the Government of Germany (8%), ECHO (7%), the Government of the UK (4%), the CERF (4%), and the Government of Canada (3%). Together these six funders contribute 84% of all funding. Another 60 donors contribute the other 16%.
The Nutrition sector isn’t a particularly diverse sector in terms of funding. We can measure the diversity of a sector’s funding by using a metric called the Herfindahl Hirschman Index. On a scale of 0 to 10,000, a sector is considered competitive if less than 1,500. The Nutrition sector has a score of 3,508 indicating a concentrated sector. This means the sector isn’t diverse in terms of funding sources.
One potential implication to this is that the sector may not be that resilient to shocks. The most obvious example of an external shock to the humanitarian funding system was the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. If your funding isn’t coming from a diverse range of actors in the system, it means that fewer donors are able to absorb the shock. One analogy that may be familiar is that of an organisation’s funding streams. You don’t want to get all your funding from one donor – you want to get funding from multiple donors in order to spread your risk. This is the ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ approach. We’ve published a story about this here.
In terms of recipients of Nutrition funding, WFP and UNICEF unsurprisingly dominate the picture. $4 out of every $5 to Nutrition goes to these two UN agencies (though there will undoubtedly be ‘second-tier’ recipients of this funding). This is then followed by ‘Other’ where we are unable to say where the funding is going, and then a range of INGOs such as ACF and Save the Children.
The usual health warning: FTS doesn’t capture everything. It is a platform that relies on voluntary reporting by organisations. But it is the most comprehensive source of data for humanitarian funding.
To find out methodology and sources for other things on this page which aren’t the forecast, click here.`
Note: Numbers in ‘The current state of things’ graph may differ from elsewhere on the page as the data was extracted on a different date (8th July 2023) than other numbers that also show how much was received (i.e. the column chart).