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Can we compare nutrition spending across different years

This question was posted the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) forum area and has 1 replies.

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Anonymous 40390

Normal user

20 Aug 2020, 22:54

Dear forum members, 

MQSUN's Guidance on Budget and Expenditure Tracking says that it s possible for countries to change thier methodology across the years. Does this mean that it is incorrect to compare findings from budget and expenditure analyses for the same country across years. For instance, would it not be right to compare data from SUN investment snapshots for different years?

--- Thank you.

William Knechtel

SMS

Normal user

3 Sep 2020, 13:23

Hello,

Happy greetings. My name is William Knechtel, and I am the data manager of the SUN Movement Secretariat, where I have the pleasure of supporting countries on the questions you've raised. I will provide some initial comments to your review, and then if you require more information I would be happy to provide more details. I am going to break your question into three components, and answer in bold for readability. 

MQSUN's Guidance on Budget and Expenditure Tracking says that it s possible for countries to change their methodology across the years.

Yes. The idea is that certain methods of financial tracking require more effort, time, and validation while others are faster but less comprehensive. Countries have used the findings from larger more extensive kinds of reviews (like public expenditure reviews) to then focus on select ministries and programmes in their budget analysis exercise. For example, in 2016 a SUN country identified 56 programmes in the budget analysis. They then did a larger Public Expenditure Review in 2018 with support from UNICEF. From that review, they decided to centre on a smaller select amount of programmes, and in 2020 the country focused on 25 programmes in the 2020 budget analysis exercise.

When countries repeat a budget analysis exercise, then that is different. The same “process” occurs, but more stakeholders may be included – or less programmes would be identified. It is always best to use the most recent tracking report/findings since this represents the up-to-date agreement among stakeholders.

Does this mean that it is incorrect to compare findings from budget and expenditure analyses for the same country across years.

Not exactly. If a country has done several budget analysis exercises, then they would have identified funding for select programmes across several years. The most recent budget analysis exercise would have the most data points relative to previous efforts. 

 For instance, would it not be right to compare data from SUN investment snapshots for different years?

You can compare SUN investment snapshots from different years, but the newest one would represent the most recent consensus. Rather than comparing snapshots, you can rely on the data tool to access the most recent data from whichever country you are interested in reviewing: https://idb.scalingupnutrition.org/

I hope these answers to your question are helpful, and again, I am always available if you have any questions on this important work. I wish you all the best, and thanks again for your question.

Warm regards,

William

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